Coming Soon: Better Mobile Linux-Powered Handsets - InformationWeek

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1/30/2008
10:55 AM
Eric Ogren
Eric Ogren
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Coming Soon: Better Mobile Linux-Powered Handsets

This year is going to be a big one for mobile Linux. There are at least two international organizations pushing it forward, and Google is providing a lot of cred to mobile Linux by choosing it as the backbone of its Android platform. Today, Azingo Mobile is the first to of

This year is going to be a big one for mobile Linux. There are at least two international organizations pushing it forward, and Google is providing a lot of cred to mobile Linux by choosing it as the backbone of its Android platform. Today, Azingo Mobile is the first to offer a full mobile Linux suite to handset makers and network operators that is based on the LiMo Foundation's specs.The software suite covers a lot of ground, and should help OEMs and carriers work together to deliver Web 2.0 applications, music, video, vivid graphics, and more to a wide range of mobile phones.

In a press release, Azingo said:

Azingo Mobile enables handset manufacturers and operators to leverage a rich suite of 'out of the box' mobile applications that 'plug-in' to a comprehensive and pre-integrated open mobile middleware framework and kernel. Supported by a powerful SDK and development tools, Azingo Mobile lets OEM, operators, and ISVs build and customize innovative services and user experiences. Azingo Mobile's one-stop-shop approach reduces development costs, shortens the time to bring new handset designs to market, and enables lower cost phones offering the latest multimedia and UI innovations.

There already are a small handful of Linux-powered handsets available, but most are still in the early stages of development, such as the Free Runner from OpenMoko. That's about to change.

There is strong interest on the part of both OEMs and carriers to be able to lower development costs and bring competitive products to market sooner. Platforms such as Android and Azingo Mobile will help them do that. Guido Arnone, director of terminals technology at Vodafone, said: The "ability to provide lower-cost, Internet-enabled mobile phones helps support LiMo's goal to create a true mass-market platform and surrounding ecosystem that will deliver compelling handsets and rich user experiences."

HTC already has declared it will bring one or two Android-powered handsets to market this year, probably through Open Handset Alliance partner T-Mobile. Until then, though, I expect the bulk of mobile Linux deployments, such as the Neonode N2 and OpenMoko Free Runner, will occur overseas.

The mobile Linux movement has been slow to gain momentum, but it's now chugging ahead and nearing full steam.

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