Monday, July 20, 2009

Linux threatens giants in the smart phone arena

If you do not have one and you are CEO, the your company is a start up and we understand. What is it? It is a smart phone. According to Wikipedia, a smart phone is a mobile phone offering advanced capabilities, often with PC-like functionality. Today these come in all shapes and sizes. With features ranging from touch screen to office document applications, smart phone as moved office into people hands.

But what of under the hood, what is happening there? In a much as the normal user will not bother about what goes in the hood, at times its good to see who are the major players there. For a while Mac with the iPhone series rules that area. But it was not long before BlackBerry, HTC, Nokia and others join the race and made it very difficult for me to choice a smart phone. This is why I am still sticking to my “cellphone”.

If you are like me, if its not open source then its not for me. This philosophy has kept with the SonyEricson K320i for a years. I have been looking and following what is happening out there and now I can say I have options that are good enough to make iPhone and friends work overtime.

Openmoko is a project dedicated to delivering mobile phones with an open source software stack. Openmoko is currently selling the Neo FreeRunner phone to advanced users and will start selling it to the general public as soon as the software is more developed.

I have had the privilege of playing around the the model before the FreeRunner, Neo 1973. I liked it, but it was a bit heavy. But I saw the terminal and we could run Linux commands on it.

A few months after I started working at FreeCode, I saw Nokia N810 running on Debian. I was so impressed to see that Linux is getting some where. I spent a lot of time looking, despite the fact that it was a bit slow when you start heavy application, but it work.

All along I had been reading and looking at the T-Mobile G1 running on Android. Android™ delivers a complete set of software for mobile devices: an operating system, middleware and key mobile applications. Now here was one smart phone that almost made me got to shop. It was slick, clean and open source. Mind you, Android is built on the open Linux Kernel. And because of this, Android is open source; it can be liberally extended to incorporate new cutting edge technologies as they emerge. And this can be seen in the the HTC Magic.

The HTC Magic, powered by Android™, is designed to turn heads with its chic looks, and command attention with its advanced list of capabilities.

After looking at features and reading reviews, its now a question of time before I visit the shop, actually I am broke at the moment.

But the list is not over, Motorola Evoke QA4 Motorola's EV-DO smartphone offers both a slide-out keypad and a virtual QWERTY keyboard. The Evoke QA4 runs Motorola's MotoMAGX Linux/Java stack, and is equipped with a 2.8-inch touchscreen, accelerometers, and widgets, as well as OK Labs' OKL4 embedded hypervisor. General Mobile DSTL1 General Mobile's dual-SIM, XScale-based Android cameraphone is based on a design by Yuhua (see entry above). The DSTL1 runs Android on a Marvell PXA-310 clocked to 624MHz, offers WiFi, Bluetooth, accelerometers, and a 5-megapixel camera, and is equipped with dual SIMs and dual baseband radios, enabling simultaneous reception for two different phone numbers. The list is long. See more at Linux Mobile Phones.

With big players such as Samsung, LG, Sony Ericsson, NVIDIA and Archos all working on releasing a handset for Android, soon there will be more options for you, especially is you like playing and fine ture your devices.

Open Minds use Open Source. Are you open minded? If yes, are using Open Source Technologies?

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