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Linux smartphone “killer app” ready for combat

May 28, 2004 — by LinuxDevices Staff — from the LinuxDevices Archive
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Linux appears ready to take on Microsoft and Symbian in the smartphone market, with Trolltech's launch this week of a mobile phone app stack delivering PDA-like features on feature-phone-level hardware. Qtopia Phone Edition supports keypad and touchscreen devices, and nearly any processor that can run Linux.

When… Trolltech announced Qtopia Phone in October of last year, company officials were confident that it would bring smartphone functionality to lower-end, feature-phone class devices. According to Trolltech, minimal requirements are 8MB Flash ROM and 16MB of RAM, with a “standard build” targeting 16MB Flash ROM and 16MB of RAM. Minimum display requirements are 16 shades of gray and at least 176 x 208 resolution, up to 640×480. It can run on any ARM7 or better processor that supports Linux, according to Trolltech, and is tested on ARM, x86, MIPS, and PowerPC processors.

Qtopia Phone comprises five customizable components:

  • Phone User Interface — a theme-able (Screenshot), scalable interface that can be personalized by end users and branded by manufacturers and network operators (Screenshot).
  • Applications — A suite of phone applications (Screenshot), including PIM, productivity, email (Screenshot), games (Screenshot), multimedia framework (Screenshot), and a variety of utilities for phone personalization.
  • Platform — Qtopia Phone offers modest memory requirements, built-in input methods, the ability to use custom input methods, an application launcher, document handling, internationalization, and wireless support.
  • Synchronization — Supports synchronization of contacts, calendar events, to-do items, and multimedia files and documents with the Qtopia Desktop multiplatform desktop PIM, or Microsoft Outlook.
  • Development Environment — Trolltech offers cross-platform tools for customizing and extending Qtopia Phone.

Trolltech's decision to relaunch its Qtopia application stack for the smartphone market appears sound in light of a declining Linux PDA market and burgeoning smartphone market. ABI Research expects smartphones to garner a quarter of the total mobile phone market by 2009. Some in the phone software market believe Linux could soon become a standard phone platform, similar to the emergence in the 1980s of DOS as a standard PC platform.

The PDA version of Qtopia is used in many PDAs and other devices, including Sharp's Zaurus, Royal Linea, and the i3 Moodbox.

“The initial market response to Qtopia Phone has been phenomenal,” said Haavard Nord, Trolltech CEO. “Phone manufacturers, particularly in Asia, are extremely interested in using Linux for their mobile phones, and they are excited to see Qtopia available for keypad-driven mobile phones.”

“The success of Linux and the positive response to Qtopia Phone is driven by the freedom and flexibility these platforms provide,” said Eirik Chambe-Eng, Trolltech President. “Being able to select what functionality a phone will have, customize the user interface, and modify the source code are key reasons why Linux and Qtopia Phone will play a major part in the mobile phone market.”

Availability

Qtopia Phone is available now in the form of a “Starter Kit” from Trolltech.


Further details and screenshots


For more details about — and screenshots of — Qtopia Phone, be sure not to miss our earlier Special Report, Trolltech aims Linux/Qtopia at mobile phone market.


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This article was originally published on LinuxDevices and has been donated to the open source community by QuinStreet Inc. Please visit LinuxToday.com for up-to-date news and articles about Linux and open source.

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