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LinuxDevices year-end review: Top hardware and software stories of 2007

Dec 26, 2000 — by LinuxDevices Staff — from the LinuxDevices Archive
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FEBRUARY


VIA'S INCREDIBLE SHRINKING MOBO LINE SPAWNS “PICO-ITX”
Via is readying a media-oriented motherboard in what could be the next popular size for small form-factor PCs: Pico-ITX. The “Epia PX” board measures 3.9 x 2.8 inches and features a 1GHz C7 processor, along with rich audio/video I/O, albeit mostly on pin headers. Details

INTEL FORGES FORWARD WITH 45NM PROCESSOR TECH
Labeling it “one of the biggest advancements in fundamental transistor design,” Intel on Jan. 27 said it is utilizing two “dramatically new” materials to build the insulating walls and switching gates for 45nm (nanometer) transistors. The company also said that five early-version 45nm processors are up and running. Details

INTEL PREPPING PENTIUM M-BASED SOC?
Intel reportedly will ship a super-high-integration IA32 SoC (system-on-chip) in late 2007, with a development board available in Q2. The “Tolapai” design integrates a Pentium M core, northbridge, and southbridge into a single 37.5mm-square chip clocked from 600MHz to 1.2GHz, according to presentation slides posted on a Chinese website. Details

ACCESS LINUX PLATFORM FOR MOBILE DEVICES GOES GOLD
Access is finally shipping its next-generation Linux-based operating system and development kit for mobile devices. The company showed off version 1.0 of Access Linux Platform (ALP), and various tools and high-end mobile applications processor support packages, at the 3GSM mobile technology show in Barcelona this week. Details


MARCH


LINUX DOMINATING VOIP DEVICES?
Trolltech says its development framework and software stack for mobile devices was selected by Skype as the preferred platform for Skype-certified VoIP (voice-over-IP) phones. Additionally, the Qtopia framework/stack has been used in about 40 VoIP devices, making it the “dominant Linux development platform for VoIP/WiFi devices.” Details

$70 NETWORK GATEWAY DEV KIT INCLUDES LINUX
Atmel is shipping the least expensive hardware/software Linux development kit we've come across in LinuxDevices.com's seven-year history. The $70 “Atmel Network Gateway Kit 100”, based on Atmel's “AVR32” RISC architecture, includes a tiny SBC (single-board computer), a full Linux port/toolchain, and supports “most serial communication protocols.” Details


APRIL


INTEL TIPS BIG PLANS FOR X86 SoCs
Intel's x86-based SoC (system-on-chip) processor roadmap may be much broader than originally thought, judging by a presentation by Intel Embedded GM Doug Davis at the Embedded Systems Conference this week. Additionally, Intel has shipped its first quad-core processors for embedded applications, and announced an 8-core server platform due in July. Details

AMD AIMS IGP-ENABLED CHIPSETS AT DEVICE MARKET
AMD has launched its first chipsets with integrated graphics processors (IGPs) since acquiring graphics chip vendor ATI last October. The 690G and the 690V have ATI Radeon x1250 IGPs, and target thin clients, POS (point-of-sales) devices, gaming devices, and single-board computers. Details

MONTAVISTA TOUTS FASTER, SMALLER EMBEDDED LINUX
In a nod toward the RTOS market that founder Jim Ready pioneered, MontaVista is shipping a new version of its commercial embedded Linux distribution said to offer true real-time performance along with a very small footprint. MontaVista Linux Professional Edition Version 5.0 boasts enhanced real-time performance and lower resource usage. Details

NOKIA SMARTPHONES BECOME MORE “LINUX-LIKE”
Nokia has taken a significant step toward making its most popular smartphone software platform appeal more to corporate and third-party application developers. Working with Symbian Ltd., Nokia has integrated “Linux-like” support for normal C applications into its Symbian-based S60 smartphone software stack. Details

MONTAVISTA'S EMBEDDED LINUX APP DEV TOOLS GO “ALL-PLUGIN”
MontaVista has released a new version of its Eclipse-based toolsuite for embedded Linux application development. Application Developer Kit (ADK) 5.0 features an “all-plugin” architecture for better cross-vendor tools interoperability, supports MontaVista's new real-time oriented Pro 5.0 distribution, and comes with powerful analysis tools and virtual targets. Details

INTEL LAUNCHES MOBILE DEVICE CHIPS, ROADMAP
At its Developer Forum in Beijing this week, Intel confirmed it is shipping an “ultra mobile” chipset for ultra-mobile PCs (UMPCs) and “mobile Internet devices” (described above). It also claimed to be sampling a second-generation mobile processor based on 45nm silicon and “High-K” metal gate transistor technology. Details

STARTUP TOUTS VIRTUALIZING MICROKERNEL
An Australian think tank has spun out an embedded and real-time operating systems company headquartered in Chicago. The spin-out — “Open Kernel Labs” (OK Labs) — is shipping a commercially supported, BSD-licensed “OKL4” microkernel that runs Linux and other guest OSes in user space, targeting devices such as mobile phones. Details

VIA UNVEILS FIRST PICO-ITX DESIGN
Chip-maker Via Technologies has revealed details about its “pico-ITX” hardware reference design, and promised to announce its first commercially available mainboard based on the new form-factor “soon.” Slightly smaller than the venerable PC/104 standard, pico-ITX represents “the smallest complete x86 mainboard in the industry,” Via said. Details


MAY


SUN BEAMS LINUX/JAVA AT MOBILE PHONES
Sun Microsystems announced at JavaOne this week that it is developing a “pre-integrated,” GPL-licensable, Linux- and Java-based operating system software reference design specifically for mobile phones. “JavaFX Mobile” targets multimedia-enabled phones, and is the first of several planned media-oriented “JavaFX” branded stacks. Details

VIA SHIPS “WORLD'S SMALLEST MAINBOARD”
PC chipset and board-maker Via Technologies today announced availability of the “world's smallest mainboard” — the first shipping board based on its recently unveiled, incredibly small (100 x 72mm) “pico-ITX” motherboard format. Details

BIG BLUE BOASTS OF “FASTEST CHIP EVER”
IBM claims to have doubled the performance (or halved the power requirements, depending on your point of view) of its top-end processor for servers and mid-range systems. The dual-core “Power6” processor clocks to 4.7GHz, has 8MB of L2 cache, and breaks four widely used Unix performance benchmarks. Details

VIA DEBUTS TINIEST MOTHERBOARD YET
Via CEO Wenchi Chen revealed a business card-sized motherboard billed as the “world's first industry-standard form-factor for PC/phone convergence,” at Computex this week. The “mobile-ITX” board measures 3 x 1.8 inches — half the size of Via's “pico-ITX” form-factor — and runs Linux or Windows XP Embedded. Details


JULY


DIY LINUX CELLPHONE COMPONENTS AVAILABLE
A vendor of tiny, Linux-based SBCs (single-board computers) will soon begin accepting pre-orders for cellular networking and GPS daughtercards. Gumstix said its “Goliath” daughtercards target remote data applications such as fleet tracking, as well as “hobbyists who want to build their own phone.” Details


AUGUST


SPRINT TO OFFER WIMAX-ENABLED LINUX TABLET
Sprint will offer a Mobile WiMAX-enabled version of Nokia's N800 Internet Tablet to North American customers next year, LinuxDevices has learned. The new device will support Sprint's grand scheme of making WiMAX-based 4G wireless services available to over 100 million people during 2008. Details

MASSIVELY MULTICORE PROCESSOR RUNS LINUX
A startup founded by an MIT professor claims to have “solved the fundamental challenges associated with multicore scalability.” Tilera's first products include a 64-core Tile64 SoC (system-on-chip), PCIe Express add-in board for networking and video-processing applications, multicore-optimized Linux libraries, and an Eclipse-based multicore development environment toolset. Details

VIA AIMS 1W X86 CPU AT MOBILE, EMBEDDED APPS
Taiwanese chip and board vendor Via Technologies has introduced a new ultra-low voltage (ULV) processor aimed at industrial, commercial, and ultra-mobile applications. Touted as the “world's most power-efficient” x86-compatible CPU, the 500MHz Via Eden ULV processor debuted at an Embedded Systems Conference in Taipei this week. Details


SEPTEMBER


GPL'D LINUX STACK SUPPORTS TOUCHSCREEN PHONES
Trolltech will release its entire application development framework for Linux-based mobile phones under the GPL license, it announced on Sept. 18. Additionally, the development tools and software stack vendor plans to support FIC's iPhone-like GTA01 (“Neo1973”) as an open phone development platform. Details

MONTAVISTA READIES NEW LINUX MOBILE PHONE OS
MontaVista will ship a “fifth-generation” Linux-based operating system for mobile phones in mid-November. The company says Mobilinux 5.0 will offer new security, power, networking, and quick-boot capabilities, along with footprint reductions, real-time improvements, and lower build costs for vendors of handsets and other mobile consumer devices. Details

POWER.ORG SPINS DUAL-CORE PPC LINUX DEV KIT
Power.org has announced a new Linux development kit and reference implementation for a dual-processor PowerPC chip. The announcement was made at the first-ever Power.org Developer's Conference in Austin, Texas, where planned updates to several PowerPC standards were announced, along with a new online directory of embedded-oriented PowerPC products and services. Details


OCTOBER


MOT'S LINUX PHONES TO GAIN NATIVE LINUX SDK
Trolltech will supply an SDK (software development kit) for native application development on Motorola's Linux-based phones, and Motorola will promote and distribute the SDK at no cost, the companies said. The SDK is based on Trolltech's Qtopia Core development framework, which underpins Motorola's Linux phone stack. Details

ARM SPINS MULTICORE-ENABLED CORTEX CORE
ARM Ltd has started shipping a multicore-enabled version of its top-of-the-line application processor core for complex OSes such as Linux. The “Cortex A9” will support four-way architectures, clockspeeds over 1GHz, and single-core applications requiring four times the performance of ARM11 within a 250mW power envelope, ARM claims. Details

TROLLTECH PORTING QTOPIA CORE TO WINDOWS CE
Trolltech has released a “technology preview” port of its Qt development framework to Microsoft Windows CE. The Qt/WinCE download is said to include nearly all of Qt's 400 C++ class libraries, with the goal of letting developers build Linux, Mac, Windows, and Windows CE binaries from the same code base. Details


NOVEMBER


GOOGLE RALLIES ALLIES IN OPEN LINUX PHONE INITIATIVE
Google and 33 other companies have announced an ambitious industry alliance that will maintain a completely open source mobile phone stack. The Open Handset Alliance (OHA) says phones based on its Linux-based “Android” stack will reach market in as soon as eight months. Details

PUNDITS WEIGH IN ON ANDROID AND THE GPHONE
Analysis — Google's open-source, Linux-based Android software stack may do for mobile phones what DOS did for the PC: create a de facto standard riveting developers together in singular purpose. Or, the Open Handset Alliance (OHA) backing Android could become just another “knitting circle.” Details

LOW-COST BOARD RUNS LINUX, GOOGLE APPS
For $60, developers and Linux hackers can now buy the guts of the recently unveiled $200 Everex TC2502 Linux PC. The compact, ultra-efficient, x86-compatible “gOS Dev Board” comes with “gOS,” a lightweight Linux-based OS meant for use with Google Apps. Details

30,000 PALM APPS COMING TO NOKIA WEBPADS
Some 30,000 applications originally written for the Palm Pilot PDA (personal digital assistant) will soon run on Nokia's Linux-based web tablets. The applications will run on top of a virtual machine (VM) currently being beta tested by Access for Nokia's 770, N800, and N810 Internet tablets. Details


DECEMBER


GETTING STARTED WITH GOOGLE'S LINUX/JAVA PHONE SDK
This in-depth, hands-on article introduces Android, Google's Linux/Java mobile phone SDK (software development kit). After a tour of Android's tools, documentation, and code samples, it suggests a path for further exploration and concludes with a simple applet showing the power and simplicity of the Android environment. Details

HARDWARE ASSISTED LINUX DEV TOOLS REV'D
Wind River is readying an update to its hardware-assisted, Eclipse-based toolsuite for Linux and VxWorks. Workbench 3.0 On-Chip Debugging (OCD), due by year's end, adds support for half a dozen new mobile applications processors, and supports the “RTCore” real-time Linux add-on purchased from FSMLabs this summer. Details


Most Significant Stories for 2007


 
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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