Four software vendors will demonstrate an integrated Linux mobile phone stack in San Diego this week. MontaVista, Digital Airways, Sky MobileMedia, and stealth-mode startup Bluefin Mobile will show their combined offering running on a Texas Instruments OMAP smarphone reference platform at Sky's “World Handset Forum” event.
Digital Airways, Sky MobileMedia, and Bluefin Mobile are members of MontaVista's Mobilinux Open Framework third-party partner program. The four companies say their combined stack delivers key requirements for “feature phones” — mid-market devices offering basic phone functions, along with “features” such as a camera, browser, or music player. Feature phones will comprise the largest mobile phone category by 2010, according to market research firm Strategy Analytics.
Specifically, the four vendors say their combined offering spans telephony, Web browsing, and SMS (short message service) capabilities. The offering comprises:
- MontaVista Linux operating system
- Bluefin Mobile LinuxTel, a “hardware abstraction layer for communication with the wireless network”
- Sky MobileMedia Sky-Map, a “mobile applications engine”
- Digital Airways Kaleido MMI (man-machine interface), a visual interface
One of the partners, Bluefin Mobile appears to be a startup, currently operating in stealth mode. It appears focused on the exploding market for platform virtualization technology.
The companies say their combined offering “addresses many of the complexities associated with the integration and interaction of voice and data software components.” They add that the solution can reduce risk for manufacturers, and allow them to focus on key differentiating features.
The software demonstration runs on an unspecified TI smartphone reference platform powered by an ARM-based TI OMAP processor. Most of MontaVista's previous mobile phone design wins have used ARM-based processors from Intel's XScale PXA2xx series.
It seems likely that the demonstration will use TI's VOX platform — an OMAP-powered chipset designed for “single chipset” phones that use a single processor and memory subsystem for both control and signal plane processing. When MontaVista announced its Mobilinux phone OS in April, it said the OS targeted feature-phone level hardware, including designs based on single chipsets such as the TI Vox platform.
MontaVista enjoys an early lead among Linux OS providers for mobile phones, with about a dozen design wins.
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