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Linux Jumps into Mobiles - 4/30/2006 10:44:07 AM   


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The Symbian operating system dominates pricey smartphones, but Linux may find its place in low-end ‘feature’ phones.

Just as open-source software threatens the dominance of Microsoft on desktops, Linux is becoming a force in the market for mobile phone operating systems, which has traditionally been ruled by the phone maker’s own software.

“Linux is going to be a major operating system for mobile phones,” Haavard Nord, the CEO and chairman of open-source company Trolltech, told in a recent interview. The privately held Norwegian software outfit has built an application platform for embedded Linux used in all of Motorola’s Linux-based smartphones as well as in smartphones and PDAs made by other companies.

Linux has several things going for it. For starters, it could be cheaper to build phones based on open source than on systems developed by other proprietary software companies, including Microsoft and London-based Symbian, which makes the operating system for Nokia smartphones.

Where open source could particularly gain traction is in the so-called feature phone segment. Feature phones are cheaper, midrange phones that run on a single processor, versus smartphones, which use one processor for applications and another for communication. Smartphones are cell phones that can handle email and download applications, among other tasks.

“The biggest opportunity is maybe not in the smartphone but in the feature phone segment,” Mr. Nord said.

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Source : Redherring
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