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Blackberry-style smartphone runs Linux

Mar 2, 2007 — by LinuxDevices Staff — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 12 views

Less than two weeks after launching its Linux-based “single core” U900 phone aimed at the mid-range market, Grundig Mobile has introduced another Linux-powered smartphone. The B700 targets enterprise users with a full hardware QWERTY keyboard and push email, similar to RIM's Blackberry.

(Click for larger view of B700)

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The B700 is a quad-band GSM/GRPR/EDGE phone supporting 900/1800/850/1900 MHz bands.. It has a 2.4-inch QVGA (240×320) TFT (thin film transistor) screen supporting 262K colors, and a 2-megapixel CMOS camera with LED flash and 4x digital zoom, according to Grundig Mobile.

The Linux-powered Grundig B700
(Click to enlarge)

The device has a built-in multimedia/MP3 player and FM radio, and a built-in speaker for hands-free operation. The phone is said to be capable of recording and playing video at QCIF resolution (176 x 144). It offers 100MB of user file storage, expandable via a MicroSD slot supporting cards up to 1GB.

The B700 connects to PCs and other devices via Bluetooth or USB, and can serve as a modem for connected devices. A Bluetooth headset is optionally available, as is a normal stereo headset. Its relatively large, 1050mA Li-Ion battery is claimed to offer 2.5 hours of talk, or 150 hours of standby time.

Linux-based software stack

The B700 has a Linux-based operating system, according to Grundig Mobile, and comes with applications that support:

  • WAP 2.0 (xHTML) browser
  • SMS, MMS, “cell broadcast” messaging clients
  • “POP3 email push client”
  • Image viewer/editor for JPEG, GIF, PNG, BMP
  • Animated wallpaper
  • Date and time idle screen
  • Calculator
  • Alarm clock

The phone additionally has a Java MIDP 2.0 runtime environment for user-installable games, and supports 64 polyphonic ringtones with ADPCM (adaptive differential pulse code modulation) support.

The B700's Linux-based operating system was likely integrated by Purple Labs, a phone design house in the South of France. Purple Labs is owned primarily by Vitelcom, a phone manufacturer in Spain that has rights to use the Grundig brand for mobile phones in Europe.

Purple Labs previously designed the Linux-based Grundig G500i Dreamphone, a quad-band GSM/EDGE phone with iMode support that has been available for about a year through Buoygues (pronounced “Bweeg”), a small French mobile carrier with about eight million subscribers. Purple Labs also supplied the Linux-based OS used in the single-core Grundig U900 launched by Grundig Mobile last week.

POP3 push?

What exactly Grundig means by “POP3 email push client” remains unclear. Along with IMAP, POP3 is the standard most often associated with traditional “pull” email. Both standards provide a means for the client to poll the server to see if new messages have arrived.

Push email, in contrast, tends to be based on standards such as Push-IMAP or SyncML. It is characterized by the server initiating communication when a new message has arrived — roughly the email equivalent of AJAX (asynchronous Java and XML).

Purple Labs did not respond to our request for more details on the B700's push email capabilities by publication time.


The Grundig B700 is among the featured phone designs on Grundig-Mobile's website. However, no availability details are available.

Another recently launched Linux phone with a QWERTY keyboard is the Treo-like Gupp Phreedom.

Thanks to Thomas Vandekeere for calling this phone to our attention.

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