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Chinese 3G TEM joins Mobile Linux Initiative

Nov 28, 2006 — by LinuxDevices Staff — from the LinuxDevices Archive — views

Chinese government-owned TEM (telecommunications equipment manufacturer) and handset vendor Datang Mobile has joined the OSDL (Open Source Development Labs) and will participate in the Mobile Linux Initiative (MLI) to improve the Linux kernel for mobile phones. Datang markets 3G infrastructure equipment and handset designs in China and globally.

The OSDL notes that Datang's induction into the OSDL coincides more or less with the one-year anniversary of the MLI, which was launched in October of 2005, with the goal of gathering kernel-level requirements and performing gap analysis.

Datang's 3G infrastructure equipment and handset designs are based on TD-SCDMA, a “homegrown” 3G protocol that it largely developed, and then contributed to the the ITU's IMT-2000 specification for third generation (3G) wireless mobile services. Subsequently, TD-SCDMA standards have been maintained by the TD-SCDMA Forum, an open industry consortium founded in late 2002 by China Mobile, China Telecom, China Unicom, Datang, Huawei, Motorola, Nortel, and Siemens.

Datang announced it would base its 3G, TD-SCDMA handsets on Linux in July of 2004. It shipped its first Linux-based 3G handset reference design in November of 2004 — the design was based on a Texas Instruments OMAP1510 processor, running Trolltech's Qtopia Phone Edition on top of an unspecified Linux kernel.

Trolltech, which opened a Beijing office recently, has continued to tout Datang as a valued customer in China, along with ZTE, Yahua TelTech, and Cellon International, a Dutch handset manufacturer with operations in China, the U.S., and France.

The OSDL says that companies such as Datang Mobile are looking for “more ways to leverage resources across companies and technology platforms,” in order to build on common resources, agree on joint requirements, and “thereby [free] resources to focus on further differentiating and advancing those capabilities specific to their products.”

Stuart Cohen, CEO of the OSDL, stated, “Linux is being deployed on mobile devices shipped in China at a much higher rate than in any other region. Datang Mobile will bring increased representation from one of the most active and dynamic markets in the world, and its technical and business expertise will accelerate the adoption of Mobile Linux.”

Liu JiTang, vice GM of Datang Mobile Shanghai, stated, “By joining OSDL, we get the opportunity to collaborate with our peers in a neutral environment. All the right players are involved to make Linux a key component of all mobile devices, and we're looking forward to taking part in that achievement.”

According to Diffusion Group forecasts cited by the OSDL, Linux's share of the handset market will reach 26.6 percent by 2010, surpassing that of current marketshare leader SymbianOS.

In addition to the MLI, the OSDL maintains Desktop Linux, Carrier Grade Linux, and Data Center Linux working groups. It also sponsors legal initiatives including the OSDL Linux Legal Defense Fund, the Patent Commons Project, and in partnership with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), the Open Source as Prior Art (OSAPA) initiative.

Lots more details about the MLI are available in our exclusive interview with Bill Weinberg, the OSDL's representative to the MLI. The MLI cooperates with LiPS (Linux Phone Standards Forum), another industry group focused on improving and standardizing Linux above the kernel level.

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