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LiMo-ready mobile stack firms tidy up partnerships

Aug 8, 2008 — by Eric Brown — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 7 views

Two LiMo-member mobile phone stack firms followed through on partnership deals in separate announcements this week. Purple Labs announced a joint testing commitment with Openwave Systems, and Access announced it had concluded a joint development agreement on FOMA phones with NTT… DoCoMo.

(Click for larger view of Panasonic P706iu, a LiMo phone aimed at FOMA networks)

The Purple Labs announcement follows up on its late-June, $32 million acquisition of Openwave's mobile phone software business. The deal brought the French mobile middleware firm Openwave's cross-platform browser and messaging client technologies. Purple Labs had previously committed to upgrading Openwave's high-end Surfer Browser, as well as its Mobile Integrated Dynamic Application System (MIDAS) mobile development kit and function library, which was also part of the deal.

In the new joint testing agreement, Purple Labs pledged to continue testing its newly acquired messaging and browser software against Openwave servers. The agreement also extends to confirming the firms's “commitment to open standards and interoperability,” says Purple Labs.

Purple Labs is known for its LiMo (Linux Mobile) Platform-compliant phone stack, as well as its upcoming Purple Magic phone stack reference design, which extends LiMo downward to the mid-level feature phone market.

Purple Magic

Stated Olivier Bartholot, Purple Labs product management VP, “It is important to provide our joint customers with a clear statement of our ongoing commitment to working with Openwave to test our embedded client software.”

A week ago, Purple Labs announced it would acquire the mobile applications suite and software engineering team of Sagem Mobiles, a French phone manufacturer that counts Sony Ericsson, Orange, and Vodafone among its clients. The asset sale was part of a complex deal in which French technology group SAFRAN announced it was selling Sagem Mobiles to VC firm Sofinnova Partners, which is also an investor in Purple Labs. SAFRAN will join Sofinnova as a shareholder in the new business, which is called Sagem Wireless, says the company.

NTT Docomo taps Access for FOMA

In April, Japanese mobile phone stack firm Access confirmed an earlier announcement of a tentative deal to adapt its Linux-based, LiMo-compatible Access Linux Platform (ALP) mobile phone stack to work with the FOMA 3G network of Japanese mobile phone marketshare leader NTT DoCoMo. The final deal was concluded on July 16th, according to Access, but not announced until today. NTT DoCoMo will begin distributing 3G FOMA phones based on ALP and an operator-specific pack in the second half of 2009, Access said.

The deal is referred to as a “System Engineering Assistance” agreement, and dictates that Access will create “technical specifications for co-developing an operator pack” for ALP optimized for NTT DoCoMo's FOMA (Freedom Of Mobile multimedia Access) 3G handsets, says Access. FOMA was the world's first W-CDMA 3G service, launched in 2001. NTT DoCoMo switched to Linux for its FOMA phones in late 2003. According to Access, the two companies will conclude a similar agreement detailing software development work for FOMA later this month.

In related news this week, Access announced that it would support mobile Internet devices (MIDs), although it didn't provide further details. Also, the LiMo Foundation announced a number of new compatible phones, including six FOMA-targeted models from NEC and Panasonic, one of which is the Panasonic P706iu shown at the top of this story.

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