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Linux phone stack to gain differential FOTA

Jan 22, 2008 — by Eric Brown — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 26 views

Trolltech's Linux-based Qtopia stack will be available with third-party software aimed at allowing partial FOTA (firmware over-the-air) updates. Red Bend's “vRapid Mobile” FOTA application stack lets operators and software/service providers push bug fixes and application updates to customers with minimal network bandwidth… utilization, the companies said.

Once integrated with Trolltech's Qtopia Phone Edition, the Red Bend “vRapid Mobile” management suite will be available through Trolltech's “Greensuite” third-party ecosystem. No timeframe for integration was mentioned, although the companies are reportedly demonstrating their combined products now.

According to a Red Bend spokesperson, vRapid Mobile is a new and enhanced superset of the company's widely used VCurrent Mobile FOTA software. Whereas VCurrent is designed to update an entire firmware stack at once, the new VRapid product uses differential compression to deliver only those parts of the stack that have actually changed. In this way, it can provide “flexible, intermittent” updates to higher level software components without using a lot of network bandwidth, the spokesperson said.

VRapid Mobile architecture
(Click to enlarge)

Calling the new approach Software Components Over-the-Air (SCOTA), Red Bend says that vRapid Mobile can update the following components:

  • Embedded applications such as messaging clients, web browsers, homescreen clients, and media players
  • Middleware and service enablers including Java Virtual Machine, Flash Lite, position location software, media codecs, SIP and IMS clients, and digital rights management (DRM) agents
  • Device features like Bluetooth profiles and multimedia and 3D graphics engines

According to Trolltech, its customers can use the technology to customize Qtopia-based mobile phones for different consumer segments, thereby creating new revenue opportunities.

Stated Benoit Schillings, Trolltech CTO, “With the addition of Red Bend's vRapid Mobile in Qtopia, Trolltech customers will gain unprecedented ability to manage core software and features on-demand. In addition, the broad community of software vendors that provide middleware and applications to Qtopia will be able to update or add software to phones already in the hands of consumers, increasing their competitiveness, improving time to market, and expanding the addressable market for their software products.”

Trolltech has recently been bulking up its collection applications for Qtopia Greensuite, which is built on top of its Qtopia Phone Edition stack. Last week, for example, the Norwegian software company announced it had licensed predictive typing technology from Zi Corporation.

More information on vRapid Mobile, which will be demonstrated at the Mobile World Congress 2008 in Barcelona on February 11-14, is available here.

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