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Linux well-positioned in feature phones, Trolltech founders say

May 4, 2006 — by LinuxDevices Staff — from the LinuxDevices Archive — views

Trolltech reportedly foresees Linux shipping in more than a billion phones. Additionally, the company believes Linux is well-positioned to play a leading role in handsets with BOM (bill-of-materials) costs from $60-$70 dollars and down, according to an interview with founders Eirek Chambe-Eng and Havaard Nord published by TheRegister.

Andrew Orlowski, author of story, points out that Trolltech has moved away from its origins as a cross-platform development tools vendor, in order to focus on the mobile phone software market. For example, it recently hired seasoned mobile execs Benoit Schillings, former CTO of mobile phone software stack vendor Openwave, and Dr. Karsten Homann, former VP of mobile devices at Siemens, he notes.

Trolltech is “happy to let Symbian and Microsoft duke it out” in the more up-scale smartphone market, Orlowski writes, preferring to focus its own efforts on the higher-volume feature-phone market. Interestingly, Intrinsyc, another company targeting the feature-phone market, has created its own version of Windows CE along with a proprietary phone application stack, to serve as an alternative to Windows Mobile for feature phones.

Trolltech has achieved a number of Linux phone design wins, Orlowsky observes, including the “Ming” and other Motorola phones, which use an in-house developed user interface on top of Trolltech's Qt application framework, as well as phones from “Chinese giants” ZTE and Datang, which use Trolltech's full Qtopia phone software stack.

Additionally, Orlowski says the top Trolltech execs see Linux as well-positioned to succeed in single-chip mobile phone designs, thanks to virtualization technology, and real-time extension work being led by MontaVista. Virtualization specialist Jaluna confirmed late last year that its technology would see use in forthcoming Linux mobile phone designs, while MontaVista touted single-chip phone capabilities when it first launched Mobilinux, its phone platform, about a year ago. Single-chip designs, in which a single processor system handles both signaling and control functionality, promise improved battery life and lower costs.

PalmSource, another emerging vendor of mobile phone software stacks based on Linux, could be where Trolltech is today within a few years, Orlowski opines.

The full interview with Chambe-Eng and Nord can be found here.

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