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Motorola software unit aims Linux at mobile device market

Jun 30, 2003 — by LinuxDevices Staff — from the LinuxDevices Archive — views

[Updated July 1, 2003] — Motorola software tools subsidiary Metrowerks today rolled out “OpenPDA,” a family of software components, development tools, and related services for Linux-based mobile devices. According to Metrowerks, OpenPDA provides a complete, “pre-integrated” software stack for mobile devices such as PDAs and smart handhelds, and is based on a combination of open source and… proprietary software. That stack, currently used by Sharp in its latest Zaurus PDAs, includes an embedded Linux OS, GUI framework, and Java runtime environment, plus a full range of apps commonly found in today's smart handheld devices (PIM suite, email, browser, gaming, multi-media, PC sync, wireless connectivity, device configuration, etc.).

“OpenPDA is the first and only embedded Linux based solution to provide all the development essentials, making it a viable alternative to other platforms such as Windows CE, Pocket PC, VxWorks, and Palm,” [*] boasted Brett Haskins, director of Mobile Computing Devices at Metrowerks. “OpenPDA's highly integrated Linux/GUI/Java framework provides a foundation for the development of countless Linux-based wireless and wired devices in markets such as consumer, retail, medical, industrial, and enterprise.”

Sharp Electronics, the first OpenPDA licensee, had originally included Lineo's Embedix PDA software stack in the Zaurus. But when Embedix was subsequently acquired by Metrowerks last December, Sharp migrated to OpenPDA, which is similar in many respects to Embedix, especially in its inclusion of the Qtopia GUI framework and PDA app-suite, Opera web browser, and Jeode JVM. Additional OpenPDA licensees will be announced soon, Metrowerks said.

Metrowerks offered a sneak preview of OpenPDA at LinuxWorld in New York last January, when it demonstrated OpenPDA running on AMD's Alchemy Au1100 system-on-chip based Mobile Client Reference Design Kit. At that time, Metrowerks chief technology officer Berardino Baratta said OpenPDA would be released “late first quarter, 2003” and that its processor support would include Intel's StrongARM and XScale families, Sharp's ARM7/9 products, TI's OMAP processors, and AMD's Alchemy.

In today's announcement, Metrowerks said OpenPDA currently supports ARM and MIPS architectures, with ports to other architectures in process, and that support for two “widely used” reference boards will be announced “in the coming weeks.”

What's in the OpenPDA product family?

Haskins said the OpenPDA product line includes the following development tools and software components . . .

  • OpenPDA Development Studio (for specific processors) — includes:

    • OpenPDA Platform Creation Suite — a collection of tools for system-level development and debug, such as bringing up OpenPDA on new devices. Includes a “point and click” Target Wizard tool for configuring, building, deploying, and debugging Linux on targets, plus additional wizards for Linux kernel import, GNU tools import, BSP export, GPL compliance verification, etc.
    • OpenPDA Platform Support Package (for specific reference boards) — includes:
      • Embedded Linux kernel and drivers, with enhancements for “improved system performance and reliability”
      • Embedded Linux OS source code
      • Integrated 3rd-party middleware and applications from vendors such as Trolltech (Qt/Embedded, Qtopia), esmertec (Jeode JVM), Opera (web browser), and others (to be announced)
      • Qt/Qtopia commercial version OEM Developer license and source

    • Quick Start guides, documentation, manuals, access to specification

  • CodeWarrior Development Studio for OpenPDA — an application development kit consisting of the Metrowerks CodeWarrior graphical IDE (integrated development environment), pre-integrated with Trolltech's Qt/Qtopia development kit
  • CodeTEST — a software verification toolset that overcomes complexities of the embedded software environment from early phase host-based design and development to final phase test and validation.

Additionally, Haskins said development and production licensing for all OpenPDA family software tools and components, including those from third-parties, is available directly from Metrowerks. The company also offers OpenPDA-related professional services, including configuration, optimization, systems analysis and testing, and support. Another service Metrowerks also its customers is customized and packaged developer communities, Haskins said.

[*] Story update — July 1, 2003

In our initial coverage of the OpenPDA launch, we included Symbian in the list of companies with which OpenPDA would compete, based on a statement from a Metrowerks company official. We were subsequently informed by Metrowerks that the inclusion of Symbian's name in that list by its spokesperson had been an error, and that the company is not aiming OpenPDA at the smart phone market.

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