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Motorola’s last in-house Linux phone?

Nov 12, 2008 — by Eric Brown — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 4 views

MontaVista has confirmed that its Linux stack is in new music phone from Motorola. Leaked details on the EM35 reveal a slider version of the EM30 music phone, making it perhaps the last of Motorola's in-house Linux phones, with Android and possibly LiMo phones to follow.

(Click for a larger view of the EM35 on Softpedia)

Motorola earlier this month announced plans to abandon its aging in-house MotoMAGX Linux/Java stack in favor of the Android Linux/Java stack. Compared to MotoMAGX, Android offers more powerful “smartphone” capabilities, such as multi-tasking, touchscreen support, and Web browsing. Thus, the EM35 may well represent the final hurrah for the MotoMAGX stack.

Motorola has also participated in the LiMo foundation, a group building a phone stack around native Linux apps. As that stack matures, Motorola could in theory deliver phones built from the interoperable OS stacks delivered by other LiMo members, though it has not yet announced any plans to do so. It has said it will continue to use Windows Mobile for smartphones (such as the recently announced Q11. Its proprietary P2K stack will continue to serve in its lowest-cost voice phones.

According to a MontaVista representative, the EM35 runs a version of MontaVista Mobilinux, as have previous Motorola Linux phones based on the MotoMAGX stack. Whether Motorola will continue using MontaVista kernels and middleware in its Android phones remains to be seen, however.

As is typical with many of its recent launches, Motorola seems to be pre-announcing the EM35 in drips and drabs. First some images appeared on Asian technology sites such as HKEPC, and now Motorola or one of its channel partners has leaked more detailed specs to several mobile handset sites, including SoftPedia.

Motorola's EM30 and earlier Rokr E8
(Click either for details)

Early reports from mobile handset sites around the web mention music-phone features similar to those of the EM30 (pictured at right), including MP3 playback, Bluetooth, USB, special music keys, FM radio with RDS technology, and a 3.5mm AV jack. The big difference is that it appears to offer the same haptic navigation scroll wheel found on the EM30's music-oriented predescesor, the Rokr E8 (pictured below). The EM30 used more conventional controls.

Music interface aside, the key improvements over the EM30 appear to be the inclusion of a 3-megapixel camera, up from 2 megapixels on the EM30, as well as the slider function, which reveals a numeric keypad.

Specs for the EM35 are said to include a tri-band GPRS/EDGE phone, 110MB of memory, a micro-SD card slot, and a 2.22-inch, 320 x 240 TFT display with 256K colors. The EM35 measures 4.2 x 1.9 x 0.6 inches (107 x 49.5 x 16mm), and weighs in at a little over four ounces (117 grams), say the reports.


At press-time, Motorola had yet to formally announce the EM35, nor does it appear to be for sale yet anywhere on the web. The phone is “coming soon” according to industry reports.

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