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NEWS FLASH: China launches Linux-based smartphone

Dec 15, 2003 — by LinuxDevices Staff — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 3 views

A Chinese company based in Shanghai named “E28” has quietly been selling Linux-based smartphones in China since August, and today launched its Linux device in Hong Kong. The company also claims to be in talks with US and European companies to bring the device to those regions, according to one source.

Japan, where cellular provider NTT DoCoMo recently adopted Linux for its 3G phones, represents another possible market for the E28 phone.

E28's E2800 smart phone sells for about $600, and targets business users, offering PDA functions, touch-screen, handwriting recognition, a camera, and memory expansion to 512MB through an SD memory card.

The 123-gram e2800 measures 3.86 x 2.32 x 1 inces (98 x 59 x 26 mm). It is a 900/1800MHz, GSM/GPRS class 10 device based on dual ARM9 processors, running embedded Linux with a 2.4-series kernel. It supports both Chinese and English. It boots from 32MB of Flash RAM, and includes another 32MB of SDRAM. It can be expanded with SD/MMC cards, and comes initially with a free 16MB SD card from SanDisk.

The screen is a 2.4-inch thin-film transistor (TFT) LCD with 240×320 resolution and 4096 colors. A built-in CMOS camera provides resolution of 110,000 pixels.

Networking includes USB and infrared capabilities, along with GPRS data services that provide Web browsing and email. The device has a 890mAH battery, good for 75-130 hours of standby and 120-300 minutes of use, depending on network conditions. Software is included for synchronizing with Outlook via OMA SyncML.

Other software includes:

  • Electronic dictionary
  • English assistant
  • Calendar
  • 30 minutes sound recordings
  • Handwriting recognition
  • Email
  • MP3
  • 32-voice sound can be used as ringtone
  • WAP/WWW browser
  • J2ME MIDP1.1
  • EMS, MMS (Multimedia News Service)
  • Games

An article about E28 in Chinese business journal The Standard cites E28 CEO and founder Roger Kung, a former president of Motorola's personal communication Asia Pacific sector, as saying the company chose Linux with overseas expansion in mind, and is talking with US and European partners.

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