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Samsung ships another Linux phone

Aug 1, 2006 — by LinuxDevices Staff — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 5 views

A new Linux-based phone is shipping to subscribers of China Mobile's “Go-Tone” GSM/GPRS service. The Samsung SGH-i858 features a large, 2.4-inch QVGA (240 x 320) color touchscreen, along with a slide-out hardware keypad. It runs version 2.5 of Mizi's “Prizm” Linux phone stack.

(Click to enlarge)

The SGH-i858 is the second recent Linux phone release from Samsung. The Korean consumer electronics giant (Samsung is Asia's 9th-largest company) in April began distributing its unique SCH-i819 — which features both GSM/GPRS and CDMA radios — to China Unicom.

Both recent Samsung Linux phones also have a “slider” form factor, and support touchscreen as well as keypad operation. Like the SCH-i819, the new SGH-i858 is probably based on a Qualcomm multi-chip communications processor module, such as the MSM6500.

SGH-i858 front and back views
(Source: Samsung's draft user manual. Click each image to enlarge)

Additional SGH-i858 features include a 2-megapixel camera, TV-out, text-to-speech software, bluetooth, MMS (multimedia messaging service), IrDA with learning universal remote control software, and a business card reader. It also has standard smartphone features such as a PIM (personal information manager), Media Player, and File Viewer.

Phones reflect Prizm's flexibility, Mizi says

Both recent Samsung Linux phones are based on Mizi Research's Prizm 2.5 stack. Mizi says the phones' differences illustrate the flexibility of its Prizm stack — the phones have different radio modules, operate on different carrier networks, and have differing user interfaces and software; yet, they share “very similar” underlying OS and middleware layers, according to Mizi.

Screenshots from the SGH-i858's Prizm-based interface
(Click each image to enlarge)

Mizi describes Prizm 2.5 as a “comprehensive” software stack that was designed to help phone manufacturers adapt to the rapid pace of change in the mobile phone industry. Along with a 2.4-series Linux kernel, graphics framework, and a customizable user interface and application suite, the stack appears to include a hardware abstraction layer (HAL), possibly similar to that in the stack recently announced by a la Mobile.

Mizi describes the Prizm stack's layers as follows:

  • Device enabler area, which communicates with the hardware
  • OS service area, which bridges the Linux-based OS with the communications environment of the user
  • User-interactive area, which retrieves the user's commands and executes the tasks

Mizi CEO Y.J. Seo stated, “The boundaries between different mobile digital devices are disappearing fast, thanks to convergence devices that provide all-in-one solutions. This means the deciding factor of your product's success is the ability to integrate brand-new types of services and features into your product seamlessly. Prizm Mobile is a flexible and expandable one-stop solution that has been designed with the quickly changing mobile device market in mind.”


Mizi says Samsung is now distributing the SGH-i858 to China Mobile. The SGH-i858 has also been FCC approved for possible U.S. distribution.

Mizi's Prizm 2.5 stack is currently shipping. The company expects to release Prizm 3.0 before year's end.

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