New Linux phone encourages application development

First International Computer introduces a mobile phone based on Linux

Taiwanese electronics company First International Computer (FIC) hopes to replicate the open nature of the PC in mobile phones with the debut of a smartphone running an open Linux-based mobile software platform developed by one of its product managers.

FIC's Neo1973 smartphone, introduced Tuesday and expected to go on sale in January, runs on OpenMoko, a new open-source mobile phone software platform aimed at spurring mobile application development.

OpenMoko comes with a software development kit and libraries designed to make it easier for developers to build new applications for the phones. OpenMoko also includes a software manager so that users can easily add, remove and update applications.

Sean Moss-Multz, OpenMoko's developer and a product manager at FIC, plans to facilitate the sharing of the applications that users create through community and commercial resources.

OpenMoko is based on the OpenEmbedded project, a development environment to enable applications to work across various Linux embedded systems giving users access to many existing open-source applications.

The phone will operate on GSM (Global System for Mobile Communications) networks in most regions of the world and will also include GPS (Global Positioning System) technology for location and navigation services. It will also come with push e-mail and contact and calendar synchronization from Funambol Inc.

Moss-Multz developed the platform out of frustration with the closed environment of mobile phones. His idea was to create an attractive mobile phone running on open-source software and target it to "everyone who loves to tinker with electronics," according to a presentation he wrote that is posted on the OpenMoko Web site. A software development kit and support capabilities will help such enthusiasts develop a broad range of applications that then might become interesting to a wider audience of people who may not have the technical know-how to build their own applications.

Moss-Multz won't be the first to attempt to open up the mobile phone industry. Smartphone operating systems like Symbian and Windows Mobile also allow phone users to download applications and their creators support and encourage a community of developers. But despite running on Symbian, phones from different manufacturers or even different models from the same manufacturer might not automatically run the same application. That means that application developers often have to tweak their products many times to run on all the different phones in the market.

The push to use Linux on mobile phones is gaining momentum but it too is fragmented. Several groups including the Mobile Linux Initiative, the Linux Phone Standards Forum and others have popped up recently with plans to build a common mobile Linux kernel and APIs (application programming interfaces) in bids to unify the mobile Linux community.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Nancy Gohring

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Stocking Stuffer

SmartLens - Clip on Phone Camera Lens Set of 3

Learn more >

Logitech Ultimate Ears Wonderboom Bluetooth Speaker

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Maryellen Rose George

Brother PT-P750W

It’s useful for office tasks as well as pragmatic labelling of equipment and storage – just don’t get too excited and label everything in sight!

Cathy Giles

Brother MFC-L8900CDW

The Brother MFC-L8900CDW is an absolute stand out. I struggle to fault it.

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Laura Johnston

MSI GS65 Stealth Thin

If you can afford the price tag, it is well worth the money. It out performs any other laptop I have tried for gaming, and the transportable design and incredible display also make it ideal for work.

Andrew Teoh

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?