California company introduces new mobile Linux platform

Azingo introduced its mobile Linux software platform on Wednesday, joining a crowded market.

Another mobile Linux platform, this time from Azingo, hit the market on Wednesday, joining an increasingly crowded market of Linux phone software.

Formerly called Celunite, Azingo aims to differentiate itself from the crowd by offering phone makers an entire package, including kernel, middleware, applications, development tools and integration services.

"Mobile Linux has failed because there's a big integration problem," said Michael Mclaughlin, marketing director at Azingo. "People come with piece parts."

For example, companies like Montavista and Wind River make mobile Linux kernels while others like Trolltech, purchased by Nokia just this week, make application development environments. Phone makers typically must buy the different components and then struggle to integrate them. That puts mobile Linux at a disadvantage against some other mobile platforms, like Windows Mobile, which comes complete, he said.

Azingo is offering a complete suite of mobile Linux software but will also help customers integrate different pieces if they choose components from different vendors, said Mclaughlin.

The applications Azingo offers as part of the platform include Web widgets that can deliver information such as weather and traffic, entertainment applications such as video and audio players, and productivity software like e-mail.

Azingo hasn't announced any deals with handset makers planning to use its software. Mclaughlin said the company has been working with some of the well-known vendors and expects handsets running its software to ship in the fourth quarter.

The company isn't the only one offering the market a complete suite of mobile Linux software. A La Mobile has a similar approach, using some of its own software and integrating components from other vendors including Trolltech. GUPP Technologies, a Malaysian company, announced in 2006 that it would use A La Mobile's platform.

Azingo will also compete against Android, Google's high profile Linux-based mobile phone operating platform, which includes an operating system, middleware and applications. Android phones are expected to become available in the second half of this year.

Azingo is a member of the LiMo Foundation, a group founded by Motorola, NTT DoCoMo, Vodafone, Samsung and others to build a mobile Linux platform.

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Nancy Gohring

IDG News Service
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