Monday, July 18, 2005

Linux-Based Smartphones

FOUR COMPANIES HAVE COLLABERATED on a Linux-based 3G smartphone reference design that will be demonstrated next week at the 3GSM World Congress in Cannes, France. The production-ready platform showcases "advanced 3G" and multimedia services including UMTS/EDGE voice/video calls, video streaming, web-browsing, ultra-fast multimedia, 3D-audio, and 3D-gaming.

Infineon Reference Board (If you cannot see this image in your browser, please click the refresh button.)
The hardware platform consists of a 3G smartphone reference board developed by Infineon Technologies. It features Samsung's S3C24A0 application processor and camera module, and Infineon's MP-U UMTS/EDGE modem platform.
Infineon Technologies, Samsung Electronics, Trolltech, and Emuzed, who collaborated on the design, say they plan to market the hardware/software reference design to handset manufacturers that want to gain a quick foothold in the emerging UMTS/EDGE smartphone market using a Linux-based design. Support for UMTS and EDGE cellular standards gives the platform immediate access to wide mobile network coverage, and provides high bandwidth multimedia capabilities, the companies say.

Trolltech announced Monday that more than 50 companies are developing or shipping Linux-based devices using its Qtopia graphical application platform software, including more than 20 mobile phones. These successes signal "a surge in the market for handsets built on the popular open source Linux operating system," the company says.

Qtopia Phone Edition (If you cannot see this image in your browser, please click the refresh button.)
Qtopia Phone Edition (QPE) is a version of Linux Qtopia optimized for mobile phones with smaller display screens, low memory use, and both touchscreen- and keypad-based user input. QPE is highly configurable, Trolltech says, and is designed for minimal key input. QPE includes contact manager, calendar, and task list PIM applications, games, and various productivity, messaging, telephony, multimedia, synchronization, and configuration functions.
Note from DC: Regarding the embedded Linux operating system itself, there's a very clear trend. When the handset makers get serious about producing a phone, they very often go to MontaVista to have a Linux kernel customized for their hardware. If they roll their own Linux, they typically have trouble with power management and boot-up/startup time. I think that MontaVista can play a big role in helping handset makers to customize and make Linux really work on their products.

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Computing Without Compromise

XYBERNAUT CORPORATION HAS ADDED another model to its line of mobile, wearable PCs. The Atigo T/HB pulls double duty as a wireless Web tablet and wireless terminal, and features HB (High-Bright) technology for enhanced readability in virtually any lighting environment.

Wearable PC (If you cannot see this image in your browser, please click the refresh button.)
Weighing 1.8 pounds (including the battery) and measuring 7.9 by 9.4 by 0.7 inches, the Atigo is powered by Transmeta's 1-GHz Crusoe TM5800 processor and 256MB of SDRAM.
Mobile Headgear (If you cannot see this image in your browser, please click the refresh button.)
One-inch Color VGA head-mounted monitor with monocular viewing, and integrated microphone and earpiece speaker.
The Atigo uses a rechargeable internal lithium-ion battery and will accept an optional external clip-on battery or an optional high-capacity battery pack.

One Inch Color VGA (If you cannot see this image in your browser, please click the refresh button.)
One-inch Color VGA monitor and Telex HS-975 Dual Sided Headset with Noise Reduction and HS-976 Noise Cancelling Microphone.
Available accessories include vehicle adapters, desktop charging units, workplace mobility kits, and more. Xybernaut also offers customization options that include company logos and custom hardware and software for the enterprise.

Note from DC: Although the SDRAM cannot be upgraded, the unit can be ordered with up to 4GB of internal flash memory. The unit includes a single USB port located on the lower left side, below the power switch, as well as CF (Compact Flash) and PC Card slots situated on either side on the top bezel—although the PC Card slot is occupied by a wireless 802.11b adapter, as wireless isn't built-in. Beneath the display are four programmable function buttons, two of which are preprogrammed to launch an on-screen keyboard and open a Microsoft Internet Explorer home page, and a fifth function button (also programmable) is located on the upper right side of the unit. A four-way scroll button is conveniently placed on the right front bezel for easy thumb operation.