MontaVista Linux Out With Smartphone OS

MontaVista Software unleashed a new embedded operating system designed to make smartphone players like Microsoft and Symbian sit up
and take note.

The Sunnyvale, Calif.-based Linux vendor, known for its embedded Linux offerings, announced its Mobilinux 4.0 product designed for the $300 and $600
mobile and wireless device market. The operating system is scheduled to
ship in the second quarter of 2005 and immediately benefit MontaVista’s
partners such as Openwave as well as Motorola, NEC and

The announcement also dovetails with MontaVista’s Mobilinux
Open Framework program, which it released in February 2005.

The platform is based on the Linux 2.6 kernel, and updated with Eclipse 3.0.1 and CDT
2.1 technology as well as open KDrive (aka TinyX) and GTK technologies.

Mobilinux carries a version 4.0 moniker to differentiate it from
MontaVista’s three other products: Consumer Electronics Edition,
Professional Edition, and Carrier-Grade Edition. The new operating
system features a fast start-up (less than 1 second), a small footprint,
and better performance while extending battery life. The operating
system also features support for RFID, Bluetooth, and

Peder Ulander, MontaVista vice president of marketing, said the
company is also working with handset manufacturers and mobile operators
on making sure their specifications are met through open and industry
standard technologies.

“Where we are sitting is in an opportunity where Linux can scale
while Microsoft and Symbian are rigid and closed opportunities,” Ulander
told “Our greatest competitor is still
Roll-Your-Own but those platforms have inconsistent drive patches and
upgrades especially for the larger customers. We are also seeing really
high growth opportunities for Mobilinux as this push towards 3G
increases and the volumes reflect it.”

Overall trends in the mobile and wireless space are favorable for
smartphones, according to Ulander. MontaVista’s stats suggest that in
the 2007 – 2008 period more than a billion intelligent smartphones will
have shipped.

MontaVista’s other advantage over Microsoft and Symbian is that
smartphones by nature are expensive because they have two operating
systems and two chips.

“A feature phone that has one operating system and one chip will make
is more affordable,” Ulander said.

A Symbian smartphone is really complex, Ulander said, because of all
of these filters, not to mention it is 50 percent owned by Nokia, which
could alarm some people looking for an open system. The other concern by
handset makers, Ulander said, is that they saw what Microsoft did on the
PC and they do not want to recreate that on the smartphone.

Avoiding the pitfalls of its competitors, MontaVista has also added
support for a cross-platform DPM Library, an event broker to help
define, publish and subscribe to content, and advanced real-time

Mobilinux will also have various power performance enhancements, ARM
Embedded Application Binary support for compatibility with standard
third-party tools, compiler support for thumb mode, and an integrated
graphical layer for user interfaces.

Another strong play of MontaVista, Ulander said is in the company’s
contract work within the network infrastructure. Currently MontaVista
has 11 different phone designs and 2.5 million handsets in the world.

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