MontaVista Gears Linux for Consumer Electronics

Embedded Linux specialist MontaVista Software took the opening of the 2003 International Consumer Electronics
Show
(CES) Wednesday as an opportunity to hold a coming out party for a
new version of MontaVista Linux geared especially for consumer electronics
devices.

Sunnyvale, Calif.-based MontaVista has slowly been casting its embedded
Linux net worldwide: it has offices in seven states, and across Europe,
Japan and Asia Pacific. Its partners use its software to make products
ranging from communications infrastructure to consumer electronics and
anti-lock brakes. Indeed, it already has more than 100 consumer electronics
device companies as partners — including Sony, Panasonic, NEC, and Toshiba
America — making products ranging from cell phones to PDAs, set-top boxes,
Internet radios, residential gateways, automotive telematics, even Karaoke
machines.

By adding MontaVista Linux Consumer Electronics Edition 3.0 to its lineup,
which already includes Professional and Carrier Grade, MontaVista hopes to
tempt more consumer electronics manufacturers to turn on to Linux, which
has been a slow and frustrating process to date. Other players in the
embedded systems market include Motorola, Red Hat and LynuxWorks on the
Linux side, and Microsoft pushing its embedded Windows solutions.

Longtime player Embedix (formerly Lineo) struggled to help create the
market before it was acquired last month by MetroWerks, a Motorola
subsidiary.

“Consumer electronics products are evolving from simple, single function
appliances into complex, network-connected devices,” said Stephen Balacco,
embedded systems analyst at Venture Development Corp. “The expanded
functionality of these products will increasingly require high performance
hardware and a 32-bit robust multi-tasking operating system such as Linux.”

Initially, MontaVista’s CEE 3.0 offering supports Texas Instruments’ OMAP
1510 and OMAP5910 processors and the IBM PowerPC 405LP processor. Support
for additional processing platforms is planned, and MontaVista is also
moving forward with solution stacks from its software partners aimed at key
consumer electronics markets.

MontaVista has already put together:

  • Access, Opera Software, Espial, Phoenix Technologies, Websoft
    International and Zentek for device Web browsers

  • CodeHost for rich printing support
  • Hughes Software Systems for VoIP and SIP stacks
  • IBM for end-to-end device management and enterprise connectivity
  • InterVideo for Linux-based DVD playing software
  • IP Infusion for routing protocol stacks
  • Liberate for Digital TV middleware
  • Macrovision for digital rights and license management
  • Movial for rich embedded Instant Communication software
  • Open Interface for certified Bluetooth stacks
  • ProSyst for an open and scalable service delivery platform
  • Solid Information Technology and PointBase for embedded databases
  • Tao Group for multimedia engines
  • BMR and MasterIA for Chinese fonts and input, MasterIA for Korean fonts
    and input, and Omron Software for Japanese input.

More partnerships will be announced over the coming months.

“These extensive collaborative efforts offer OEMs complete
hardware/software solutions, which will both speed time-to-market and lower
total development costs for the next generation of consumer and home
electronics devices,” said Sheila Baker, vice president of Marketing,
MontaVista. “These partnerships will help consumer electronics companies
leverage a wealth of applications and meet the high productivity and low
power requirements of new consumer devices with more complex
functionality.”

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