Major cell phone companies working on Linux-based platform for phones

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Thursday, June 15, 2006

Four major cell phone makers, Motorola, NEC, Panasonic, and Samsung, and two wireless providers, NTT DoCoMo and Vodafone, have announced they will work together to provide a Linux-based platform for cell phones. This move could threaten the dominance Symbian and Microsoft in the operating systems market for cell phones.

Peter Gorham, an independent market analyst, said "Linux is also rock solid, unlike some of the existing operating systems. It would mean no more taking your batteries out of your phone to get it to reboot. And this would make things a lot easier for application developers."

On the lack of U.S. provider's support in this alliance, Gorham said "I am surprised that there aren’t any American carriers involved in this alliance, but they are probably skeptical about the longevity of these kinds of alliances. But Motorola and Samsung have a vested interest in the success of this thing, in part because they have a large customer, Vodafone, involved."

This alliance is not the first effort to standardize on Linux for cell phones. Several groups are currently working on this, including Linux Phone Standard Forum, Open Source Development Lab, and Electronics Linux Forum.

According to Christy Wyatt, vice president of market development at Motorola, said this effort differs from other efforts because it will establish a common platform for all participating manufacturers.

Linux is already being utilized on some mobile devices. Motorola has already shipped five million of these including the Ming model for China and Rokr E2 music phone in Asia. The Rokr E2 will be available in Europe soon.