3GSM - Access announces new Linux Palm OS

Access announced its Linux platform for smartphones.

Access, the company that recently bought PalmSource, introduced the Access Linux Platform at 3GSM in Barcelona on Tuesday.

The Linux-based operating system will become available at the end of this year to smartphone developers. It will include the Linux kernel, the database engine SQLite and GStreamer, an open source streaming media framework.

The Access Linux Platform will also include a number of technologies from Access and PalmSource, including the PalmSource messaging and telephony middleware as well as PalmSource's personal information management and synch applications. It will also include the Access NetFront browser.

The Access Linux Platform is designed so that existing Palm operating system applications will run the same on the platform, Access said.

Samsung Electronics Co. said that it is considering using the Access Linux platform.

Access' acquisition of PalmSource was completed late last year. The companies have said that they were developing a Linux-based software platform and in October, PalmSource joined the Open Source Development Labs. PalmSource is also a member of the Linux Phone Standards Forum.

An increasing number of companies are developing open source software products for the mobile industry. Nigel Clifford, chief executive officer of Symbian, called Linux "a fact of life," speaking on Tuesday during a press conference. Symbian currently powers the bulk of smartphones today, but is facing increasing competition from Microsoft. While many Linux software makers have discussed using Linux in lower-end phones, the Access platform is aimed at the higher-end smartphone market and so will compete with Symbian.

In other open source news at 3GSM, Funambol announced on Tuesday that the Philippines Long Distance Telephone Co. will use Funambol's open source mobile e-mail product to offer mobile e-mail services to users. The operator said the open source product allows it to offer the service to a wide variety of devices.

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Nancy Gohring

IDG News Service
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