OK and FST use Linux-based phone to accelerate mobile device innovation

OK Labs and FST have launched a joint product based on OpenMoko

Nine months after its official launch, Australian developers have already extended the capabilities of the world's first non-proprietary Linux powered mobile phone.

Linux-based OpenMoko was officially launched at the start of this year in partnership with Taiwanese manufacturer First International Computer (FIC).

Late last month National ICT Australia (NICTA) spin-off Open Kernal Labs (OK) and Australian-based Fluffy Spider Technologies (FST) announced the availability of OKL4 for FIC's OpenMoko Neo1973 smart phone featuring FST's FancyPants advanced GUI (graphical user interface) platform.

This is the first product coming from the joint development agreement signed by OK and FST on July 25 this year.

OK's open-source microkernel operating system, OKL4 is designed to offer high proven performance with a focus on virtualization, real-time programming, security, encapsulation and componentisation of software for increased fault isolation and robustness.

FST Business Development manager, Stan Ghys said in a press release that the FancyPants user interface demonstrates the ability for third parties to easily develop advanced graphics and include high-performance multimedia applications for the OpenMoko software, proving the platform's robustness to OEMs of high-end and low-cost mass market devices.

"In addition, this is the first device to illustrate the ability to simultaneously run multiple applications on multiple operating systems running on the OKL4 microkernel on a single processor core. The result is a seamless, user-configurable interface with a very small footprint that reduces hardware resource requirements and costs," he said.

Ghys said the product is attracting a lot of interest from original equipment manufacturer's and original design manufacturer's around the world.

"We (OK and FST) currently have a joint research and marketing arrangement and look forward to being contracted together for customer-specific projects," he said.

OK Labs CEO Steve Subar agreed that the interest level is high, and that the response from developers at the ARM Developers Conference where the product was shown this month was positive.

"We are at a crossroads of a very exciting time in the industry," he said.

"(We are seeing the) coming together of requirements for feature rich devices addressing the needs of service providers."

Subar also said in a press release that OpenMoko is one of the hottest new open source devices available today.

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