3GSM - Linux will reach mass-market phones, says MontaVista

Linux will soon make its way into mass-market mobile phones, rather than the high-end phones where it is currently used, according to a Montavista executive.

Even though many Linux supporters say that Linux is ideal for low-end handsets, Linux-based operating systems today are being used primarily on high-end phones. But that will change, said Peder Ulander, vice president of marketing for MontaVista Software.

Handset makers are initially using Linux on their high-end phones because the first implementations of Linux on phones will be expensive, Ulander said. "Microsoft does a great job of arguing why the cost of Linux is higher and it is on the first device," he said.

In order to minimize the risk and get a return on the investment required for the initial development work required for a Linux-based operating system, handset makers are using Linux just on more expensive, high-end phones, he said. For example, Motorola uses MontaVista's Linux-based operating system on its Rokr phone, he said.

But after the initial development work has been done, subsequent implementations of Linux on phones should be less expensive to execute, he said. Ultimately, he expects phone makers to use Linux for mass market phones.

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