LINUXWORLD SF - Motorola sees Linux as its mobile mainstay

Motorola expects 60 percent of its phones to run Linux within two years.

Motorola is betting big on Linux for its mobile phones, planning to install the OS on 60 percent of its handsets within two years.

The long-awaited follow-up to its sleek Razr phone for GSM (Global System for Mobile Communications) networks, now on sale in Asia, is based on Linux. The model, called Razr2 V8, will come to the U.S. within two months as Motorola's first Linux phone in this country.

Mobile phones traditionally have used proprietary operating systems, fragmented even among one manufacturer's products. Motorola and other vendors have also opened up phone platforms through the Java and Brew software environments. Linux will help to further expand the community of developers for software, which is becoming an increasingly important part of mobile phones, said Christy Wyatt, vice president of ecosystem and market development at Motorola. The company has shipped about 9 million Linux handsets in the past four years and is now extending the OS down from smartphones to midrange handsets such as the Razr2.

On Tuesday at LinuxWorld in San Francisco, Motorola unveiled Motomagx, the latest version of its mobile Linux platform. Motomagx offers a new development option, called WebUI, to help bring Web 2.0 applications to phones. It lets developers who use tools such as AJAX (Asynchronous Java and XML) present their applications on a mobile phone through the WebKit open-source browser engine, Wyatt said. WebUI, Java and Linux itself will be the major development environments for Motorola's Linux phones, she said.

One key to developing a large Linux developer community has been agreeing with other mobile companies on a single Linux platform, Wyatt said. In January, Motorola formed the LiMo Foundation along with NEC, NTT DoCoMo, Vodafone Group, Samsung Electronics Co., Matsushita Electric Industrial Co. (Panasonic).

The company's Motodev Developer network helps software creators write applications for Linux phones. In the U.S., where mobile operators control software more tightly than in other parts of the world, Motorola helps developers get their applications on the carrier software and services "deck," Wyatt said.

After Linux becomes the dominant platform for Motorola's phones, the company still expects to sell Windows Mobile devices aimed primarily at enterprises, Symbian phones in Europe and a number of low-end phones based on simpler, more closed platforms. But Linux is headed toward being one of three dominant platforms in a consolidating mobile-software world, along with Windows Mobile and Nokia's Series 60, Wyatt said.

For the moment, phones based on the CDMA (Code Division Multiple Access) family of technologies are left behind in Motorola's Linux drive. Between CDMA and the Brew software environment frequently used on those phones, there is much porting and development work to be done, Wyatt said. But the company's majority-Linux forecast assumes it will be able to bring out Linux-based CDMA phones, she said. There will be a non-Linux handset comparable to the Razr2 V8 for CDMA networks, she said.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Stephen Lawson

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Father’s Day Gift Guide

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Laura Johnston

MSI GS65 Stealth Thin

If you can afford the price tag, it is well worth the money. It out performs any other laptop I have tried for gaming, and the transportable design and incredible display also make it ideal for work.

Andrew Teoh

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Featured Content

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?