Mobile Linux takes another step forward

Intel and Orange have agreed to deliver Orange multimedia services to devices based on the Intel Atom processor and the MeeGo software platform.

The move marks another step forward in the use of Linux in handsets and mobile devices.

MeeGo is a Linux-based mobile operating system that is being developed by merging Intel's Moblin and Nokia's Maemo. It builds on the capabilities of Moblin and its support for a wide range of device types, and Maemo's Qt application and user interface framework for software developers. The idea is to create a common software environment that will make it easier to develop applications and services for a range of hardware, from smartphones and tablets to netbooks.

Intel and Orange will work on making key Orange services, such as Orange TV and Orange Maps, on MeeGo based hardware.

"Seventy-five per cent of our customer base has yet to embrace the mobile internet," said Yves Maitre, senior vice president  of devices for Orange Group. "With the increasing number of phones and operating systems for customers to choose from, it is our role to make sure our customer’s journey into this richer mobile multimedia environment is simple and easy.”

Doug Fisher, vice president, software and services group and general manager, systems software division at Intel, said: “Orange and Intel share a similar vision around digital devices and consumer experiences and our joint work will connect people to the content that matters most, wherever they may be.”

Meanwhile Morgan Gillis, executive director and member of the board of the Limo Foundation, which promotes the use of Linux in mobiles, has written an open letter of support to the members of the recently announced Wholesale Applications Community. The Community, which was announced at the Mobile World Congress last month, aims to create a wholesale market for mobile applications in which developers can sell their wares and from which operators can create their own retail marketplaces.

Gillis wrote to offer support, participation, and practical assistance.

"It is clear to us that the highly complementary areas of focus, shared belief in true openness and common industry vision create an exceptional opportunity for deep and long-term collaboration between LiMo Foundation and the Wholesale Applications Community," he wrote.

The LiMo Foundation was launched in 2007. Since then, three versions of its software and 52 LiMo devices have been brought to market, including devices underpinning Vodafone's 360 service. Membership includes NTT DOCOMO, SK Telecom, Telefonica, Verizon Wireless and Vodafone, LG, NEC, Panasonic and Samsung.

LiMo has already created standard 'white-label' software development kits (SDKs) for members to include in their branded SDKs. Its membership also has experience with the existing OMTP BONDI and JIL efforts to ease mobile application software development.

Gillis's letter offers the LiMo Foundation's help with "structuring dialogue among the signatories to the initial Memorandum of Understanding; engaging interested vendors; defining the governance model and articles of association; establishing legal entities in multiple jurisdictions as appropriate; preparing the Wholesale Applications Community roadmap; organising operationally to engage the industry and deliver early practical outcomes."

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