Wednesday, October 3, 2007

MontaVista releases new Linux-based mobile phone OS

San Francisco (IDGNS) - MontaVista Software planned to announce on Wednesday the latest version of its Linux-based mobile phone operating system, expected to be available in November.

MontaVista's Mobilinux 5.0 includes a number of updates, such as improved security, better power management tools, support for various types of connectivity such as Bluetooth and Wi-Fi on USB dongles, and faster startup times.

MontaVista says its operating system runs 90 percent of existing Linux-based smartphones. But competition is heating up for the software developer, since analysts have been predicting dramatic growth for mobile Linux and a number of new consortiums are working on interoperability issues. ABI Research, for example, recently said that it expects cumulative Linux mobile device shipments between 2006 and 2012 to reach 331 million.

Mobilinux 5.0's new features help set it apart from other Linux operating systems out there, said Dan Cauchy, director of product marketing for MontaVista. For example, the new OS includes a miniaturized version of SELinux, the security technology developed by the U.S. National Security Agency. The MontaVista version, MicroSELinux, enables role-based access control so that users with different security levels can use a single device running Mobilinux.

The new version also includes improvements to the software's dynamic power management capabilities. Mobilinux 5.0 includes APIs so that developers can make use of the power management capabilities. In tests, MontaVista applied the power management techniques to MP3 playback on a phone so that the device would almost shut off between MP3 packets, said Cauchy. The process allowed the phone to play MP3 songs five times as long as the same phone without the power management technology, he said.

The new OS also improves on device startup times, MontaVista said. Mobilinux 5.0 phones typically boot in less than five seconds.

The software is small too, MontaVista said. A basic implementation can be done in less than 14MB.

Mobilinux 5.0 also includes another upgrade that should please developers, the executives said. MontaVista has added the capability to debug over USB. Normally, developers debug over a serial line, but most mobile devices don't have serial ports anymore, Cauchy said. That means developers often have to use a special test environment in order to debug. "We've been badgered by customers to do this, honestly, because it's such a limit without," said Jim Ready, CTO and founder of MontaVista. "This lets them debug on a real phone as opposed to in a lab."

Via (yahoo news.)

1 comment:

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