Six New Mobile Devices Running Open Source

I am not the only who thought of a phone which has an open source operating system in it… Take the Android or the G phone for example… It is running a flavor of linux, i think.

Here are some more open source driven mobile devices.. Here’s what we read:

Looking for more Linux and open source apps in your life? Then pick up your phone. Check out the newest smartphones and netbooks announced just last week that the discerning penguin will be craving before the year is out.

Palm Pre

Palm Pre created a lot of third-party software buzz as well as quite a bit of excitement with their legacy emulator. Some of the software demonstrated included Fandango movie time and ticket app, SprintTV, and Google Maps. Pandora Internet radio application is a boon for any music lover. A quick launcher resides in every Pre screen to bring up the tiny player without interrupting your current task. Another, Nascar, pulls in highlights of the Nascar season such as videos, driver profiles and standings, and more.

Perhaps the most interesting for owners of older Palms running expensive software is the Garnet OS to webOS emulation software. The emulator runs as a separate application and allows drag-and-drop installation/use. Palm considers this a key element in allowing users to easily upgrade to the newer snazzier Pre.

The Palm Pre, announced earlier this year at CES, features a Linux-based webOS, 3.1-inch multitouch screen with 320×480 resolution and a slide-out QWERTY keyboard. It comes equipped with Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, GPS, 8 gigabytes of storage, and a 3-megapixel camera.

Wistron Pursebook

Wistron showed off their proof-of-concept Pursebook running the Qualcomm Snapdragon processor. This cute little netbook runs a handsomely customized version of Linux from ThunderSoft with software for office tasks, communications, and Web enjoyment.

Yes, that paragraph did just contain the terms “Pursebook,” “Snapdragon,” and “Thundersoft.” You’re welcome.

Observers state the keyboard was of the first-generation instead of the chiclet type keyboard used in some newer netbook models, but overall the device was easy to use. Others stated it has sufficient power, fairly nice graphics, and an 8-hour battery-life. Prices are expected to start at 299 USD and should be available sometime later in the year.


NVIDIA was on hand to demonstrate their all-in-one Tegra chip for mobile devices. Tegra, an ARM-based component, will be capable of 1080p video output and displays up to 1680 x 1050. It will also be able to support IDE hard disks.

NVIDIA used an HP Mini 1000 case fitted with their computer-on-a-chip system to demonstrate Tegra’s potential. Their prototype ran Windows CE, but NVIDIA has also developed their own interface that has been described as something in between Android and Mac OS X in appearance. Tegra can also support Android and Windows Mobile, and while there was no mention of Linux specifically, a spokesman said that Tegra technology is very flexible and can easily be used with other platforms as well. NVIDIA hopes to bring the new chipset to market sometime this year at a price conducive to $99 devices.

Nokia E71x

Another little smartphone that created quite a bit of interest was the AT&T exclusive Nokia E71x. Much like the original Nokia E71, the E71x is a very thin device weighing just under 4.5 ounces and comes with a 320 x 240 QVGA display, full QWERTY keyboard, 8 GB storage, high-speed 3G connectivity, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, GPS, and a 3.2-megapixel camera. Mark Louison, President, Nokia Inc. said, “The E71x is a lean, mean multimedia machine for busy people who want Internet-on-the-go capabilities in the palm of their hands.”

This skinny Nokia comes with an upgraded Symbian S60 with Feature Pack 2 (which features a handy “Show open apps” option throughout all apps) as well as some AT&T services such as AT&T Music, AT&T Mail, and AT&T Navigator. It even has support for QuickOffice. The best feature is probably the new lower price of 100 USD after mail-in rebate. The Nokia AT&T E71x should become available within the next few weeks.

While the Symbian isn’t open source yet, that is due to change in the first half of this year.

Samsung Mondi

Samsung Telecommunications unveiled their first mobile internet device this year to compete with the netbook form factor. Most noteable features include WiMax, Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth. Its 4.3-inch touchscreen is accompanied by a slide out QWERTY keyboard and optical mouse. It comes with 4 gigabytes of storage, a 3-megapixel camera, and HDMI TV Out.

The Mondi runs Opera 9.5 for Internet access. The device should be available this summer although price ranges have yet to be announced.

Speaking of Opera, they were on-hand as well to introduce their updated browsing software Opera Mobile 9.7. This ships with Opera Turbo, which is a compression algorithm used to speed up surfing, and support for Ajax and Flash in order to enjoy sites such as and Facebook. Best of all, it passes the Acid 3 test.

Motorola Evoke QA6

One of the more anticipated devices, the Motorola Evoke QA6 was on full display It is being advertised as “a socially-inclined device” due to its full HTML browser and IM-style messaging. It features a 2.8-inch touchscreen, Haptic feedback QWERTY keyboard, 2-megapixel camera, and aGPS.

The OS is a Motorola-customized version of Linux with widget-heavy interface. It comes with widgets for MySpace Mobile, YouTube, Follow Me Weather, Google Quicksearch and Picasa, RSS Reader, and USA Today Mobile. In addition, the QA4 is the first handset that can use virtualization to run multiple operating systems. This is done by using Open Kernel Labs’ microkernel-based embedded hypervisor to deploy two simultaneously running operating systems. This means, one can load up a Linux variant if they choose.

The Motorola Evoke QA4 should be available later in the year but no pricing information has been announced.

Mozilla Fennec

Finally, Mozilla was on hand to demonstrate their new mobile Web browser, code named Fennec. The latest release of Fennec, now known simply as Firefox, incorporates many performance improvements such as Tracemonkey JavaScript engine to increase page rendering speeds. Plug-in support was also added to enable video playback from popular sites. Other features include Download, Password, and Add-ons managers, Integrated Web search, and Popup blocker.

The minimal interface is designed to limit the amount of typing required as one surfs around the Web through inventive uses of their technology such as Smart Bar integration of bookmarks and history, tabbed browsing, and thumbnail images. The second main goal of Firefox mobile is to minimize on-screen user interaction tools in order to devote the entire screen space to web content. User tools disappear at page rendering, but panning the screen brings them back into view. Firefox is currently available for Maemo (on Nokia N810), Mac OS X, Windows, and Linux. Other Maemo platforms, Windows mobile, and Symbian versions are soon to follow.

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