Welcome!

Release Management Authors: Pat Romanski, Elizabeth White, David H Deans, Liz McMillan, Jnan Dash

Related Topics: Mobile IoT

Mobile IoT: Blog Feed Post

Open Source in Mobile - Part I

Open Source in mobile phones and devices are becoming increasingly popular and hyped

Open Source in mobile phones and devices are becoming increasingly popular and hyped. All and everyone but Microsoft seems to go and use open source: Nokia, Motorola, Google, SonyEricsson, Samsung, LGE, HTC, China Mobile, etc. etc.

I attended OSiM in Amsterdam for a day (had to be back to China the next day) and it was quite an interesting and diverse crowd attending and/or speaking - hard core open sourcers along with big fat OEMs trying to leverage open source to make the most of it. In the first Open Source in Mobile blog, I'll make an overview of alternatives for building devices using open source software. Apart from Windows Mobile, all software stacks being used in Smartphones are now open sources.

Symbian

The absolutely largest and most complete open source software package comes from Symbian. Without seeing the final version of Symbian^2, I am confident in that this will be the most complete open source software package for mobile phones and also the one that will ship the most (thanks to Nokia using it on all their N-series and Symbian-based devices in 2010). After Nokia's acquisition of Symbian, Symbian Foundation was created and Nokia contributed their assets related to Symbian to the Foundation and Lee Williams was recruited from Nokia to head up the Foundation.

Symbian^2 package is a full phone solution based on selected ARM-based chipsets and baseband modems.

Sofar, Nokia, SonyEricsson and Samsung are shipping phones with Symbian and NTT DoCoMo is gearing up for a Japanese package based on Symbian^2 along with the preferred phone suppliers.

Android

Definitely the most talked about open source solution for mobile devices is Android, a result of a few acquisitions from Google where they are using a number of Google software to create a mobile phone platform along with the Open Handset Alliance for a final solution.

It is only HTC that has shipped a Google-certified phone in the market and there a few chinese companies that created devices that ships on the open-source model but there is a lot of momentum around Android. Samsung, LGE and Motorola have all announced that they have phones that will be shipping this year. There were rumors also that HTC had a one year exclusivity deal to be the only one to be Google certified. And a lot of the value associated with Android comes with the right to include Google services with the related Google revenue share.

Google itself focuses solely on creating Android for mobile phones and developed its solution based on Linux and have lateley opened up some of the internal native APIs for developers but the main SDK for developer is based on Dalvik - Java-based virtual machine. The package from Android is not nearly as complete as Symbian but it obviously has a lot of potential.

China Mobile took the Android version and developed OMS - its own OS to be used for edge and TD-SCDMA phones in China. Dell and HTC have been expected to ship for the last couple of months but the first phone has yet to hit the shelfs.

Beyond that, Archos announced an Android tablet; set-top-boxes in Japan and Taiwan being developed and even Car systems being considered.

The appeal for Android is not only the Google backing (that gives credibility) but mainly the stable UI system along with the developer friendly SDK and sandboxing.

ChromeOS

Google though confused the market by revealing its plans to launch ChromeOS for netbooks - a browser centric Linux OS delivering Google-cloud services but with an ability to run services/applications off-line via Google Gears.

As much has not been told yet, I just bringing up as this will have some impact next year. First devices expected to ship summer 2010.

LiMo

Vodafone along with a couple of OEMs created LiMo Foundation in 2007 with the aim to develop an LGPL based mobile phone stack. Contrary to Android, the efforts are committee driven where each member contributes development to the stack.

The first real LiMo phone still awaits to see the day of light but recently the rumors has that Samsung that they will ship a LiMo based phone to Vodafone. See Linuxdevices and GSM Dome.

As they name suggested, the stack is Linux based with a lot of open source software (WebKit, Gstreamer, GTK, etc.).  LiPS merged in with LiMO as Orange tended to be left alone in the development efforts on LiPS.

Moblin

Moblin is being promoted and supported heavily by Intel and is not really a mobile phone platform as it is focused on Netbooks and MIDs (Mobile Internet Devices). Intel has aligned a lot of OSVs and ODMs/OEMs to support the Moblin Ecosystem and develop the solution.

Intel took a step further in Moblin 2 that is now a near-to-complete stack that is ready to ship and Intel actively worked to unify the Linux netbook market.  Novell, Ubuntu, Xandros and many other OSVs have ported their solution to Moblin.

Moblin UI is a combination of Clutter and GTK on a Linux OS.  Intel also joined forces with Nokia to develop Ofono, an open source phone stack which implies that Moblin later will have phone capabilities beyond Skype and VoIP/WiFi.

Maemo

Nokia also announced yet another open source based platform for mobiles: Maemo on N900, which is continuous development from N800 and N810. GTK-based but moving to use Qt in the next Maemo SDK release.

Maemo is partly released and so far only one other brand has shipped a product with Maemo. It remains to be seen how Nokia will release Maemo to the open source community but Nokia has actively worked with and engaged the community to use the best-in-breed open source software.

Palm's WebOS

Palm is not releasing their WebOS under any open source license but leveraging Open Source to build their OS. Based on Linux, they have developed their APIs and Toolkit to be integrated with WebKit to deliver a Web-enabled OS.

Tools in Open Source in Mobile

Common to all these Open Source implementations is the use of WebKit, which also Apple is using for iPhone with the exception of Maemo/Moblin (Mozilla).

For UI toolkit, either GTK or Qt have been used in the past. GTK was previously prevailant (LiMo, Moblin, Maemo, etc.) mainly because the use of LGPL where as Qt was only GPL or commercially available. But with Nokia's change in licensing, Qt is also available under LGPL and I have seen a shift towards Qt from GTK lately.

Gstreamer for Linux is extremely popular for delivering multimedia service in Linux. BlueZ for Bluetooth, etc. etc.

Personally, I see a few of these open source solutions diminish overtime. I believe that GTK will be marginalized in favor for Qt. I think that Android, Symbian and Maemo will be three strong open source alternatives for mobile computing (smartphones, smartbooks, MIDs, netbooks) along with Windows Mobile and iPhone.

Next blog, I will share my experience in creating devices with open source software and the benefits of using Open Source and I will do that from a software provider's perspective.

Read the original blog entry...

More Stories By Deborah Strickland

The articles presented here are blog posts from members of our Service Provider Mobility community. Deborah Strickland is a Web and Social Media Program Manager at Cisco. Follow us on Twitter @CiscoSPMobility.

IoT & Smart Cities Stories
DXWordEXPO New York 2018, colocated with CloudEXPO New York 2018 will be held November 11-13, 2018, in New York City and will bring together Cloud Computing, FinTech and Blockchain, Digital Transformation, Big Data, Internet of Things, DevOps, AI, Machine Learning and WebRTC to one location.
SYS-CON Events announced today that DatacenterDynamics has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 7–9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. DatacenterDynamics is a brand of DCD Group, a global B2B media and publishing company that develops products to help senior professionals in the world's most ICT dependent organizations make risk-based infrastructure and capacity decisions.
Cloud-enabled transformation has evolved from cost saving measure to business innovation strategy -- one that combines the cloud with cognitive capabilities to drive market disruption. Learn how you can achieve the insight and agility you need to gain a competitive advantage. Industry-acclaimed CTO and cloud expert, Shankar Kalyana presents. Only the most exceptional IBMers are appointed with the rare distinction of IBM Fellow, the highest technical honor in the company. Shankar has also receive...
Headquartered in Plainsboro, NJ, Synametrics Technologies has provided IT professionals and computer systems developers since 1997. Based on the success of their initial product offerings (WinSQL and DeltaCopy), the company continues to create and hone innovative products that help its customers get more from their computer applications, databases and infrastructure. To date, over one million users around the world have chosen Synametrics solutions to help power their accelerated business or per...
A valuable conference experience generates new contacts, sales leads, potential strategic partners and potential investors; helps gather competitive intelligence and even provides inspiration for new products and services. Conference Guru works with conference organizers to pass great deals to great conferences, helping you discover new conferences and increase your return on investment.
Business professionals no longer wonder if they'll migrate to the cloud; it's now a matter of when. The cloud environment has proved to be a major force in transitioning to an agile business model that enables quick decisions and fast implementation that solidify customer relationships. And when the cloud is combined with the power of cognitive computing, it drives innovation and transformation that achieves astounding competitive advantage.
Digital Transformation: Preparing Cloud & IoT Security for the Age of Artificial Intelligence. As automation and artificial intelligence (AI) power solution development and delivery, many businesses need to build backend cloud capabilities. Well-poised organizations, marketing smart devices with AI and BlockChain capabilities prepare to refine compliance and regulatory capabilities in 2018. Volumes of health, financial, technical and privacy data, along with tightening compliance requirements by...
DXWorldEXPO LLC announced today that ICOHOLDER named "Media Sponsor" of Miami Blockchain Event by FinTechEXPO. ICOHOLDER gives detailed information and help the community to invest in the trusty projects. Miami Blockchain Event by FinTechEXPO has opened its Call for Papers. The two-day event will present 20 top Blockchain experts. All speaking inquiries which covers the following information can be submitted by email to [email protected] Miami Blockchain Event by FinTechEXPOalso offers sp...
Digital Transformation is much more than a buzzword. The radical shift to digital mechanisms for almost every process is evident across all industries and verticals. This is often especially true in financial services, where the legacy environment is many times unable to keep up with the rapidly shifting demands of the consumer. The constant pressure to provide complete, omnichannel delivery of customer-facing solutions to meet both regulatory and customer demands is putting enormous pressure on...
SYS-CON Events announced today that IoT Global Network has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's @ThingsExpo, which will take place on June 6–8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. The IoT Global Network is a platform where you can connect with industry experts and network across the IoT community to build the successful IoT business of the future.