LinuxDevices.com Archive Index (1999-2012) | 2013-current at LinuxGizmos.com | About  

More signs point to Samsung Linux phone

Aug 28, 2009 — by Eric Brown — from the LinuxDevices Archive

A Samsung executive has confirmed the company is preparing its own version of Linux for a new smartphone, says an industry report. Meanwhile, another story has leaked a sketch of a Linux-based “Samsung i8320” phone said to be near completion, and this device may be Samsung's first LiMo-compliant model.

Rumors about a new Samsung Linux phone were bolstered when mobile phone journalist Eldar Murtazin briefly mentioned the development several weeks ago as part of a preview of Nokia's recently released N900 tablet in Mobile-Review. Murtazin wrote that Samsung was "now working on a vertical Linux-based solution of their own," referring to a new smartphone OS.


Then on Aug. 23, Fonearena published a sketch (pictured at right), found on an FCC approval page for a Samsung i8320 phone, that the site says "appears to be a full-touch screen phone devoid of any hardware keypad." On the FCC page, the phone is described as a "Linux based touch pad based multi functional smartphone."

This week, UnwiredView followed up by reporting on a subscription-only Telecoms Korea story claiming that Dong-hoon Chan, head of Samsung's mobile devices design group, had confirmed it was readying a Linux phone. No details were offered, but Telecoms Korea was said to have confirmed the Linux phone plans and quoted Chan as saying, "As have other leading mobile phone makers, Samsung has considered the necessity of developing its own operating system. And now is the right time to realize that advancement."

As the UnwiredView story points out, Samsung applies its own TouchWiz UI on top of Windows Mobile, Symbian, and Android mobile operating systems, and the new Linux phone will likely continue that tradition. HTC appears to be following a similar approach with its own branded Sense UI sitting atop Android on the upcoming HTC Hero, and some have predicted that the company will extend the UI to other OS platforms.


Samsung has released a number of Linux phones in the Chinese market over the years, including last year's SCH-i859 Olympics Phone (pictured at right). The phone runs a mobile Linux stack from Mizi Research, a company that was acquired by Wind River (now part of Intel), and is equipped with a Marvell PXA300 processor and a 2.8-inch touchscreen.

This summer, Samsung introduced its first true Linux-based smartphone in the Android-compliant Samsung i7550 (pictured below, at left) which is being offered by Telefonica's O2 network in Germany. The i7500 offers a 3.2-inch AMOLED touchscreen, 7.2Mbps HSDPA, WiFi, Bluetooth, GPS, and a five megapixel camera.


Is Samsung's LiMo phone ready to roll?

Samsung is also a founding member of LiMo, and has stated that it plans to field a LiMo phone. A number of LiMo-compliant phones are expected to ship this fall from vendors including LG. The Samsung i8320, then, is most likely the company's first phone adhering to the LiMo spec, and if so, it will almost certainly include support for the new R2 version of LiMo, which offers advanced smartphone features, including new BONDI-compliant device interfaces for web applications and widgets.

The LiMo Platform has a broader focus than does Android, and is intended to offer common middleware for feature phones as well as smartphones. The LiMo Foundation touts its spec as offering more flexibility to carriers and handset vendors that want to customize the Platform with their own branding and UI while still offering basic compatibility with other LiMo phones.

Samsung could easily claim, therefore, that a highly customized TouchWiz version of the LiMo Platform, was its "own operating system," as Chan states. Then again, Samsung may have decided to pursue an entirely independent course with Linux, as has Palm with its WebOS-based Palm Pre or Garmin and Asus with their recently launched Linux Nuvifone G60.

Whereas Samsung started out with an Android phone before pursuing its own course, the GarminAsus partnership appears to be going in the opposite direction. Earlier this summer, GarminAsus announced that the G60 would be its last native Linux model, with future Linux models instead running Android. Similarly, Motorola started out with LiMo-compliant models only to announce that Android would drive all of its future Linux-based phones, such as the rumored Sholes and Morrison models.

Availability

The UnwiredView story on Samsung's Linux phone plans may be found here. The Fonearena story about the Samsung i8320 should be here.


This article was originally published on LinuxDevices.com and has been donated to the open source community by QuinStreet Inc. Please visit LinuxToday.com for up-to-date news and articles about Linux and open source.



Comments are closed.