ARM, allies invest in Linux for smartphones, tablets

By   |  June 3, 2010

Chipmaker ARM and a group of allies have joined forces to back a non-profit Linux company to develop tools for cellphones, tablet PC and similar small devices.

The alliance with Freescale, IBM, Samsung, ST-Ericsson and Texas Instruments was announced yesterday at Computex 2010 and significantly ups the stakes in the battle for future mobile dominance.

The company being backed is UK-based Linaro, which will develop tools, packages and a kernel for use in a range of mobile devices. According to Linaro the “base of software and tools will be applicable to a wide range of markets, helping reduce time-to-market for products such as smart phones, tablets, digital televisions, automotive entertainment and enterprise equipment”.

The company says that the first release of its tools will be in November this year and will be optimised for ARM’s Cortex-A family of processors.

The alliance is good news for ARM which is going head-to-head with processor giant Intel in the mobile market. With allies and a set of Linux tools available to speed up product rollout, the company is hoping to become the platform of choice for mobile devices.

The alliance is also good news for other Linux players in the mobile space. As part of the agreement Linaro will “invest resources in open source projects that can then be used by Linux-based distributions such as Android, LiMo, MeeGo, Ubuntu and webOS.”

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