Motorola dials Linux, Java

By   |  February 17, 2003

Motorola says it will start selling its first cell phone based on Linux later this year and says most of its major models will follow suit in the coming years.

Motorola’s Linux-powered A760 has a colour screen and includes a digital camera, an MP3 player and video player. Perhaps most importantly, however, the phone also has the ability to run Java programs. CNet reports that Scott Durschlag, Motorola’s corporate vice president for strategy and business development, says the company also plans to move Linux to the lower end phones in its range.

Motorola won’t be developing its own version of Linux. Instead, it will rely on a software partnership with MontaVista Software, which said last month that it expected a version of its Linux for cell phones. The company, unlike competitors such as Red Hat, concentrates on “embedded” devices such as DVD players or network routers.

The move by Motorola is the latest salvo in a growing war for dominance in the relatively new market for smart phones. Market heavyweight Nokia is sticking to the Symbian OS while Microsoft is betting on its own Pocket PC Phone Edition. NEC is one of the few other vendors also betting on Linux.

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