Linux ready for smart phones

Looking to get a piece of the growing market for mobile services in China, a Chinese Linux developer has released an open-source alternative to smart-phone software from Microsoft and Symbian.

China MobileSoft Ltd. (CMS) built its mLinux for Smart Phones software around its mLinux kernel, which is derived from a Linux kernel developed by Red Hat Inc., said Liu Bing, business manager at CMS at the CeBIT Asia show on Monday. The mLinux kernel requires 200K bytes of memory and can be used in 3G (third-generation) mobile handsets, he said.

The mLinux for Smart Phones package ships with a Web browser that supports WML (Wireless Markup Language) 1.3, HTML (Hypertext Markup Language) 4.0, and cHTML (Compact HTML), a subset of HTML developed for NTT DoCoMo Inc.'s I-mode mobile Internet service.

It also includes a Java virtual machine, KJava, which allows users to download and run games and applications written using Java, Liu said. Personal information management and e-mail applications are also available.

The company demonstrated the mLinux for Smart Phones software on a development system here at the exhibition. Smart phones based on the software are expected to be released in China in the coming months, Liu said.

In addition to smart phone software, CMS, in Nanjing, China, offers versions of mLinux that are designed for use in PDAs (personal digital assistants) and Internet appliances. The operating system will run on a variety of processors, including Texas Instrument Inc.'s Omap and Intel Corp.'s Xscale chips, the company said.

CeBIT Asia runs through Thursday, Sept. 5.

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