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Motorola calls on Linux for smart phone

Will launch Linux mobile phone later this year

Amsterdam (IDG News Service) — Motorola will launch a mobile phone that runs Linux later this year, it said Thursday, introducing yet another software platform for mobile phones.

Motorola's A760 phone will run the open-source Linux operating system and support Java. The handset will feature a color touchscreen and digital camera and will offer full PDA (personal digital assistant) functionality, Motorola of Schaumburg, Ill., said in a statement.

In addition to the applications on the phone when it ships, developers will be able to create new software to run on the phone. The device will support Bluetooth radio technology, USB, infrared, and over-the-air connections for synchronization with a PC, Motorola said.

The A760 will first be launched in the Asia Pacific region later this year, the company said.

Motorola's announcement could be a blow to Symbian, the consortium founded in 1998 by Motorola, Nokia, Telefonaktiebolaget LM Ericsson, and Psion to create a software platform for smart mobile telephones.

Symbian, however, does not see Motorola's announcement as a hostile move.

"It is no change in our competitive landscape," Peter Bancroft, a Symbian spokesman said Thursday. "Symbian's licenses are not exclusive and all our licensees have other products in development."

Besides Symbian's software, the Linux platform also competes with mobile phone software from PalmSource and Microsoft.

Representatives for Motorola could not be reached for comment. Information on pricing or what mobile networks the A760 will support was not available.

More Stories By Joris Evers

Joris Evers is an Amsterdam correspondent for the IDG News Service, a Linux.SYS-CON.com affiliate.

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