Mobile phone maker Motorola is turning to Linux to power a new smart phone.
By Mark Ward
BBC News Online correspondent in Hanover
Motorola unveiled the A760 at CeBIT and claims the handset is the first in
the world to blend the open source operating system with Java software.
As well as Linux, the A760 has onboard a camera, diary, e-mail program, MP3
player, speakerphone and colour touchscreen.
The A760 is due for release in Asia later in 2003.
The announcement of the Linux-powered mobile comes as something of a surprise
because Motorola is a member of the Symbian consortium that also produces
software to power smart phones.
A Motorola spokesman said its commitment to Symbian and its own phone
software remained undimmed.
He said that Linux was another way for Motorola to be "master of its own
destiny" in smart phone development and that it wanted to tap into the huge
pool of expertise latent in the Linux developer community.
The spokesman said that the fact that Symbian was a consortium often acted
as a brake on the pace of development.
"There is no one operating system that is perfect, you have to be involved
with all of them," he said.
Like other smart phones the A760 comes with software that can work with
popular e-mail, diary and contacts programs. An instant messaging program is
included as standard.
The different programs on the gadget can be accessed via the built-in
joystick or by using a stylus on the touchscreen.
It also has a camera onboard that can take still pictures, can show short
video clips, access the net, play music with its MP3 player, can act as a
speakerphone and connect to other devices via Bluetooth, infra-red or USB.
As well as all this the phone can do all the things expected of current
handsets such as play games as well as accept and send multimedia messages.
The A760 also uses Java and can take advantage of the many add-on programs,
such as games, that many mobile operators are starting to offer to
The phone is due to go on sale in Asia in 2003 and could reach Europe soon
after. The Motorola spokesman said that Asia was the best place for the
initial launch because the market for smart phones was much more developed