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Last Updated:  Sunday, 16 March, 2003, 10:38 GMT
Linux powers smart phone
By Mark Ward
BBC News Online correspondent in Hanover

Mobile phone maker Motorola is turning to Linux to power a new smart phone.

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.

Linux expertise

Phones on display at CeBIT
There is no one operating system that is perfect, you have to be involved with all of them
Motorola spokesman
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.

Many add-ons

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 customers.

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 there.




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