A level playing field tilts east

Summary:One impact of open source is it reduces the advantage of copyright held by western companies. Here is Exhibit A.

One impact of open source is it reduces the advantage of copyright held by western companies.

Here is Exhibit A. China is using Linux to mass-produce some very high-end mobile phones, due for launch next year.

As you can see from the picture (right, from LinuxDevices) this is a brick-type phone that looks like a cross between a Nokia and a Sony-Ericsson. But it's designed to run on a China-proprietary 3G network, it's got a camera that can do video, and there's a media player in there, too.

There's still some Western know-how in it. It runs on a TI chip, and the embedded Linux is Otopia, from Trolltech, which is based in Oslo. It will also run the Opera Web browser.

But here's the point. This is a Chinese design that's as good or better than anything an American company can come up with.

Linux offers a clean slate on which manufacturing efficiencies can be built without heavy payments for older software copyright. At that point victory goes to the most efficient engineering, and while I may be wrong it looks from here that our lead in that area is now gone.

But what is your view?

Topics: Mobility

About

Dana Blankenhorn has been a business journalist since 1978, and has covered technology since 1982. He launched the Interactive Age Daily, the first daily coverage of the Internet to launch with a magazine, in September 1994.

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