Trolltech, the mobile Linux company that is to be bought by Nokia, has announced enhancements to its Qtopia platform.
Nokia announced at the end of January that, pending regulatory approval, it was to acquire Trolltech. The Norwegian company makes a cross-platform application-development framework called Qt, which is used in the KDE desktop Linux environment and in applications like Google Earth and Skype. Qtopia is a mobile version of Qt, and has already been used in many mobile Linux-based handsets in the Asian market.
On Monday, at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Trolltech announced that version 4.3 of Qtopia would be able to run on touchscreen-enabled devices and support data synchronisation with Microsoft Outlook. Qtopia's start-up time is also now "50 percent" faster and its audio and graphical capabilities have been improved, Trolltech claimed.
Nokia's acquisition of Trolltech is seen as a way to help it become an application provider whose products are able to run not only on mobile devices made by a wide range of manufacturers, but on all desktop operating systems as well.
The buyout will also give Nokia a point of entry into the LiMo Foundation, of which Trolltech is a member. LiMo is a consortium of operators, manufacturers and software developers that aims to create a shared mobile Linux platform, although it notably uses GTK+, rather than Qt, as its development toolkit.
Trolltech also announced on Monday that it had integrated Qt with WebKit, the web browser technology used in Apple's iPhone, as well as millions of Nokia smartphones. Trolltech suggested that this development would make it possible to port "Web 2.0" applications like Google Earth (which uses Qt) and iTunes onto Qtopia-based handsets.
Lars Knoll, Trolltech's vice president of engineering and a KDE veteran, said on Monday that the Qt-WebKit integrations would help developers "combine live web content with mobile and desktop applications".
"This erodes the boundaries between the desktop, mobile phones and the web," said Knoll. "It also enables graphics and web designers to join developers in making user interfaces more advanced than ever — no matter which device or desktop application you are using."
The integration will become available as a separate module in Qt 4.4, scheduled for release in the middle of the second quarter of this year.