Linux is now a mobile player

Linux is now a mobile player

Summary: With Nokia now committed to Linux, other mobile players are nearly certain to follow


The headline was Linux Kernel May Use Our Patents but the real story was bigger.

Nokia, the biggest maker of mobile phones, was finally rolling out Linux product. (For a bigger picture than the one at right see the News.Com story.)

Is the Nokia 770 Internet Tablet any good? I don't know. Give me one for a few weeks and I'll let you know.

It may be that Nokia is going down the wrong road here. Like its competitors the company is trying to build multi-purpose devices. With apologies to Stephen Hawking, it's seeking a Grand Unified Mobile Device theory.

But maybe Mark Loewenstein is right. As he writes this week in his Mobile Ecosystem, maybe people prefer a bunch of simple devices -- a phone that's just a phone, an iPod that's just an iPod, a mobile data device that just does data. After all, lose a simple device and it's simple to get a replacement. Lose a complex device and getting a new one is complex.

Nokia has built its simple devices with the Symbian OS, which has had trouble scaling up to the complexity vendors are now demanding. But you can also make a very simple device with Linux -- you don't have to use all its capabilities -- and the Nokia 770 makes Linux, for the first time, a real mobile player.

With Nokia now committed to Linux, other mobile players are nearly certain to follow. This is going to get fun.

Topic: Nokia

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  • I'm buying one as soon as they appear..

    It sounds like a good tool to lounge on the couch and watch my MythTV recordings.. the modified monitor-arm with a laptop I use now makes my neck stiff..
    • Did anyone ever tell you

      You spend way too much money, or get paid way too well for your job.
      • No, but...

        I do have way too much fun doing my job. <g>
        • Have any openings?

          If so, where do I send my resume?
  • Linux has been a mobile player

    First, Motorola has been shipping Linux enabled cellphone for about a year. I consider Nokia late to the Linux party but good to see they recognized Symbian as a hopeless investment.

    These embedded/mobile devices (such as this nokia product) is exactly how microsoft will be defeated. Basically, you surround the PC with many portable devices based on Linux. The PC will merely become one of many consumer products in the bigger Digital Home/Office ecosystem.
    • Do people still buy Nokia stuff

      havent sean a good product from them lately...
      John Zern
      • What are you talking about

        I run Nokia for my firewall, tightest thing since that photo of Rosanne Barr in a Thong.

        Not to mention their phones still are the toughest and put up with my abuse more often than not.
  • Can Nokia avoid

    the SHARP fiasco? SHARP had a Linux handheld, and they discontinued it. It was a bad form factor - to big to fit in a pocket - they said. As I look at this Nokia thingie, I hear this voice in the back of my head . . .
    Roger Ramjet
    • Umm... No

      They discontinued it in the US. They still sell the Japanese Sharp Zaurus.

      Oh and just because you don't believe me.

    • I Never Knew Zuaus was Linux

      In any case I'm not convinced any more the rush to an all-in-one device will yield fruit at all.
      • Do you actually read about what you write?

        The Nokia isn't really an All-in-one device. It is somewhat that, but still not near the blackberry or the smartphones.

        For all your Zaurus info,
        Sharp has had them as a PDA OS for well over two years now. I was seriously considering them to my Palm T2, poor choice on my end.
    • Did you read "part II" with opening up their patents to Linux kernel?

      It might have gotten less press than a ZDNet article called "Gartner says MS bakes better cakes"