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Trolltech Woos Developers with 'Open' Linux Phone 213

An anonymous reader writes "Trolltech, best known for its Qt graphics framework and toolkit that form the basis of KDE, will ship the Greenphone, an open Linux-based phone in September. The working GSM/GPRS mobile phone features a user-modifiable Linux OS, and is meant to jumpstart a third-party native application ecosystem for Linux-based mobile phones. Users will be able to re-flash the phone with modified Linux-based firmware, via a mini-USB port. The device is based on an unspecified Linux kernel along with Trolltech's Qtopia Phone Edition (QPE) application framework and mobile phone stack. Gosh, this has gotta be the perfect phone for KDE lovers!"
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Trolltech Woos Developers with 'Open' Linux Phone

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  • by PFI_Optix ( 936301 ) on Tuesday August 15, 2006 @11:08AM (#15910295) Journal
    Sounds like a nifty gadget. I want one, really. I'll take a dozen if they'll work with my provider. I break phones on a regular basis :(

    Problem is, I just don't see these taking off. The big boys (Cingular/Verizon/Sprint) aren't going to want something like this on their lineup. What they'll see when they look at it is a massive increase in support calls as people flash their phones with something they downloaded of the interweb only to find out it's essentially spyware for a phone. The ability to flash a cell phone is downright frightening when I think about the sheer number of users I support who aren't capable of selecting the correct printer 30% of the time.

    If these phones make it to market, expect to see the package offerings somehow disable their flash ability, or at least make it difficult to flash the phone and risk rendering it useless. That would be entirely too much of a headache for the providers.
  • Re:No details (Score:5, Insightful)

    by JabberWokky ( 19442 ) <> on Tuesday August 15, 2006 @11:08AM (#15910299) Homepage Journal
    It doesn't matter -- it's a development device intended for developers, not a product for the general public. You'll likely not be able to get hold of one... unless you have a Qtopia License and/or are an active developer.


  • by crazyjeremy ( 857410 ) * on Tuesday August 15, 2006 @11:09AM (#15910302) Homepage Journal
    Wait, wait... How will the manufacturer get ridiculous fees for one of a kind chargers if it just uses a USB connection? If it's just a linux build, won't it make it easier for games & applications to be made? We would theoretically only have to buy games once, even if we reflash the rom. Quarter VGA touch screen? Now won't that make things easier?
    It is based on a dual-core Marvell (formerly Intel) XScale processor clocked at 312MHz. It has 64MB of RAM, and 128MB of flash, expandable through a mini-SD card slot. ... The device also includes WiFi, and comes with SIP middleware supporting VoIP calls.
    Now hold on a second. This means, if it works right you could use your cell phone to make voip calls via your home wifi connection (or your neighbor's). I don't get it... This just makes sense. Why would the phone companies cooperate? Oh wait, they don't have to. We have the money they want.
  • by Denial93 ( 773403 ) on Tuesday August 15, 2006 @11:10AM (#15910315)
    Keep adding to this.

    Automatic encryption of calls.
    Powerful scripting: at [date], call [number], playback [message1], record [message2]...
    Lots of games.
    It does run Linux!
  • by neonprimetime ( 528653 ) on Tuesday August 15, 2006 @11:11AM (#15910320)
    Problem is, I just don't see these taking off. The big boys (Cingular/Verizon/Sprint) aren't going to want something like this

    Of course it's destined for failure. Linux can't compare to the big boys! It's tooo complicated! Who's side are you on anyways? :-P
  • Problem is, I just don't see these taking off. [...] If these phones make it to market

    If they make it to market, then a mistake was made... these are for developers, not the market. These are a reference model for QPE (Qtopia Phone Edition).


  • by JabberWokky ( 19442 ) <> on Tuesday August 15, 2006 @11:14AM (#15910345) Homepage Journal
    It doesn't have KDE... it has Qtopia, or QPE (Qtopia Phone Edition) to be specific. Very different from KDE.


  • by rkcallaghan ( 858110 ) on Tuesday August 15, 2006 @11:14AM (#15910349)
    From TFA: The Greenphone appears to be a working GSM/GPRS mobile phone

    However, the important (and missing) bit of information here is, which carriers will let you use it? Around here (Arizona, USA) its all but impossible to get a carrier to take a phone you didn't purchase from them, even when it is locked up and in essence still 'owned' by them.

    Who's going to let me use a phone they not only aren't making a profit from, but don't control and can't use as a lock-in tool to increase the hassle factor of changing providers? No one, and this device, for as cool as it is, will be useless as a result.

    By all means though, if you can find evidence anywhere that any US carrier will accept this phone without 6 months of battle against staff trained to say it is "not compatable with our network"; I'd really love to be wrong.

  • Re:Skype (Score:1, Insightful)

    by CDMA_Demo ( 841347 ) on Tuesday August 15, 2006 @11:16AM (#15910357) Homepage
    It is much harder than you think. Running skype over wireless networks requires TCP/IP or its equivalent over CDMA/TDMA/ or GSM. Ever tried surfing the web on your cellphone? You need a faster processor, a fast network, and a router that knows what its doing.
  • by IEEEmember ( 610961 ) on Tuesday August 15, 2006 @11:28AM (#15910435) Journal
    The phone will not be available standalone, but rather as part of a development kit. The kit will be offered under separate licensing terms to open source developers, educational institutions, "major" software vendors, and to "phone designers and manufacturers," Trolltech says.
    Comment: No carrier is going to stock this phone.
    Answer: This phone isn't intended for commercial use. It sales will be limited. It is intended to allow developers to create content so that when real phone manufacturers consider QPE there is a suite of software to make it competitive.

    Comment: Carriers won't allow this phone on their network.
    Answer: It is a GSM phone. If it is certified, it will work on GSM networks.

    Comment: Users will screw up their phone reflashing it.
    Answer: It isn't intended for the average Joe cell phone user, it is intended for developers.

    Comment: "Jack of all trades" ...
    Answer: For a development platform having all the functionality you may need to test against is critical. Actual real world usefulness, not so much. This phone could be considered as a piece of test equipment, the fact that it looks like a phone is probably just to spur innovation.
  • Re:Carriers (Score:2, Insightful)

    by TheRunningBoard ( 727291 ) on Tuesday August 15, 2006 @11:48AM (#15910597)
    My only beef with the linux based phones is the lack of useful apps (yeah, like spell-check). I own the Motorola e680i which is a good phone to listen to radio or mp3s but as far as business apps go, the choices are non existent
    That is the reason they are releasing this phone and development environment.
  • by jtwronski ( 465067 ) on Tuesday August 15, 2006 @12:10PM (#15910751)
    Ok, I want one. I don't care if its meant for the "masses" or not.

    Trolltech is making a smart move here. Once these phones are sold out, and nerds everywhere are hacking on it, they'll have a ton of good software to choose from when they start pushing their stack onto the major carriers.

    Here's what I want:

    1. Apt. I want to fire up a telephone version of synaptic (on my phone and/or my computer) and have debian style repositories to pick and choose from for software.

    2. Real calendar/todo/whatever syncing with Evolution/Kontact. My current Sony/Ericsson Z520a can do this pretty well over bluetooth with multisync, but its not perfect, and the native PIM software on the phone blows goats.

    3. Nethack. Had to say it :)

    4. SSH - no nerd is complete with a ssh terminal in front of them at any time. Sadly, that includes me.

    5. A stable API for companies like Opera, Yahoo, AOL, etc. to port their software to.

    6. Push style email would be nice, but then Trolltech would get sued, a la RIM.
  • by Locutus ( 9039 ) on Tuesday August 15, 2006 @12:12PM (#15910776)
    I don't think the intention is to have Average Joe/Joan flashing their phone with new kernels or apps. From what I see of what this is, it's a way for Trolltech to try and get some more apps and maybe some fixes to the phone stack they provide FROM DEVELOPERS. And if someone comes up with a multiplayer volleyball game which sucks up airtime/minutes/data then the carriers will be all over this as their profits go up.

    I also think that this is more like a tech demo / dev kit than something to expect to see at Walmart. But it sure would be nice if the phone is of good quality such that the press gets ahold of this and praises it. I don't expect ZiffDavis/Cnet/etc to do anything but pan it but there are others who'll review it for what it is or can be.

    And for goodness sake, I hope the PIM apps are opensource instead of closed like the Sharp Zaurus was. It'll do no good to have 4 different addressbooks for the thing and 8 different calendars. IMO.


I was playing poker the other night... with Tarot cards. I got a full house and 4 people died. -- Steven Wright