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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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  • Re:GPS (Score:3, Interesting)

    by crazyjeremy ( 857410 ) * on Tuesday August 15, 2006 @11:24AM (#15910412) Homepage Journal
    It would not be hard to make a program for a device like this that talked to a GPS receiver. I bet there are several compatible programs already out there that could be ported over.
  • by Uncle_Al ( 115529 ) on Tuesday August 15, 2006 @11:27AM (#15910427)
    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
    Sadly the article is mistaken. There is no wifi [] in the greenphone.
  • by Greyfox ( 87712 ) on Tuesday August 15, 2006 @12:02PM (#15910688) Homepage Journal
    I just shelled out around $600 for a Nokia E70. [] It's got wifi and sip software on, bluetooth and the usual PDA functionality. In addition, T-Mobile has an unlimited GPRS data service for another $30 a month on top of your current bill (That also gets you access to T-Mobile hotspots.) The phone is unlocked so I can take it from cell provider to cell provider. I haven't tried installing Asterisk on my OpenWRT wifi router yet, since I need more space than the router has for voicemail, but if all I needed was VOIP call routing, the router would be a neat option.

    When I'm at home, the phone registers as an extension on my Asterisk server with its sip software. When someone calls me, the asterisk server rings the phone plugged into my computer and the Nokia simultaneously. If I don't pick up after a few rings, it initates a cellular call and tries to patch the call through to my cell number. Finally it drops into voice mail (I Had T-Mobile turn my voicemail box off so asterisk could handle the voice mail.)

    The phone does have a couple of quirks. It seems that I have to turn it off and back on when I get home for it to register on my wifi network correctly. I also have to toggle it to make an internet call -- it doesn't seem to have an option to default to Internet calls and only use the cell network if sip software isn't connected. Those are just software problems which Nokia will hopefully overcome.

    So if you want a smartphone that's actually smart and you want it now, you might want to start checking out the European market. They're way ahead of what we have here in the USA and the phone seems to work quite happily on the US network. I just slapped my SIM card in and was ready to go.

  • by PFI_Optix ( 936301 ) on Tuesday August 15, 2006 @12:22PM (#15910852) Journal
    I stuck my SIM card in a Verizon phone once. It didn't work. GSM phones have to be unlocked before they'll work on any service but the provider that originally sold it.
  • Re:Skype over wifi (Score:2, Interesting)

    by alienmole ( 15522 ) on Tuesday August 15, 2006 @01:54PM (#15911569)
    Good point. I have a similar situation, but after messing around with Skype and such, I found that using a dial-around service is so cheap (6c/minute to most of Europe), and much easier, so I use that. It does require a landline though.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 15, 2006 @01:55PM (#15911580)
    Whoa, whoa, whoa. Let me first disclose that I work for Motorola (mods, reverse lookup my IP if you want), and that it's definitely not the phone companies that are to blame for this.

    Heck, our CEO *wishes* that we could sell phones directly to the consumers in the U.S. Market, but in the end, the only reasonable way to buy a phone in the U.S. is to go through a cellular provider such as T-Mobile or Cingular. Take Verizon and their Vcast, they charge you some ridiculous amount of money to download ringtones or music you already own.

    Then they force us to raise our prices artificially in the U.S. market, so even employees don't get great discounts on the phones as we should (otherwise we'd just turn around and ebay it right?).

    Furthermore, all modern Motorola phones have already been using Mini-USB chargers for a while (look at your RAZR or your PEBL if you got one), and we're fast cutting down on different battery types (its just as bad internally to have different types you know ;)).

    In terms of a Linux phone, we have already released phones like the Ming (in China) that run it, the problem of course is that it's closed source. There will be a slightly tweaked Linux platform in release for phones later this year or next year, but I'm not sure if there will be source for that. I do know that since it will be a Linux phone, hacking it should be much easier than Symbian OS or the proprietary OS Motorola is using on their older RAZRs.

    But anyways, if it was up to us, we'd love to release phones that let the users tweak everything on the phone and do whatever they want with the phone. You know you have to pay extra just to get some software like iTunes flashed on your phone? Completely arbitrary requirements by the cellular providers.

    So if you want the U.S. cell phone market to change, stop being a slave to the cellular provider. Buy your phones directly, use prepaid SIM cards, don't sign up for the yearly plan and complain to your provider that we're still using obsolete GSM networks.
  • by schlick ( 73861 ) on Tuesday August 15, 2006 @02:22PM (#15911819)
    not really, I have a T-mobile pre-paid account, and I can put my SIM in any unlocked GSM phone and it works, and there is no contract. I'm currently using it in a phone I bought when I was living uin the Czech Republic (where pre-paid is much more common and you can buy more minutes at most ATMs).

    Of course the pre-paid minutes are a little more expensive, but I prefer the freedom and lack of a monthkly bill. I pay $100.00 for 1000 minutes every 4 months or so. which is cheaper than any contract I could get. And it wasn't a hassle to get either. I went to a kiosk in the mall with my phone, told them what I wanted, pulled out my Czech SIM and put in the new one and it worked. My service may be more expensive per minute, but as you know freedom isn't free.
  • by NKeltner ( 874281 ) on Tuesday August 15, 2006 @02:30PM (#15911891)
    From Reuters []:

    Trolltech offers fully reprogrammable mobile phone

    By Eric Auchard

    SAN FRANCISCO, Aug 14 (Reuters) - Norway's Trolltech AS (TROLL.OL: Quote, Profile, Research) has demonstrated the first fully reprogrammable mobile handset to help phone designers innovate as fast as their counterparts in the personal computer industry have done.

    A major divide that separates PCs from mobile telephones is that while designers can freely reprogram a computer's software, most of a phone's functions are fixed at the factory.

    "(Independent) developers are having a hard time figuring out how to participate in the mobile phone market," Benoit Schillings, Trolltech's chief technology officer, said in an interview after a news conference to unveil the phone on Monday.

    Trolltech, the world's top supplier of Linux software for mobile phones, said it will offer a mobile cameraphone running on the international GSM/GPRS standard it calls Greenphone.

    Trolltech's phone is priced at around $690 and comes with all the software and source code necessary to develop a complete mobile phone model, including core Linux operating system controls, a phone dialler, address book and camera application.

    The phone is not aimed at consumers, but would allow a wide audience of designers to create new features for future mobile phones.

    While the Greenphone, which is due out in September, opens up the field of mobile phone development to small design firms and individuals, it gives large organizations a fully functioning test environment with which to develop new models.

    "This industry is in a deadlock over how to make new services evolve on mobile handsets," Schillings said.


    Trolltech aims to encourage everything from games to business-level applications to teen instant message devices to be developed using the open design of the Greenphone kit.

    A corporation could find it economical to develop a custom phone for say, 1,000 employees, then take the design to a contract manufacturer who would build the phone using standard hardware components according to the design, Schillings said.

    Trolltech, which held its initial public offering early last month on the Oslo Stock Exchange, supplies Linux mobile phone software controls to companies such as Motorola Inc. (MOT.N: Quote, Profile, Research), the biggest seller of Linux-based phones to date.

    The company also supplies a variety of Chinese and Taiwanese electronics manufacturers including Wiston Group, Compal Electronics (2324.TW: Quote, Profile, Research), ZTE (0763.HK: Quote, Profile, Research), China Techfaith (CNTF.O: Quote, Profile, Research) and Yuhua Teltech, which will build the Greenphone.

    Linux is an open-source software system that has been gaining ground among electronics makers seeking common ground among the patchwork of hundreds of different phone designs that have fragmented the industry.

    Phone makers have designed 40 models with Trolltech software, resulting in 4 million phones sold globally to date.
  • Re:Skype (Score:3, Interesting)

    by drinkypoo ( 153816 ) <> on Tuesday August 15, 2006 @04:25PM (#15913286) Homepage Journal
    An EDGE connection at about 33% of its peak throughput would be 128kbps, and enough to do SIP. If it supports EDGE GPRS then you can definitely do SIP. Otherwise, not so much.
  • Qt is *not* KDE (Score:2, Interesting)

    by entrigant ( 233266 ) on Tuesday August 15, 2006 @07:38PM (#15915242)
    Gosh, this has gotta be the perfect phone for KDE lovers!

    OK. Now I understand that people generally consider apps written in GTK to be gnome apps, but pure Qt apps stand out like a sore thumb on a KDE desktop. Qt is merely the foundation that the multitude of KDE technologies is built on. In fact, about the only people that use KDE that care much about Qt are the developers. Even most of the default Qt widgets are extended in KDE. This phone does not use KDE. It does not use kparts, kio slaves, knotify, or any of the other technologies provided by KDE from the perspective of the end user or the developer.

    To summarize, Qt != KDE. This is not a KDE lovers phone.

1 Angstrom: measure of computer anxiety = 1000 nail-bytes