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February 15, 2008

MontaVista's Mobilinux Figures in Mobile WiMAX Phones

By Richard Grigonis, Executive Editor, IP Communications Group


Linux is an operating system that’s considered sufficiently “lean” to work well with mobile telephony devices. Industry pundits have until now idly mused over what form a Linux-based mobile phone would be like that could run in the upcoming WiMAX (Worldwide Interoperability for Microwave Access) network.

As it happens, MontaVista Software, Inc., (, a leader in embedded Linux technology, recently announced participation in bringing to market the world’s first Linux-based WiMAX multimedia reference design for a mobile phone, which includes the MontaVista Mobilinux operating system.

The WiMAX (
News - Alert) phone was designed and built in just nine months by EB (Elektrobit Corporation,, a company with more than 20 years of experience in automotive and wireless industry solutions. Also participating in the venture is NextWave Wireless Inc. (, a global provider of mobile multimedia and wireless broadband technologies. The project combined 4G wireless silicon from NextWave with EB engineering expertise to enable carrier-grade VoIP and high-speed multimedia services on a consumer device. The reference design employs NextWave Wireless’ NW1100 WiMAX baseband mobile subscriber SoC (System on a Chip) with its companion NW1200 multi-band RFIC (Radio Frequency Integrated Circuit).

This WiMAX Mobilinux-based handset reference design is said to be the first Linux phone enabling mobile WiMAX, a more sophisticated form of the original fixed-location WiMAX specification, which provides wireless voice and data at broadband speeds.

As one of the most advanced mobile operating systems available, MontaVista Mobilinux includes an optimized version of the Linux operating system used in 90 percent of Linux-based mobile devices, and a time-saving development environment for mobile design engineers. Mobilinux developers can call upon the more than 100 MontaVista partners that provide mobile development products and services.

EB and NextWave developed the reference design from design concept to hardware availability in only nine months.

The MontaVista Mobilinux and the NextWave-EB reference design for mobile WiMAX are available now.

Indeed, MontaVista Mobilinux is on quite a roll these days. ACCESS Co., Ltd., ( a major provider of advanced software technologies to the mobile and beyond-PC markets is working with MontaVista Software to accelerate development of smart mobile devices, and have recently released a pre-integrated software stack combining the ACCESS Linux Platform with the MontaVista Mobilinux operating system.

The ACCESS Linux Platform has been used in the creation of world-class mobile phones and wireless devices. It provides an integrated, flexible, and complete commercial-grade Linux platform designed for the global mobile phone and converged device markets. Since the new software stack pre-integrates the ACCESS Linux Platform framework and applications with MontaVista’s commercialized Linux OS, it drastically slashes the weeks or months of engineering time normally needed for do-it-yourself integration, and it also reduces associated costs and risks.

Whereas the ACCESS Linux Platform supports multiple Linux operating system kernels, this implementation with Mobilinux software will further help device manufacturers and application developers bring mobile products to consumers even more quickly. It will also make it easier to port ACCESS Linux Platform on top of the many silicon platforms supported by MontaVista Mobilinux.

Richard Grigonis is an internationally-known technology editor and writer. Prior to joining TMC (News - Alert) as Executive Editor of its IP Communications Group, he was the Editor-in-Chief of VON Magazine (News - Alert) from its founding in 2003 to August 2006. He also served as the Chief Technical Editor of CMP Media’s Computer Telephony magazine, later called Communications Convergence (News - Alert) (NewsAlert), from its first year of operation in 1994 until 2003. In addition, he has written five books on computers and telecom (including the Computer Telephony Encyclopedia and Dictionary of IP Communications). To see more of his articles, please visit his columnist page.

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