Openwave Systems today gave Linux-based mobile phones a shot in the arm with with the release of a Linux version of Openwave Phone Suite v7, its modular suite of mobile phone applications. Openwave positions itself as the 'third force' in mobile phone software, and the Linux implementation is intended to build on this.
Openwave's approach is to provide a suite that allows the phone networks and/or smaller or lower tier handset manufacturers to tailor a system for their own customers, with their own branding on it. The likes of Nokia and Microsoft are particular about what you can do with the branding and look and feel, but the other challengers are less fussy, if it makes the difference between getting the deal or not. Openwave currently claims to be present in over 50 per cent of the data phones currently shipping. No, the customers haven't heard of Openwave, but that's the point - it's non-threatening.
According to the Openwave release, v7 was described as revolutionising the mobile data experience for end users, providing "a viable alternative to both Symbian and Microsoft for high-function mobile devices." Or so says Chris Shipley, executive producer of DEMOmobile "and industry icon." The Register having never heard of either Shipley or her iconic status no doubt simply confirms it, but apparently she used to write for PC Week and is now an IDG exec. She must have done icons somewhere in between.
Anyway, back at Phone Suite 7 for Linux, the software is interoperable with Montavista Linux Consumer Electronics Edition (CEE), which is being used by Motorola and NEC. Phone Suite 7 consists of upgrades to the Openwave Browser and Mobile Messaging Client, and adds new applications in the shape of Openwave File and Application Manager, and RealOne Mobile Player. Both Motorola and NEC are plausible candidates for supplying handsets for branding by the networks. Openwave claims seven out of the top ten phone manufacturers plan to use v7 in the next 12 months, and the Linux version is likely both to help adoption of existing Linux handsets, and encourage development of new ones. ®'