In a mobile phone market "plagued" by an abundance of legacy operating systems, PalmSource hopes that its Access Linux Platform (ALP) will become a leading alternative to Symbian and Microsoft's Windows Mobile.
"What Linux has done on the PC and server can also happen on the phone and handheld," Didier Diaz, vice president of marketing at PalmSource, said during a presentation at LinuxWorld in Boston.
"We want to speed up the creation of a complete Linux-based platform for the mobile phone."
PalmSource is the developer of the Palm OS mobile operating system. The company was acquired last November by Access of Japan, and has since shifted its focus entirely to the creation of a Linux operating system for mobile phones.
Several other mobile phone makers have created Linux phones, including Samsung and Motorola, but unlike the competition, ALP will feature APIs that allow developers to create applications for the device.
The software is based on the 2.6.12 Linux kernel to which Access engineers have made a series of adjustments to improve battery life, support small screen sizes and allow it to run off Flash memory instead of a hard drive.
Access also tweaked the security settings to prevent it from being infected by viruses that make prank phone calls, and to comply with regulations.
Security certificates will regulate third-party applications and can block access to the phones' networking and calling features.
The adjustments effectively mean that PalmSource is creating and maintaining a separate Linux distribution, but the company stressed that it does not need a separate distribution.
On top of the Linux operating system, PalmSource has developed a series of applications such as an address book and software that allows the device to handle calls.
These applications are not governed by an open source licence and the company could not say whether it plans to release the source code.
The Access Linux Platform is scheduled to be available to phone manufacturers by the end of this year. The first devices are expected to hit the market by early 2007.
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