Seven major mobile communications companies have joined forces to develop a Linux-based open source platform for next-generation mobile applications.
The collaboration was announced this week at the fourth annual ARM Developers' Conference in Santa Clara, California.
The companies hope to build on the ARM architecture with the help of six other partners to create a standards-based Linux platform.
The group intends to address the rise in consumer demand for access to the internet, and advanced applications on larger display mobile devices.
"Today's consumers are very knowledgeable about technology, and want to be connected to the internet and access multimedia content and apps anywhere and at anytime," said Mike Inglis, executive vice president of sales and marketing at ARM.
"But they do not want to be restricted by short battery life and inadequate features that will limit their experiences.
"By stepping up the collaboration among key stakeholders in the mobile market, we will be able to jointly deliver the devices and applications with the cutting-edge innovation consumers have come to expect."
The partnership will focus on an open source platform based on Linux, Gnome Mobile and Mozilla's Firefox designed to run on ARM partners' advanced systems-on-chip to enhance mobile graphics, video, multimedia and internet capabilities.
"We are pleased that ARM is building on our open technology to deliver the complete web experience on new types of devices," said Mike Shaver, chief evangelist at Mozilla.
"Making an open source, standards-based platform for mobile devices will spur innovation and enhance access to the internet for millions of people."
All the partners agree that time-to-market is critical, and that competition is fierce as consumer expectations for an always-on internet on mobile devices increase.
"The market for ultra-mobile devices is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of more than 20 per cent through the next decade," said Jim McGregor, research director of enabling technologies at analyst firm In-Stat.
"This will be driven by new communications standards, content-rich data provided over the internet, new usage models and new business models.
"A critical component of success in this market will be building on industry standards that promote innovation in silicon, systems and, most importantly, software solutions.
"Through open standards and growing industry support, Linux naturally promotes such innovation."
The group plans to release a full platform in early 2008 and bring devices to market in early 2009. Additional projects will be delivered over time.
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