Galleo Linux Multimedia Communicator

Daniel describes the development of Galleo and explains why Linux is the OS for the Internet.

Always on, always connected, everywhere--a dream? Not anymore with the Galleo Linux MMC (MultiMedia Communicator), the first of a new breed of embedded devices that takes advantage of wireless mobility and internet convergence.

Imagine true Internet vs. WAP, near desktop-machine bandwidth vs. cellular base speed, a whole desktop full of applications that know how to talk between them vs. boring simplistic interfaces, and a fully open configurable user interface that gives each operator (and each user) the touch of exclusivity vs. closed monothematic interfaces. And, everything in your hand (it's only 5.27" × 3.66" × .69". Let's start by describing the main hardware and software features:

Inside the Galleo

  • Intel StrongARM CPU running at 206MHz

  • 16MB Flash (Intel Strata Flash)

  • 32MB SDRAM

  • Color TFT LCD touchscreen with backlight

  • ETSI GSM Phase 2+ standard GSM module

  • Internal dual band 900/1800 or 900/1900MHz antenna

  • SIM Card interface (GSM)

  • SIM Card interface (third-party authentication--second SIM)

  • Headset with integrated microphone

  • Buzzer/vibrator

  • Speaker

  • USB connectivity

  • IrDA interface (supporting 115200bps at at least 25cm)

  • Power connector

  • MMC memory expansion (either MMC or SD)

  • External keys (home, phone, sleep, user-defined, etc.)

  • Scroller

  • Joystick

  • LEDs (two)

  • Power management/battery charging control

  • Battery Li-polymer (capable of 13-14 hours, standby and 3-4 hours radio operation)

  • Attached video camera

Another inside View of the Galleo

Linux Gets into the Picture

This hardware runs Linux as its OS, administering resources and user requests in the smooth and reliable way we are familiar with. Because we wanted not only a true mobile internet device but also a useful assistant for the user, we chose the KDE desktop as our common API for the local applications. KDE comes with one of the best browsers on the market, Konqueror, and an advanced, extensible and reliable desktop interprocess communication protocol (DCOP). Based on this API the device includes in its standard software base:

Galleo Linux MMC

  • Full HTML browser, the Konqueror, supporting HTML 4 TLS/SSL, ECMA 262 (JavaScript), Java applets with the included embedded Java Virtual Machine, etc.

  • A powerful personal information manager (PIM) including calendar functions, to-do lists, appointments, etc.

PIM Screenshot

Calendar (Day-View)

  • An e-mail client tailored to the specific needs of a small device and smart attachment handling via portal services while working within the constraints of a handheld unit.

  • A handy contacts manager that can be invoked from any other application that needs to access its information database.

Contacts Manager

  • The phone-user interface with all the functionality the user expects from any modern cellular phone device (i.e., smart phonebook, missed calls, received calls, etc.).

Phone Connecting

  • An MP3 player (with playlist editor).

  • A video player (MPEG and AVI files).

  • A streaming video player (that plays proprietary, compressed streaming video over the Net).

  • Portal messenger handler (that manages location services also).

  • Software keyboard with smart word completion and handwriting recognition and multilingual support (Unicode support) for more than one language at a time by using language packages.

  • Network and/or service provider fast dialer.

  • Applications quick launch.

  • Notes.

  • Voice notes.

  • Frame capture (can be included as a mail attachment, for example).

  • Games.

  • Java-based games.

  • Java-based portal applications (operators and ISP providers fully configurable).

  • Included IPSec-compliant VPN for corporate and intranet solutions.

  • Easy and centralized user-settings application that supports standard predefined profiles and custom profiles.

  • Powerful mobile database manager with SQL server included, accessible from all applications.

  • Instant messaging.

  • Operator news, etc.

  • Location services.

In addition to KDE API and applications, the device includes an embedded Java Virtual Machine that allows the browser to run a multitude of applications via Java applets and provides an open interface to service providers to give users full customization.

The Galleo MMC also integrates a proprietary compression mechanism (from Jigami Corp.) that gives a sustained rate of five times the base bandwidth of the cellular connection over HTTP and SMTP protocols and also provides high-compression rates for streaming video with operators that support this format.

Also included as an important part of the overall functionality is an SQL database server that, together with a special database API, provides services to all applications that need access to it, for example the contacts, phone, PIM, etc.