Take Linux with You Wherever You Go
GITWiT (Kirkland, Washington) is currently developing a Linux-based wireless handset that combines communications and entertainment within a uniquely customizable two-part design. The company plans to aim the device at the lucrative teen market initially by offering a colorful phone with cool teen-oriented capabilities.
According to GITWiT's market research, roughly 25% of the 40 million teens in the US own wireless phones today, leaving 30 million potential additional subscribers up for grabs.
Physically, the GITWiT phone consists of two pieces (see photo). The GITWiT-enabled handset contains the core telephony functionality. A software-enabled cover, called a Smart Skin, snaps onto the handset core to define a specific and easily alterable look, feel and wireless-user experience.
Each Smart Skin contains a Smart Key, which is built around an industry standard, secure smart card module. Smart Keys contain encrypted data and software that changes the wireless-user experience to match the theme of the skin.
As an example, users snapping on skins branded by their favorite music group might get a new look and feel for the user interface, plus customized ring tones and graphics, preconfigured wireless web bookmarks and subscription content for the group's latest CDs and upcoming concerts.
GITWiT expects its innovative approach to be popular with wireless carriers because it permits them to embrace changing fashion and entertainment trends rapidly by refreshing the relatively expensive core cellular component with an inexpensive snap-on Smart Skin.
From a technical perspective, GITWiT-enabled handsets are composed of three main parts: a cellular processor, a proprietary Smart Key operating system and an embedded host processor.
The host processor, an embedded computer running Linux, is the heart of the phone. It is built around an ARM7 microprocessor and contains a number of embedded peripherals and I/O interfaces for the keypad, color LCD and for communicating with the Smart Skins. A separate cellular processor handles all of the on-air cellular communications.
GITWiT uses the 2.4.5 Linux kernel with ARM patches from Russell King and Nicolas Pitre, as well as a number of in-house patches. The system software also includes portions of Microwindows for its GUI, as well as BusyBox.
“We chose Linux for a number of reasons”, explains GITWiT VP of Engineering Peter Zatloukal. He continues:
We are building a user interface that is leagues beyond what exists on current wireless phones, and Linux provides us with a rich environment with which to render our ideas.
Also, since most of our development work is in the application and object layers, we're glad to be using an open-source kernel so that we can contribute to efforts that make it easier for others to develop embedded solutions.
We feel that increasing the ease of innovation in the embedded space, even if it also strengthens our competitors, helps us because it broadens the whole market. We like the world where low barriers to entry fuel competition around what really matters—a richer wireless-user experience.
See www.GITWiT.com for more information.
IBM Research and Citizen Watch have announced a collaboration through which Linux-based WatchPad prototypes and related technologies are being developed. The collaborative project, which builds on IBM's earlier Linux Watch efforts, has the goal of exploring a new type of personal information access devices for the pervasive computing era. IBM Research first demonstrated the Linux Watch last year, in an effort to illustrate the viability of Linux across all platforms, from the S/390 to the smallest intelligent devices.
Citizen Watch decided to work with IBM to develop enhanced features and new technologies for use in future “intelligent watches”, such as using them as communication devices. Thus far, Citizen Watch has contributed packaging and component design, including display and input device. IBM provided the hardware architecture, system design and software—including Linux. The two companies also say they plan to collaborate with universities by sharing the WatchPad technology for joint research, in hopes of accelerating progress in the development of next-generation intelligent devices.
The WatchPad contains a high-speed, low-power 32-bit MPU, 16MB of Flash memory and a quarter-VGA (320 × 240 pixels) LCD. Wireless connectivity includes both Bluetooth and infrared. Users interact with the device through a touch panel, buttons and modified winding knob. In addition, an accelerometer is embedded in the device to explore the possibility of arm movement being used as an input method.
Here are a few key technical specs of the WatchPad, taken from a fact sheet distributed by IBM Research:
Size: 65mm × 46mm × 16mm
Weight: 43g (without wrist band)
CPU: high-speed, low-power 32-bit MPU (18-74MHz)
Input devices: touch panel, a winding crown switch, button
Display: 320 × 240 dots, monochrome liquid crystal display
Memory: 8MB low-power DRAM, 16MB Flash
Interfaces: Bluetooth wireless technology (v1.1, voice-enabled), IrDA (V1.2), RS-232C (via a cradle)
Others: speaker, microphone, vibrator, fingerprint sensor, accelerator sensor
Power: Li-Ion battery
Cradle: RS-232C, AC adaptor and AA batteries
Operating system: Linux kernel version 2.4
Bluetooth stack: IBM BlueDrekar (L2CAP, SDP, RFCOMM)
|Dynamic DNS—an Object Lesson in Problem Solving||May 21, 2013|
|Using Salt Stack and Vagrant for Drupal Development||May 20, 2013|
|Making Linux and Android Get Along (It's Not as Hard as It Sounds)||May 16, 2013|
|Drupal Is a Framework: Why Everyone Needs to Understand This||May 15, 2013|
|Home, My Backup Data Center||May 13, 2013|
|Non-Linux FOSS: Seashore||May 10, 2013|
- Dynamic DNS—an Object Lesson in Problem Solving
- Making Linux and Android Get Along (It's Not as Hard as It Sounds)
- Using Salt Stack and Vagrant for Drupal Development
- New Products
- A Topic for Discussion - Open Source Feature-Richness?
- Drupal Is a Framework: Why Everyone Needs to Understand This
- Validate an E-Mail Address with PHP, the Right Way
- RSS Feeds
- Readers' Choice Awards
- Tech Tip: Really Simple HTTP Server with Python
- BASH script to log IPs on public web server
1 hour 34 min ago
5 hours 10 min ago
- Reply to comment | Linux Journal
5 hours 42 min ago
- All the articles you talked
8 hours 6 min ago
- All the articles you talked
8 hours 9 min ago
- All the articles you talked
8 hours 10 min ago
12 hours 35 min ago
- Keeping track of IP address
14 hours 26 min ago
- Roll your own dynamic dns
19 hours 39 min ago
- Please correct the URL for Salt Stack's web site
22 hours 51 min ago
Enter to Win an Adafruit Pi Cobbler Breakout Kit for Raspberry Pi
It's Raspberry Pi month at Linux Journal. Each week in May, Adafruit will be giving away a Pi-related prize to a lucky, randomly drawn LJ reader. Winners will be announced weekly.
Fill out the fields below to enter to win this week's prize-- a Pi Cobbler Breakout Kit for Raspberry Pi.
Congratulations to our winners so far:
- 5-8-13, Pi Starter Pack: Jack Davis
- 5-15-13, Pi Model B 512MB RAM: Patrick Dunn
- 5-21-13, Prototyping Pi Plate Kit: Philip Kirby
- Next winner announced on 5-27-13!
Free Webinar: Hadoop
How to Build an Optimal Hadoop Cluster to Store and Maintain Unlimited Amounts of Data Using Microservers
Realizing the promise of Apache® Hadoop® requires the effective deployment of compute, memory, storage and networking to achieve optimal results. With its flexibility and multitude of options, it is easy to over or under provision the server infrastructure, resulting in poor performance and high TCO. Join us for an in depth, technical discussion with industry experts from leading Hadoop and server companies who will provide insights into the key considerations for designing and deploying an optimal Hadoop cluster.
Some of key questions to be discussed are:
- What is the “typical” Hadoop cluster and what should be installed on the different machine types?
- Why should you consider the typical workload patterns when making your hardware decisions?
- Are all microservers created equal for Hadoop deployments?
- How do I plan for expansion if I require more compute, memory, storage or networking?