Sharp, Trolltech Buttering up Developers for Zaurus PDA Platform

by Don Marti

Sharp Electronics Corporation unveiled the new Linux-based Zaurus SL-5500 PDA to a crowd of Linux developers and the IT media in San Jose, California today. The palmtop's most notable feature is a Blackberry-sized QWERTY keyboard revealed by sliding the screen. It also offers a reflective quarter-VGA screen, stereo sound, 64MB of RAM and an 206MHz Intel StrongARM CPU. A day-long Zaurus developer's symposium was also held today.

The software load includes the QT/E palmtop software suite with Java VM, the Opera web browser, and MPEG audio and video players. "We're offering an alternative rather than being one of a list of companies offering a legacy palmtop OS", said Stephan J. Petix, Vice President and General Manager of Sharp's Mobile Systems Group.

Although the Zaurus makes a respectable MP3 player, and the first end-user products will be released for the "prosumer" market in February 2002, Sharp plans to release an enterprise-ready PDA package in March or April that includes enterprise, law enforcement and government applications.

Aether Systems, Inc. will offer wireless corporate e-mail service for Zaurus users beginning early next year.

With Java entrenched as the language of choice for new enterprise software projects, the Zaurus will likely offer cautious CIOs a higher comfort level than single-vendor OS platforms.

Trolltech's cross-platform QT toolkit is famously well-architected, and C++ programmers who try it generally prefer it to legacy, single-platform APIs. Trolltech is also releasing a new integrated development environment for embedded software called Qtopia.

Aron Kozak, Public Relations Manager for Trolltech, says that his company is hosting a contest for developers of QT/E applications. The contest will run from December 4, 2001 to February 11, 2002 and offers five categories: games, entertainment/educational, business, system tools and communications.

Prizes include cash, laptops and, best of all, Zauri.

Contest information is available at:

A QT/Embedded overview is scheduled to appear in the next issue of Embedded Linux Journal. Subscribe at

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