Nokia, Intel launch open-source project

May 14, 2009 // 4:28 p.m.

Tags: #android #google #intel #limo #linux #moblin #nokia #ofono #open-source #smartphone

Open-source mobile telephony got a boost in the arm this week with the launch of a joint project between Nokia and Intel to bring advanced communication frameworks to Linux.

As reported over on Ars Technica, the two companies – one a mobile phone giant and one a chip manufacturer with its fingers in more than one open source pie – are looking to build an abstraction layer to provide APIs to application developers looking to implement mobile telephony within the Linux operating system.

Dubbed oFono, the project aims to bring smartphone-like functionality to the companies' own Linux implementations – Nokia's Maemo and Intel's Mobilin. The advances made by the project won't be limited to these two platforms, however: the official website makes it clear that all code created by the partership will be made available both for direct download and via the Git version control system.

While Nokia already has a wealth of experience with Linux on portable devices – it has its own range of Internet Tablets which run the Maemo Linux-based operating system – it has so far shied away from creating a smartphone based on the platform. With the investment in this new project, it's possible that the Finnish mobile giant is either looking to integrate smartphone-like functionality – such as SMS messaging and voice calling – into its next generation Internet Tablet, or that it is looking to create an entirely new breed of smartphones using Linux rather than its own Symbian platform.

Intel's goal in this is rather clearer: having founded the Moblin project, which aims to produce a fast and friendly Linux distribution for Atom-based netbook devices ,the company clearly wants to branch out of the netbook market sector and into the realm of Atom-based smartphones.

Whatever the reasons both companies have for investing in this project, one thing is for certain: Linux is due a big boost in the mobile telephony stakes.

Are Nokia and Intel contributing to the open source world out of the goodness of their hearts, or is this part of a master plan to head off Google's Android platform and replace it with Nokia handsets running Intel's Moblin? Share your thoughts over in the forums.

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