Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Embedded Linux for Mobile Devices

The first operating systems for mobile phones and other mobile consumer electronic devices were custom developed, which means they were expensive to develop and maintain, as all hardware drivers and interfaces had to be written from scratch in a low level programming language.

Soon developers started to look for higher-level approaches that would facilitate re-use of software components. A typical installation of embedded Linux requires only about two megabytes, which was therefore a good candidate for use as operating system of resource limited devices. Furthermore, Linux is Open Source and therefore well suited as basis for standards.

A group of companies interested in the development of Linux products formed The Embedded Linux Consortium (ELC) in order to promote Linux and develop standards for the embedded computing markets. Standards are also developed for managing power consumption of devices, designing user interfaces, and real-time operation of embedded Linux software. One of the results of this effort is the Embedded Linux Consortium Platform Specification (ELCPS).

Power Combination: Mobile Linux and Mobile Java

While Linux is evolving into a major standard for mobile device operating systems, Java is becoming a standard at the software application level. The J2ME/MIDP specifications have been adopted by all major mobile phone manufacturers, which enables software developers to write applications that can be run, without modifications, on all such devices that adhere to these specifications. The MIDP (Mobile Information Device Profile) is comprised of a set of Java APIs, that provides a J2ME (Java 2 Micro Edition) runtime environment for mobile information devices. It standardizes functions such as user interface design, persistent storage, and networking.

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