What's the Difference Between a Linux Smart Phone and an Expensive Paper-Weight?

A Good, Compact GUI Is an Essential Differentiator in This Emerging Market



Dec 11, 2000, 00:00 ET from Trolltech

    SANTA CLARA, Calif., Dec. 11 /PRNewswire/ -- In one of the first
 demonstrations of just how small and powerful a GUI can be, an international
 group of technologists recently announced the completion of the IMT-2000, a
 CDMA smart phone based on the Embedded Linux operating system.  The group,
 which includes PalmPalm Technology, SK Telecom Central R&D Laboratory, and
 Seoul National University, plans to release a beta version by the end of 2000,
 according to recent articles.
     What was emphasized in the initial press surrounding the announcement was
 the exciting suite of technologies behind the GUI:  the Tynux OS, PalmPalm's
 cleverly optimized version of Embedded Linux; the 206 MHz StrongARM processor
 from Intel; the superfast Bluetooth wireless interface; and a suite of small
 applications.
     What was underemphasized was the pivotal enabling role played by the GUI
 itself.
     Built using Trolltech's Qt/Embedded(TM), a crossplatform C++ GUI toolkit
 and windowing system, the IMT-2000's GUI is an amazingly capable and intuitive
 interface.  And it is the existence of such an interface that makes all the
 difference:  without it, a phone is just a phone; with it, a phone becomes a
 tool for web access, PIM applications, MP3 audio, games, voice over IP (VoIP),
 and much, much more.
     "I think it's important to note that a compact and powerful GUI is not
 just a 'nice feature,'" says Haavard Nord, the CEO of Trolltech.  "It is an
 essential enabling technology -- a necessary condition -- for the evolution of
 the embedded systems market.  Without this technology, screen-based products
 would be stuck where they are now -- with cumbersome and arbitrary text
 interfaces. They would continue to suffer from the 'Unachievable Value
 Syndrome' that plagues all systems with complex interfaces.  When the
 IMT-2000 development team chose Qt/Embedded, they got a stable, market-proven
 technology that is already delivering significant benefits in the smart
 phone/web device market."
     Minsuk Lee, PalmPalm's vice president of engineering, says that
 Qt/Embedded made the IMT-2000 group's short list "because it offered a lot of
 power and flexibility without requiring a lot of memory resources."  They
 chose it as the GUI/windowing system because "we needed a GUI that would
 provide easy and intuitive access to the capabilities of the smart phone."
     A review of Qt/Embedded's strengths shows the kind of functionality the
 development team got in just 2.5 MB of RAM:
 
     -- A Small Memory Footprint. Because Qt/Embedded is modular and scalable,
 it can be tailored to run in memory spaces as low as 700 KB.  The normal
 configurations range from 2 MB to 2.5 MB, which still allows Qt/Embedded to
 provide first-echelon functionality.  Qt/Embedded's compactness and modularity
 allowed the Korean developers to easily meet their requirement to use no more
 than 2.5 MB of RAM for the GUI.
     -- A Short Learning Curve.  Qt/Embedded allowed their programmers to work
 in familiar desktop environments and simply recompile for the target system
 -- a huge advantage in an arena where time-to-market is perhaps the crucial
 advantage.
     -- Sophisticated Graphics.  Small displays benefit from three of
 Qt/Embedded's graphics capabilities:  anti-aliased text; alpha-blended
 pixmaps; and the ability to take advantage of hardware-based graphics
 acceleration.
     -- A "Theme Engine."  Another unique capacity, Qt/Embedded's "theme
 engine" lets developers give a Qt/Embedded GUI whatever look they want.  Many
 developers choose a "Windows" look and feel -- but they are by no means
 limited to that.  They can also make the GUI look like a Macintosh (including
 Aqua), like Photon, like various implementations of KDE -- like literally any
 existing windowing system.  Or like something completely new and different.
     -- Access to Full Source Code.  Unlike many toolkits and windowing
 systems, Qt/Embedded provides access to the full set of source code, which
 allows programmers to greatly shorten the product development, testing,
 debugging, and deployment cycle.  Given the importance of time-to-market in
 this fast-moving field, Qt/Embedded offered a significant advantage here as
 well.
 
     Another advantage provided by Qt/Embedded is access to thousands of
 existing Qt developers.  Any application written in Qt in the Linux, Windows,
 or Unix environments can be made to run on a target embedded system by simply
 recompiling it.  Therefore, the partnership that produced the IMT-2000 will
 have -- instantly -- a large base of experienced programmers for their smart
 phone.  This obviates what is often the most severe limitation faced by a new
 product.
 
     About Trolltech
     Trolltech develops, supports, and markets Qt, a C++ crossplatform toolkit
 and windowing system.  Qt and Qt/Embedded let programmers rapidly build
 state-of-the-art GUI applications for desktop and embedded environments using
 a "write once, compile anywhere" strategy.  Qt has been used to develop
 hundreds of successful commercial applications worldwide, and is the basis of
 the emerging KDE Linux desktop standard.  Trolltech is headquartered in Oslo,
 Norway, with offices in Santa Clara, California, and Brisbane, Australia.
 
 

SOURCE Trolltech
    SANTA CLARA, Calif., Dec. 11 /PRNewswire/ -- In one of the first
 demonstrations of just how small and powerful a GUI can be, an international
 group of technologists recently announced the completion of the IMT-2000, a
 CDMA smart phone based on the Embedded Linux operating system.  The group,
 which includes PalmPalm Technology, SK Telecom Central R&D Laboratory, and
 Seoul National University, plans to release a beta version by the end of 2000,
 according to recent articles.
     What was emphasized in the initial press surrounding the announcement was
 the exciting suite of technologies behind the GUI:  the Tynux OS, PalmPalm's
 cleverly optimized version of Embedded Linux; the 206 MHz StrongARM processor
 from Intel; the superfast Bluetooth wireless interface; and a suite of small
 applications.
     What was underemphasized was the pivotal enabling role played by the GUI
 itself.
     Built using Trolltech's Qt/Embedded(TM), a crossplatform C++ GUI toolkit
 and windowing system, the IMT-2000's GUI is an amazingly capable and intuitive
 interface.  And it is the existence of such an interface that makes all the
 difference:  without it, a phone is just a phone; with it, a phone becomes a
 tool for web access, PIM applications, MP3 audio, games, voice over IP (VoIP),
 and much, much more.
     "I think it's important to note that a compact and powerful GUI is not
 just a 'nice feature,'" says Haavard Nord, the CEO of Trolltech.  "It is an
 essential enabling technology -- a necessary condition -- for the evolution of
 the embedded systems market.  Without this technology, screen-based products
 would be stuck where they are now -- with cumbersome and arbitrary text
 interfaces. They would continue to suffer from the 'Unachievable Value
 Syndrome' that plagues all systems with complex interfaces.  When the
 IMT-2000 development team chose Qt/Embedded, they got a stable, market-proven
 technology that is already delivering significant benefits in the smart
 phone/web device market."
     Minsuk Lee, PalmPalm's vice president of engineering, says that
 Qt/Embedded made the IMT-2000 group's short list "because it offered a lot of
 power and flexibility without requiring a lot of memory resources."  They
 chose it as the GUI/windowing system because "we needed a GUI that would
 provide easy and intuitive access to the capabilities of the smart phone."
     A review of Qt/Embedded's strengths shows the kind of functionality the
 development team got in just 2.5 MB of RAM:
 
     -- A Small Memory Footprint. Because Qt/Embedded is modular and scalable,
 it can be tailored to run in memory spaces as low as 700 KB.  The normal
 configurations range from 2 MB to 2.5 MB, which still allows Qt/Embedded to
 provide first-echelon functionality.  Qt/Embedded's compactness and modularity
 allowed the Korean developers to easily meet their requirement to use no more
 than 2.5 MB of RAM for the GUI.
     -- A Short Learning Curve.  Qt/Embedded allowed their programmers to work
 in familiar desktop environments and simply recompile for the target system
 -- a huge advantage in an arena where time-to-market is perhaps the crucial
 advantage.
     -- Sophisticated Graphics.  Small displays benefit from three of
 Qt/Embedded's graphics capabilities:  anti-aliased text; alpha-blended
 pixmaps; and the ability to take advantage of hardware-based graphics
 acceleration.
     -- A "Theme Engine."  Another unique capacity, Qt/Embedded's "theme
 engine" lets developers give a Qt/Embedded GUI whatever look they want.  Many
 developers choose a "Windows" look and feel -- but they are by no means
 limited to that.  They can also make the GUI look like a Macintosh (including
 Aqua), like Photon, like various implementations of KDE -- like literally any
 existing windowing system.  Or like something completely new and different.
     -- Access to Full Source Code.  Unlike many toolkits and windowing
 systems, Qt/Embedded provides access to the full set of source code, which
 allows programmers to greatly shorten the product development, testing,
 debugging, and deployment cycle.  Given the importance of time-to-market in
 this fast-moving field, Qt/Embedded offered a significant advantage here as
 well.
 
     Another advantage provided by Qt/Embedded is access to thousands of
 existing Qt developers.  Any application written in Qt in the Linux, Windows,
 or Unix environments can be made to run on a target embedded system by simply
 recompiling it.  Therefore, the partnership that produced the IMT-2000 will
 have -- instantly -- a large base of experienced programmers for their smart
 phone.  This obviates what is often the most severe limitation faced by a new
 product.
 
     About Trolltech
     Trolltech develops, supports, and markets Qt, a C++ crossplatform toolkit
 and windowing system.  Qt and Qt/Embedded let programmers rapidly build
 state-of-the-art GUI applications for desktop and embedded environments using
 a "write once, compile anywhere" strategy.  Qt has been used to develop
 hundreds of successful commercial applications worldwide, and is the basis of
 the emerging KDE Linux desktop standard.  Trolltech is headquartered in Oslo,
 Norway, with offices in Santa Clara, California, and Brisbane, Australia.
 
 SOURCE  Trolltech