ACCESS Co., Ltd., and its wholly owned subsidiary, PalmSource, Inc., today announced the ACCESS Linux Platform (ALP), the latest evolution of Palm OS for Linux. The ACCESS Linux Platform is designed to be an integrated, open and flexible Linux-based platform tailored for smartphones and mobile devices.
ACCESS' goal is to have ALP become the platform of choice for the development of high volume, feature rich smartphones and mobile devices for high performance networks, including 2.5G and 3G, worldwide. ALP is designed to provide a complete, consistent and customizable solution for handset and mobile device manufacturers and mobile operators. ACCESS and PalmSource expect to make the ALP Software Developer Kit (SDK) available to its licensees by the end of this year (2006).
Major components of ALP include:
- Standard, commercial-grade Linux kernel -- version 2.6.12 and above
- Optimized implementation of GIMP ToolKit (GTK+) -- popular open source libraries for the creation of graphical user interfaces
- GStreamer -- an open source, modular and multi-threaded streaming media framework
- SQLite -- a high-performance database engine commonly used in embedded devices
Where appropriate, open source components used in ALP are extended and certified by the Company. For example, ACCESS and PalmSource will enhance and certify the open source BlueZ libraries to provide ALP with a Bluetooth 2.0 technology compliant software stack.
A number of ACCESS and PalmSource technologies have been incorporated into ALP, including:
- ACCESS NetFront(TM) browser -- a proven success with over 200 million deployments in 721 commercial products for more than 30 handset and 90 Internet device manufacturers worldwide
- PalmSource messaging and telephony middleware -- a highly modular and scalable implementation
- PalmSource mobile applications including PIMs, multimedia, messaging, PalmSource HotSync and Palm Desktop -- includes the recognized ease-of-use that users expect
By combining ACCESS' robust NetFront browser platform, its extensive business relationships with over 30 handset vendors and Linux expertise with PalmSource's advanced operating system, application portfolio, user interface and developer community, the Company believes that ALP will provide the market with a comprehensive yet flexible and integrated commercial-grade Linux based solution for the mobile market.
Accelerating innovation -- ALP features MAX, an innovative application framework designed by ACCESS and PalmSource to deliver an intuitive, easy-to-use user experience and user interface for smartphones and mobile devices. MAX will seamlessly support the concurrent operation of multiple applications and tasks. It will also provide easy access to background tasks. Designed to deliver a predictable and intuitive navigation model for both one- and two-handed user interface schemes, the MAX framework offers the flexibility to support five-way navigation and two dedicated keys, as well as touch-screen and stylus input mechanisms.
Enabling customization -- In addition to the MAX application framework, ALP is designed to support the existing Palm Powered(TM) Economy, the J2ME developer community and the open source community. This flexibility in choosing application models and user experiences enables handset manufacturers and operators to customize their offerings.
Providing new opportunities for developers -- The mobile Linux market is expected to grow from shipments of 3.5 million in 2005 to 28.1 million by 2010, according to the industry analyst firm Informa. This presents new opportunities for both Palm OS and Linux third-party developers. ALP has been designed to ensure that properly written Palm OS 68K applications will run unchanged. We believe that this compatibility will enable PalmSource's robust community of over 420,000 registered developers to potentially reach new customers and markets.
In addition, ALP, because it includes open source components including GTK and GStreamer, can support a wide variety of third party Linux applications and services. ACCESS and PalmSource plan to provide the developer community with development tools and SDKs to enable them to port existing applications and develop new applications for ALP.
Building a Mobile Linux Ecosystem -- Much like PalmSource gave rise to the Palm Powered Economy, ACCESS and PalmSource are focused on enriching the broader Mobile Linux Ecosystem. The first step in this mission is to make ALP is the most service-ready platform for smartphones and mobile devices by providing leading mobile operators the opportunity to collaborate with ACCESS and PalmSource and integrate their feedback and requirements into the ALP development efforts. Secondly, ACCESS and PalmSource will work closely with leading developers to optimize their applications to run on the ALP platform. We believe that doing these things will help build and grow a robust mobile Linux ecosystem that benefits developers, operators and handset manufacturers while providing end users with a wide range of applications to meet the needs of a diverse range of industries and consumers.
Contributing to the Open Source Community -- ACCESS and PalmSource have contributed Open Binder, a component object framework, similar in general concept to DCOM and CORBA, but better scaled for use on small devices. Open Binder provides a unique inter-process communication (IPC) paradigm implemented as a kernel-loadable driver, and incorporates a broad range of programmatic utility classes and frameworks. PalmSource and ACCESS have released the Binder driver and its associated frameworks to the open source community. For more information, see www.openbinder.org.