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First Linux Phone Arrives in US 25

Posted by CowboyNeal
from the talking-penguins dept.
Mik3D writes "Looks like a Linux based phone has finally arrived in the US. It's called Identity and it features an interesting skin technology that allows users to purchase a faceplate with embedded ring tones, gui, etc... The phone is being offered by Dobson Cellular, an also-ran cell phone company that services those of us up here in the frozen north."
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First Linux Phone Arrives in US

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  • what's the cpu for? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by gl4ss (559668) on Thursday September 09, 2004 @07:18AM (#10199096) Homepage Journal
    and wheres the review?

    really, what's the speed for and do you get any access to the "linux" underneath so that it running linux matters at all?

    kinda funky looking though, looks a bit too much of 'deliberately different' for my tastes.
    (and other phonemakers have had changeable covers for years and years.. and the cover having some identification/content hardly matters)

    ****
    "We chose Linux for a number of reasons", explains Wildseed VP of Engineering Peter Zatloukal. "We are building a user interface that is leagues beyond what exists on current wireless phones, and Linux provides us with a rich environment with which to render our ideas."
    ****

    so unless you're an embedded developer and might re-use the code for your own product you're hardly having advantage of it running linux(as a customer)? doesn't really look like you could load your own native programs on it..

    • its a phone. (Score:3, Insightful)

      by torpor (458)
      so unless you're an embedded developer and might re-use the code for your own product you're hardly having advantage of it running linux(as a customer)? doesn't really look like you could load your own native programs on it.


      look, would you rather it were a closed-source operating system with no support, destined for the graveyard in some bankrupcy court, or 'sold off like a cheap truck of pigs' to some other mega-corp who squish it after exercising their own propietary OS into the same marketspace?

      the f
      • Re:its a phone. (Score:3, Insightful)

        by gl4ss (559668)
        **its a phone, not a rootkit**

        yes, but why but there's no customer benefit in choosing a phone like this over a phone that ran, say symbian, and did let you install native apps in addition o just offering j2me(and coding all kinds of funky lowlevel stuff like tickers that run over other programs when they're running to remind you of a meeting or whatever).

        *the fact its running linux means that the device itself is based on open standards.* how does it running linux kernel mean it's based on "open standard
        • yes, but why but there's no customer benefit in choosing a phone like this over a phone that ran, say symbian

          i dunno, i can think of thousands of cool things that may run on linux but may not be available on symbian, apps/scripts/libs/suites which i might one day want to integrate, relatively easily, into a functioning linux system ...

          hey, maybe you -can- get to a prompt on it, maybe you -can- do compiles, eh? woohoo, pocket SVG, yay .fetchmailrc, groovy "edk://" from the keypad, hot momma "apache" grit
          • *****i dunno, i can think of thousands of cool things that may run on linux but may not be available on symbian, apps/scripts/libs/suites which i might one day want to integrate, relatively easily, into a functioning linux system ...**

            but my whole point is that as the CUSTOMER YOU CANT DO THIS.

            ****who'se to say this isn't possible in this phone?

            i bet its fun to write code for it, anyway. public development tools or not, the use of linux on this phone means there's all sorts of creative hackery to be had,
            • but my whole point is that as the CUSTOMER YOU CANT DO THIS.

              you're absolutely sure about that?
              • yes. they mention of making possibly a skin/cover that would eventually allow that, maybe.

                so, in comparision to symbian or even ms smartphones it leaves a lot to be desired().
    • Quoting from this page [linuxdevices.com]

      Engstrom said that Wildseed plans someday to make a LinuxSkin, which would provide some way of accessing the busybox shell running on the phone, and running commandline utilities such as ssh clients. No immediate plans for such a skin have been made, however.

      So maybe, someday.
  • Identity is the first phone designed to communicate who you are. When you snap on a SmartSkin, you change your identity.

    No doubt every /. geek would be thrilled by this innovative technology if this gizmo run some other operating system.

    (It's funny, not a troll you crackpot moderator you)
  • Why so old a kernel version? Seems odd to me...
    • Because it takes considerable time to develop an embedded system, writing drivers for custom hardware and software to run on top to connect up all the bits. Typically things like the kernel version would be set in stone at the begining of the project, and not upgraded for fear of causing problems or moving deadlines. It's much easier to develop for a stationary rather than a moving target.
    • Q:What are the differences between kernel versions?
      A:Features and bug fixes.

      Features add bloat, and bug fixes can be incorporated without the additional features. So unless there is a compelling reason to use a particular kernel (multithreading on a 68040 for instance ;-) there's no real reason to use the 'latest and greatest'.
  • by Ianoo (711633) on Thursday September 09, 2004 @07:50AM (#10199199) Journal
    It may run Linux at the bottom, but what of the GUI? Most likely it's some kind of memory mapped framebuffer, because you don't need anything more advanced than this for a mobile phone (although that may no longer be true with all the 3D games coming out, but I don't see a particularly rich interface on this phone in the marketing pictures).

    Have the company released the api specification for the application that runs on top of the kernel and powers the phone's interface, so that developers can create new software that integrates with the phone? Without that, the phone is more proprietary in many ways than Symbian, Palm or PocketPC.

    Remember that you can be quite clever here, since in general, most people seem to reckon that running a proprietary closed-source application on top of a GPL kernel isn't a violation of the license. So they can keep the source code for the GUI under wraps for as long as they want.

    Don't get me wrong, I'm all for using Linux in embedded devices, especially if there are Dollars or Euros or Yen going towards kernel.org to support this kind of work. But really, it's not a big deal from an end user's perspective, or indeed a Slashdot geek's perspective.

    As a sidenote, haven't Nokia proved that freakish form factors don't actually sell? How am I supposed to look at the screen whilst typing a text message or e-mail on this phone?
  • Fashion Phone ? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by polyp2000 (444682) on Thursday September 09, 2004 @09:11AM (#10199589) Homepage Journal
    Considering its a fashion phone its a real shame it looks like its got Peyronie's Disease.

    Why could they not have made it a more "conventional" shape? It doesnt matter what OS is on the thing if it looks bad it aint going to sell.

    Nick ...

  • This phone was interesting right up until I read this:

    Identity(TM), featuring SmartSkins, is the first phone (GSM/GPRS) designed to communicate who you are and what you're all about.

    Thank God, now I can stop talking to people and just show 'em my phone.

    I suppose it has a ringtone that properly conveys the pre-middle-age angst of wondering if I've chosen the right career, uncertainty in my prospects for retirement (let alone *early* retirement) and that old-timey-style pinin' for the bygone era?

    No?

    Hmmm... maybe it's in one of the screensavers.
  • by ketonesam (812005) on Thursday September 09, 2004 @11:17AM (#10201046)
    It looks like the phone is curved so that the earpiece and microphone fit for a right handed caller, but I guess lefties just have to hold it convex side facing front... unless there are actually speakers and microphones on both sides.
  • First? (Score:3, Informative)

    by bill_mcgonigle (4333) * on Thursday September 09, 2004 @05:53PM (#10206506) Homepage Journal
    Here's a list [tuxmobil.org] of Linux phones.

    A friend of mine has a Samsung (IIRC) that shows the OPIE boot screen when it's turned on. Nothing special - it was picked up at a local Verizon store or similar.
  • what would you have to do to make the OS owner-accessible?
  • This article [linuxdevices.com] covers what the CPU can be used for and there are plans for a LinuxSkin that'll allow access to the busybox shell running on the phone. Doesn't say when, it just says the plan exists.

    I know one of the developers of this phone up in the Seattle area. Great work, guys!

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