posted by Eugenia Loli on Tue 29th Aug 2006 18:22 UTC
IconGuy Martin is a distinguished member of technical staff within Motorola's Mobile Devices business. He helped establish, and works with groups inside of Motorola to better interface with the Open Source community. Guy also co-manages a version of inside of Motorola, to take advantage of the best practices of Open Source methodology within the company. Read in our interview with Guy below about the future of Motorola's Linux phones and expect later this week our review of the Linux-based RoKR-E2 feature phone.

1. Will both the EZX touchscreen-based (e.g. MOTOMING/A1200) and "Chameleon" interface (e.g. MOTOROKR E2) Linux UIs continue to be developed or one will be dropped? Are these two graphical environments API source compatible or are they completely different (and just happened to be both based on Qt Embedded)?

Guy Martin Guy Martin: We will continue to work with both as different markets require different UIs -- tailored to the way users interact with their devices. For example, some markets (such as Asia) desire touchscreen/handwriting recognition inputs, and some are more comfortable with keypad/joystick UIs.

As a global company, Motorola develops multiple input and UI experiences to meet these market demands -- with applications, in general, being designed around whichever UI environment is present on the device.

2. Tell us about your plans to offer an SDK for your future Linux phones. How is the SDK going to be distributed, will it be usable via Windows and Unix, is it going to be free for enthusiasts or they will be required to buy a Qt license to write non-GPL applications?

Guy Martin: Motorola recently joined the Eclipse foundation as a strategic developer member, and we have proposed the new Tools for Mobile Linux (Tml) project (press release). The proposed project will provide the frameworks and tooling for the development of C and C++ applications targeting mobile devices.

This is still in the early stages of development, so stay tuned to the Eclipse site for additional information.

As far as application frameworks are concerned, Motorola is working together with NEC, NTT DoCoMo, Panasonic, Samsung and Vodafone as part of the not-for-profit Mobile Linux Foundation (press release). This initiative is aimed at providing an open Linux-based mobile software platform that will lead to lower development costs, increased flexibility, shorter development cycles, and a more collaborative environment for all players..

3. What will the fate be for your non-smart OS, motofone? Will it be repositioned towards cheaper phones?

Guy Martin: To clarify, MOTOFONE is not an operating system -- it is a handset designed to enable even the newest phone users to utilize mobile communication. You can check out pictures/features of the phone via or directly through our consumer site here.

I assume your core question is in reference to our existing Motorola software platform, currently found on our popular handsets such as the RAZR, PEBL and SLVR. We will continue to incorporate this platform into some of our lower-tier handsets, while at the same time, increasing the number of handsets based on Linux throughout our portfolio. We also recently acquired TTPCom -- the company that makes the AJAR platform. We will use that platform on "low-tier" devices as well.

4. Is the browser of your choice for your future cellphones Opera, Netfront, Obigo or Openwave? What's going to happen to your in-house MiB browser?

Guy Martin: We work closely with our operator partners to select the browser that makes the most sense for the targeted end user of a device. As you note, we currently utilize a number of browsers for our handset models and we will continue to offer these, plus our Motorola browser, to meet particular operator needs and requirements. I couldn't identify a "browser of choice" as, again, there is no one size fits all at this point.

5. What is your opinion on fragmentation of mobile Linux into different groups and implementations? Do you think that eventually the bridges will be crossed?

Guy Martin: I know that Motorola is committed to doing the right thing for both the mobile industry and the Linux and Open Source communities. Coordinating Motorola's work with the broader open source community is a big and exciting part of my job.

We recognize that the current development environment for the mobile industry is dependent on a variety of proprietary platforms that do not interoperate and have mismatched delivery cycles. This impedes innovation by forcing developers to recreate the wheel whenever they have a new offering.

Although the current mobile Linux initiatives have made great headway in moving the platform forward, having the backing of major phone manufacturers and operators is critical to the future success of the platform. Through our work with the Mobile Linux Foundation, we and the other member companies are focused on creating a platform that enables development of a wide range of new applications that will enhance the consumer experience. The companies have also announced their intent to form an independent foundation to guide this effort and help raise awareness and acceptance of the platform within mobile and developer communities.

Table of contents
  1. "Guy Martin Interview, Page 1/2"
  2. "Guy Martin Interview, Page 2/2"
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