Trolltech announced that Qtopia Phone Edition has been ported to the Neo1973 mobile phone from FIC and open-source software provider OpenMoko and has been GPL’ed. Now, in addition to Trolltech’s Qtopia GreenphoneT, developers have an additional reference platform and form factor for development and testing of new mobile Qtopia applications. Read on for more and a short Q&A with Benoit Schillings, CTO of Trolltech (also of BeOS fame as one of the original Be, Inc. engineers).Trolltech also continues to support Greenphone as a reference platform for mobile development within the company and through its partners. The full GPL version of Qtopia Phone Edition will also be configured to run on the Greenphone, a mobile camera phone that can be re-flashed with new and different applications.
A technology preview of Qtopia Phone Edition licensed under the GPL and running on the Neo1973 is available from Trolltech’s website. Trolltech anticipates the final release of Qtopia 4.3 to be released in late October.
1. How does Trolltech expect the opening of Qtopia Phone Edition will impact the mobile phone landscape?
Benoit Schillings: Trolltech believes in opening up mobile phone development, so this news serves to underscore our commitment. The Neo 1973 has a good amount of support and interest in the open source community, so by creating Qtopia-based applications that can work on open reference platforms like Greenphone and now, the Neo1973, developers have more choice.
Ultimately, by GPL’ing the last few components of Qtopia Phone Edition, we have given phone manufacturers and the community the possibility of creating phones with a complete open software platform.
2. Are both the touch-screen version and the normal phone versions open sourced?
Benoit Schillings: They are actually the same version. But yes, the 100% GPL version of Qtopia Phone Edition will run on both touch screens and regular. In addition, the Qtopia image we created for the Neo also includes some new user interaction tweaks that take even better advantage of a touch-screen based phone.
3. What is your opinion about the 4-5 different Linux mobile phone groups that exist and compete with each other instead of joining forces to create “killer” platform?
Benoit Schillings: I doubt that this situation will be tenable in the long run and expect to see a lot of consolidation in this area. I also think that if these initiatives were more clear regarding the layering of the work, a lot of overlap and replication could be avoided. Hopefully, this will take place and we will see that these initiatives are more focused on providing discrete components which can be reused across the board instead of trying to create a complete solution from scratch. Finally, you often do see that these initiatives slow down once the competitive aspect of the platform becomes the issue.