Trolltech plans to begin offering developers a Linux-based phone that can be used to test how mobile applications work on a live cellular network, the creator of software development tools said on Tuesday.
The Greenphone will come with a software development kit and Qtopia Phone Edition, an application platform from Trolltech designed for Linux-based mobile phones. The phone will have many features typically found in smartphones, including a camera, and can operate over Global System for Mobile Communications and General Packet Radio Service networks.
While PC application developers can buy a computer and simply delete and add applications to test how they run, mobile device developers don’t have a similar luxury. Typically, mobile phone software can’t be easily reformatted once the phone is purchased.
The Greenphone can be outfitted with new software components, and users can create, integrate and test applications on the phone. The phone includes Bluetooth, a mini-SD card slot for added memory and a touch screen. The phone’s additional software, which includes a telephony integration module, modem, drivers and desktop sync software, may prove useful to developers.
The phone runs on Linux kernel 2.4.19.
Trolltech expects that the Greenphone will help developers speed up the time it takes to build and test mobile applications and also to attract new developers to the mobile space.
The Greenphone will be available in limited quantities in mid-September, and buyers will also get one year of Qtopia Phone Edition support and software upgrades.
Trolltech is demonstrating the phone at LinuxWorld in San Francisco and did not reveal its price. The company plans to offer other similar types of open mobile devices for developers in the future.
Trolltech provides software platforms to Linux developers. In the mobile industry, Motorola and ZTE use Qtopia in their phones.
Linux has recently begun to gather some momentum in the mobile space. It’s widely used on mobile phones in China, and mobile software and phone makers have formed several organizations over the past year in an effort to unify the development of Linux for mobile phones.