ARM, IBM, Samsung Partner in Linux Smartphone Initiative

ARM, IBM, Samsung, ST-Ericsson and Texas Instruments have together created Linaro, a not-for-profit company focused on supporting the development of open-source products for devices powered by ARM's chip designs. Along with Android, other open-source ventures such as LiMo, MeeGo, Ubuntu and WebOS stand to profit from the project, which could help unify a fragmented Linux mobile operating system market.

IBM and chip designer ARM, with partners Freescale, Samsung, ST-Ericsson and Texas Instruments, have created Linaro, "a not-for-profit open-source software engineering company" focused on speeding the development of Linux-based mobile devices powered by ARM-designed processors.
In a June 3 statement on the partnership, the six explained that open-source software communities have traditionally faced the problem of "a limited choice of processor platforms." The formation of Linaro is intended to make it "easier and quicker to develop advanced products ... by creating software commonality across semiconductor SoCs [systems-on-a-chip], from multiple companies."
Further, "Linaro will invest resources in open-source projects that can be used by Linux-based distributions such as Android, LiMo, MeeGo, Ubuntu and WebOS." It also plans to create "new releases of optimized tools, kernel and middleware software validated for a wide range of SOCs, every six months."
"The dramatic growth of open-source software development can now be seen in Internet-based, always-connected mobile and consumer products," Linaro Executive Officer Tom Lantzsch said in the statement. "Linaro will help accelerate this trend further by increasing investment on key open-source projects and providing industry alignment with the community to deliver the best Linux-based products for the benefit of the consumer."
ABI Research recently predicted that Linux-based phones would capture one-third of the worldwide smartphone market by 2015, outdoing all other areas of market growth. And while Google is enjoying tremendous success with its Linux-based Android OS-shipping 65,000 Android-based handsets per day-ABI said Android alone won't be responsible for the coming growth.
"Due to its low cost and ability to be easily modified, Linux in the mobile market today is nearly as disruptive as Linux was in the server markets a decade ago," ABI analyst Victoria Fodale wrote in the June 1 report. She added, "Android is not without competition," and cited Samsung's Bada OS, as well as the MeeGo platform introduced by Intel and Nokia.
Unlike Android, however, some of the other operating systems may have a long road ahead of them-which Linaro may help to shorten.
Linaro's first software and tools release, which will "provide performance optimizations for SoCs based on the ARM Cortex-A processor family," is scheduled to arrive in November.