Thursday, May 17, 2007

Smart phone : Tiny company announces cool Linux smartphone

ImCoSys GPS Linux phone
It's dual mode, delivering wireless data via a quad-band GPRS radio or WiFi, as well as Bluetooth 1.2. So you can use it as a regular cell phone or a VOIP phone where WiFi is available. It has a built-in GPS receiver and an SD card slot to hold all your maps. It has a large PDA-like touchscreen with QVGA resolution. It even has a serial port that could presumably be used to connect peripherals that use the GPS data (nice for some vertical applications, but absolutely unique to my knowledge on a consumer handset). And it's got a clean, elegant design that puts the Treo to shame, at least if you share my asthetic sensibilities.

Oh yeah, it supports editing of Word, Excel, and Powerpoint docs (in some fashion at least) and it's apparently got push email support.

ImCoSys is a Swiss company with 20 employees that was founded only last year. They are an MVNO (mobile virtual network operator) and handset reseller. They commissioned this phone from Chinese phone maker E28, which is actually one of the pioneers of the early Linux smartphone. E28 makes some beautiful and powerful handsets (most of which, alas, we'll never see in North America). All run on Linux.

I really don't know about the usability of the software on this phone. But I find it fascinating that a tiny company like this can rent a network, order up some dynamite handsets to offer their customers and start selling then to subscribers all in a period of a year. It will be interesting to see if some similarly adventurous American MVNOs are able to breathe a little competitive life into the stodgy wireless sector we have here.

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