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Access pushes for mobile Linux

Mobile coders get a new product development kit as Access shows off its Linux platform.

BARCELONA, Spain--Access, the company that supplies the mobile platform formally known as Palm OS, has released product development kits for licensees, as well as a global partner program, in an attempt to boost the growth of mobile Linux.

A prerelease software development suite is also being distributed to developers, the company announced on Monday at the 3GSM mobile conference here.

However, no specific licensees have yet been announced.

The product development kit includes platform components (including a Linux reference kernel), an application development kit, reference drivers, documentation and a complete Eclipse-based set of development tools.

Access has been demonstrating its Access Linux Platform, which currently looks similar to the legacy Palm OS, at 3GSM. One notable feature of the platform is its apparent ability to run Java, ) and Linux-based applications without any apparent difference in appearance.

Access acquired PalmSource, which managed the development of the Palm OS, in 2005.

Referring to the new global partnership drive, an Access representative said it hoped to take the established Palm OS community and "move it to Linux." Current partners already include Texas Instruments, Sprint Nextel, Telefonica and Orange.

Like Access, these companies are all members of the Linux Phone Standards (LiPS) Forum. It is one of two consortia dedicated to pushing open source into the mobile sphere; the other is the LiMo Foundation.

LiPS Forum President Haila Wang said on Monday that Access' moves showed dedication to the cause of mobile Linux.

Access' "global partner program is a great example of how members of the open-source community, handset and device manufacturers, mobile-phone software developers and operators can work together to build a worldwide ecosystem that ultimately benefits all participants--and most importantly, the mobile-phone consumer," said Wang, speaking at 3GSM.

David Meyer of ZDNet UK reported from Barcelona, Spain.