IBM technology brings benefits of Linux and Java to consumer electronics space

1/22/2003 - IBM announced technology that could help extend the use of open, standards-based Linux and Java software to consumer electronic products such as personal digital assistants (PDAs) and other handheld devices.

IBM has combined many of the underlying hardware components used by such products into a single "reference design" centered around the low-power IBM PowerPC® 405LP microprocessor to help extend battery life. The hardware is complemented by power-saving software, including MontaVista Linux Consumer Electronic Edition (CEE) and embedded middleware from IBM, providing an integrated solution from which manufacturers may be able to more quickly and easily create a final product.

The integrated hardware/software solution will initially be available through IBM Microelectronics Division. IBM Engineering & Technology Services has been selected as the first organization to help OEM manufacturers modify the reference design to their specific requirements. IBM plans to demonstrate the reference platform for the first time at the LinuxWorld trade show in New York this week in booth 523.

"In a mobile world, our access to technology and enterprise information will increasingly come through products other than PCs," said Lisa Su, director, PowerPC and emerging products, IBM Microelectronics. "The reference design we are showing at LinuxWorld re-emphasizes IBM's commitment to open standards and Linux and provides companies with a robust and efficient way to extend their enterprise to consumer electronic products. It also opens up a wealth of potential opportunities for Linux developers."

The reference design is based on the IBM PowerPC 405LP embedded processor, MontaVista Linux CEE and IBM Power Manager. This combination may reduce processor/memory power consumption by as much as 50 percent, which translates to an estimated 20 percent power savings at the system level.

Integrated in the reference design is device middleware which comprises open, standards-based IBM and partner software. Aimed at supporting both enterprise and consumer applications, IBM software includes a J2ME certified Java Runtime platform for devices— IBM's WebSphere® Micro Environment — as well as support for multimedia, data connectivity, and speech and handwriting recognition.

To meet the needs of enterprise markets, the reference design also includes IBM's Service Management Framework, DB2 Everyplace, Tivoli Device Management and other IBM software to support software lifecycle management and enterprise connectivity. Partner software includes Trolltech's QTopia mobile office applications suite and Opera's Browser. Elements of the software are available now, with an integrated platform scheduled to be made available in the second quarter of 2003.

Included in the software stack are the IBM Power Manager and the MontaVista Linux kernel. These two components will work together to lower the voltage and frequency of the device when they sense there is low requirement for processing power.

IBM PowerPC 405LP embedded processor
The IBM PowerPC 405LP embedded processor is a 32-bit RISC processor offering high performance and ultra-low power for a wide variety of power-sensitive embedded applications. Using IBM's custom chip-making techniques, additional features can also be added to the PowerPC 405LP to adapt the device to other applications. Samples of the IBM PowerPC 405LP are available now from IBM, with volume production available in the third quarter of 2003. MontaVista Linux CEE is expected to be available from MontaVista Software in the first half of 2003.

For more information on availability of the reference design solution, visit IBM Microelectronics at

About IBM
IBM is the world's largest information technology company, with 80 years of leadership in helping businesses innovate. Drawing on resources from across and key Business Partners, the company offers a wide range of services, solutions and technologies that enable customers, large and small, to take full advantage of the new era of e-business. For more information about IBM, visit

IBM, the IBM logo, PowerPC, and WebSphere are trademarks of International Business Machines Corporation in the United States and/or other countries. Java and all Java-based trademarks are trademarks of Sun Microsystems, Inc. in the United States, other countries, or both.

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