IVT shipping Bluetooth software for Linux

A Chinese Bluetooth technology vendor released a new version of its Bluetooth application software for ultra-mobile PC users running the Linux operating system.

IVT Corp.’s BlueSoleil 5.0, which previously worked only with Windows 2000, XP and Vista, is now available for ultra-mobile devices with a basic Linux kernel of 2.6 and above. The version supports several flavours of Linux including Ubuntu, Debian, Moblin and Redflag.

The Linux version is designed to let users connect with local devices within a single window.

The general uptake of Linux is a driver behind porting BlueSoleil 5.0, which already boasts an installed base of 25 million users, said Alan Buckley, executive technical director with IVT. “We were expanding into different operating systems and Linux was going to obviously be an important one of those,” he said.

Besides, said Buckley, customers were requesting a Linux version specifically for the ultra-mobile PCs that have begun to emerge in the market.

Given the available resources of a large development team, Buckley said IVT can cater to specific customer requirements. For instance, a dedicated team that handles GUI customization services often receives requests for a variation of the classic view that illustrates the user’s device surrounded by orbiting Bluetooth devices.

Interoperability is an important product feature for IVT and it invests a lot of labour towards that goal, said Buckley, including working with Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG) and operating an interoperability lab in Beijing. The combination of which, he added, grants the company “a very interoperable piece of code.”

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But Daniel Kusnetzky, partner with Osprey, Florida-based consulting firm Kusnetzky Group LLC said that “true communication between devices goes far beyond merely getting everything to support a single radio signaling standard, such as Bluetooth.”

And while a user’s system is Bluetooth-enabled, it may not automatically communicate with all devices, he said. For instance, Windows Mobile, Symbian, Blackberry and Palm devices each support their own synchronization protocol.

“Unless they support them all, and quickly, a percentage of their target customers won’t be happy,” said Kusnetzky.

Interoperability is one feature that sets the Linux version apart from the Windows version, said Buckley. Switching mobile hardware often mandates changing the software suite accordingly, but the inclusion of a phone tool lets the user interconnect with “top” mobile phones to continue to manage e-mail, calendaring and contacts, as well as connect via a mobile device if working in the field.

“It gives your PC, your laptop or your ultra mobile device a lot of more functionality integrating with the mobile phone but it’s not specific to one brand or one make. It will work with the top percentages of mobile phones,” he said.

Interoperability across different mobile hardware is a challenge for mobile developers, said Buckley.

Currently, IVT is only offering the technology through original equipment manufacturers. It will eventually be available to the end user, although no date is yet set. The company has also done a lot of work with large PC vendors to incorporate the technology, said Buckley.

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