NEWS: Indian company offers Linux handheld to OEMs

NEWS: Indian company offers Linux handheld to OEMs

Post by F » Mon, 30 Jun 2003 01:06:40



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Message: 5
   Date: Sat, 28 Jun 2003 08:48:22 -0000

Subject: Indian company offers Linux handheld to OEMs

Bangalore-based Mistral Software has designed a Linux-based handheld
computer around the ARM9TDMI RISC (reduced instruction set computing)
processor from Samsung Electronics, that aims to target vertical
markets such as navigation, health care, logistics, and hospital
management.

"We have made the handheld very customizable, so that we can add
modules that make the product more suitable for a specific
application, without requiring a change in the basic platform," said
Anees Ahmed, president and chief executive officer of Mistral. "For a
customer in Europe, for instance, we have added a GPS (global
positioning system) module so that the device can be used for marine
navigation applications."

Called the "Smart Handheld" because it is highly customizable, the
device can be configured to incorporate a variety of modules, such as
support for GSM (Global System for Mobile Communications), 802.11 a/b
wireless LANs (local area networks), Bluetooth, MP3, PCMCIA (Personal
Computer Memory Card International Association), and a hard disk.

The Smart Handheld is one of a number of attempts by Indian designers
to build a handheld computer. Academics from the Indian Institute of
Science in Bangalore, for instance, teamed up with engineers from
Bangalore-based Encore Software Ltd. to design a Linux-based handheld
called the Simputer. However, the Simputer has not been successfully
commercialized because of inadequate resources for producing and
marketing the products.

Mistral is avoiding the high costs involved in producing, branding,
and marketing a product. The company is offering to customize and
license the design to OEMs (original equipment manufacturers), who
will manufacture and sell the product.

The "Smart Handheld" is positioned as a customizable platform for
multiple applications. "We are not in the PDA (personal digital
assistant) market, as that market is already cluttered," said Ahmed.
"While most PDA vendors have tried to address the vertical market with
a one-size-fits-all approach, we offer a design specific to each
vertical segment."

The basic platform, which operates as a full function PDA, can be
produced with a bill-of- materials (BOM) of about $130, according to
Ahmed.
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