Intel and Nokia Back oFono,  An Open-Source Telephony Solution

oFono is an open source architecture and implementation for GSM/3G mobile telephony. The goal is to get the community to participate in a complete software stack that anyone could subsequently use as long as they abide by the GPL licensing conditions.

The vision of oFono is to provide:

“an easy to use interface that can be used to create rich telephony applications without requiring one to have a deep understanding of the underlying technology and its limitations. To accomplish this, oFono provides language-independent D-Bus API that is extremely easy to use without generated bindings or other ‘messy’ steps typically required to use an IPC based API.”

Intel is looking at entering the mobile phone market in the long-run, so supporting this project will let it learn a great deal as main processors take over baseband processors. In the meantime, this might be used in a MID, or a Netbook – may be. It is a bit more difficult to know why Nokia is backing this project, but right now, Symbian might a decent market share, but remember that before the iPhone and Android, Symbian’s share was sky-high. From where we stand, we think that Nokia is simply trying to grab every bit of innovation it can, and it knows that the Open Source community is a good source for that.

The single largest issue with mobile platforms is fragmentation and this seems to fragment things a little more, unless phone makers adopt it in mass. The issue with that is that low-end phones have relatively small computing power and that’s where phone makers use custom-built software, because it does not have all the layers and complexity of a smarter OS.

Handset makers might shy away from costly proprietary software as hardware gets better. oFono will make things easier, or simply possible, because it is open source and seemingly well built. We’ll keep an eye on this unique effort.

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