ARM, IBM, others team up to promote mobile Linux

ARM, IBM, Texas Instruments and several other technology firms are forming a software joint venture to accelerate the development of smartphones, tablets and other products running on variants of the Linux platform.

The venture, called Linaro, also counts Samsung, Freescale and ST-Ericsson as key backers, and hopes to simplify the development process for Linux-based operating systems, which include Google's Android platform and Palm's (NASDAQ:PALM) webOS. Linaro will develop key parts of the operating systems and programming tools, initially based on ARM's designs.

The move could represent a counterpunch to Intel's plans to invest more heavily in the mobile market. Intel is positioning its Atom-based chips as an alternative to ARM's architecture. However, Intel has consistently trailed behind the likes of Qualcomm (NSYE:QCOM), Texas Instruments, Marvell and Nvidia, which use low-powered architecture from ARM.

"We had a lot of feedback from manufacturers that they really wanted to use ARM chips but the complexity was a challenge. Most of them are coming from an Intel environment where you don't have all those variants," Ben Cade, co-CEO of Linaro, told the Financial Times. "We got a lot of feedback to say: 'Help us speed up the adoption process.'"

For more:
- see this WSJ article (sub. req.)
- see this FT article

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