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Case Studies : Mobile Linux Data Device

Customer: Startup (we cannot disclose until ship)
Industry: Mobile consumer electronics
Solution: Linux convergence device

Mobile Data Device

Profile:

A product startup client had a hardware idea and approached Blue Mug to architect and implement the device software.

Technical Challenge:

Two important factors were low cost-of-goods and integrated connectivity. The target hardware had an ARM7 CPU (processing power of a 100Mhz Pentium), 8MB flash and 16MB of RAM, with Ethernet, IR, and PCMCIA connectivity.

Blue Mug was responsible for designing a solution that could run efficiently on this hardware, with a minimum of software and development cost.

Blue Mug Solution:

We quickly agreed to leverage the product against Open Source software. Linux is free and provides most of the infrastructure needed for a communication-centric device.

To support our customers' business model of licensing completed device software, Blue Mug crafted a plan for developing a proprietary, licensable software layer to operate over the Open Source (Linux) software base. The end result allowed our customer to retain a competitive advantage in its market while leveraging the strengths of the underlying Linux OS.

With ownership concerns dealt with, we next addressed the issue of Linux's size - could this full-featured OS be shrunk down to meet the small footprint requirements of an inexpensive mobile device? Concentrated efforts on key libraries demonstrated that yes, it was quite possible.

The unique screen size and input paradigm led us to create an easy-to-use custom UI. We developed and released low-level tools to download Linux to our prototype hardware, and contributed to the kernel port for our target hardware. Anticipating potential usability headaches, we designed an infrastructure that flawlessly switches connectivity methods as needed.

In only a few months, our small team of engineers assembled a prototype with our custom UI, application infrastructure, and full connectivity.

Benefits:

Blue Mug was uniquely suited to this project. We have years of experience building a range of embedded devices, we understand Open Source, and we can nimbly adapt to any challenge.