Services : What problem can we help solve?
Blue Mug has helped device manufacturers develop key applications such
as email clients, web browsers, image editors, games, PIMs, and system
configuration utilities. We can help anyone create custom applications
for the large and rapidly growing installed base of wireless mobile
Blue Mug maintains development skills on all major wireless platforms,
- PALM OS: Thanks to Palm's emphasis on both wireless devices
and wireless accessories, each of the 25 million PalmOS devices in
service world-wide has the capability to be a wireless platform. Blue
Mug is a registered PalmSource developer.
- BREW: Qualcomm's new "Binary Runtime Environment for
Wireless" promises to make every phone based on a Qualcomm chip set a
wireless application platform. Blue Mug attended the May 2001 launch
of BREW at the BREW 2001 Developer and 3G Technical Conference, and we
are just now completing our first BREW applications. Look for Blue Mug
"True BREW certified" applications from a carrier near you later this
- I-MODE / IAPPLI: Japan's dominant carrier DoCoMo has made
i-mode (and its iappli service for downloadable J2ME applets) the de
facto wireless platform in Japan. Blue Mug's team, with over six
years of continuous project experience in the Japanese wireless
market, has worked closely with i-mode and iappli developers to help
them bring their applications to market.
- J2ME: Sun's "Java 2 Micro Edition" provides a consistent
development platform for a wide array of phones, PDAs, and air
interfaces. Blue Mug developers have been working with Java since its
first release, when we integrated the JVM and all the PersonalJava
class libraries (including AWT) with GEOS-SC and ported it to the ARM
platform. We continue to maintain our Java expertise, and will soon
release certified J2ME applications for Nextel iDEN phones.
- WAP: The WAP Forum's "Wireless Application Protocol" has become a de
facto standard for wireless web access from mobile phones in the Americas
and Europe, with over 50 certified WAP phone models to choose from. Blue
Mug's experience in small-screen user interface design can help you tailor
a web solution for phone access.
If you're considering deploying wireless applications, Blue Mug can
help you understand your choices and the issues you might face. For
- Capabilities of the underlying technologies, from the basic wireless
medium to the application-level protocol.
- Choice of a platform or set of platforms for your application.
- Integration of client-side applications with a central server.
- Data and communication security, on the device and over the network.
- User interface design, to provide a great
user experience with limited screen space and input methods.
- Working with cellular operators to get your application deployed.
We have done ports to XScale, StrongArm, ARM, x86, MIPS, M32R, and
SH-3 processor families and reference boards. We also have experience
with microcontroller architectures such as the Atmel AVR and Intel
We can help:
- Validate hardware design
- Set up tools for cross-compilation and debugging
- Port OS to target CPU
- Write drivers
We have written device drivers for various peripherals for all classes
of device. We are intimately familiar with:
- Flash storage
Blue Mug's position of independence and expertise make it an invaluable
3rd party for consulting on strategic decisions. For example, Palm
solicited our review of the BeOS acquisition. We researched the
technologies, met with the teams, and published our report, maintaining
impeccable professional discretion throughout.
Given that device complexity is growing so rapidly,
maintaining a proprietary code base often becomes too expensive and
time-consuming. Many manufacturers are leaning toward a "Mixed Model"
of combining stable Open Source software with proprietary
modules. They can devote less effort to core maintenance and focus on
the technologies that distinguish their product.
This "Mixed Model" raises several key issues, however.
Blue Mug has experience solving these problems.
- IP protection vs. GPL - how to keep modules proprietary?
- How to integrate with and leverage the open source development community?
- How to structure the new code base to ensure future upgrades are compatible?
Deciding whether to move forward with a new technology or product
design can be tremendously difficult. Blue Mug has helped with such
situations in the past by creating demonstration platforms or
evaluation units. We can quickly customize the necessary hardware and
software that will allow you to collect the data you need to make theright decision:
- Performance estimates (CPU, RAM, ROM, power/battery life, etc.)
- Usability (UI mockups, product walkthroughs, focus group testing)
- Project scoping (total amount of work, staffing structure,
necessary skills, suggested milestones)
In a similar vein, Blue Mug can help show off your technology to
prospective customers by creating a custom demonstration or evaluation
unit. Using our experience with a number of different platforms, we
can work with you to design a truly compelling demo experience for
Check out two of our past prototyping projects, Typesoft's Vera and the Buck Rogers technology
Engineers at Blue Mug have been developing and modifying graphical
consumer operating systems for over 15 years. This long history has
taught us about what it takes to create a feature-rich product in a
severely resource-limited environment. We've worked with Palm
OS, Symbian OS, GEOS-SC, RTOSes, and and
in-house systems. We've created OSes that fit in less than
500kB while offering color graphics, sophisticated databases, and
removable media. We know how to program for CPU, RAM, and power
efficiency. We understand the extreme quality requirements for
embedded products, especially those that are shipped on mask ROMs. And
we can bring all this knowledge to bear on your project, too.
We're uniquely suited to answer your questions about selecting an operating
system because we fully understand the market and technologies yet have no
We have direct system software development experience in the
following technical areas:
- CPU Ports
- Hardware Abstraction. Clean driver interface design for multi-product
support, quick ports, and strong peripheral support including definition of
a Hardware Abstraction Layer (HAL).
- Real Time. Implementation of a Real Time Operating System (RTOS), soft
real time enhancements to a general purpose OS as well as operation of a
general purpose OS over a Real Time OS which included development of
"split-level" drivers operating partially in the general purpose OS layer
and partly in the RTOS layer.
- Low Level Software. Device drivers, boot loaders
(e.g. Hermit), and
other low level hardware control software, including drivers for LCD
displays, UARTs, IR, flash-ROMs, timers, power management and
proprietary hardware components, C Library miniaturization
- Power Management. Central power management system for setting minimal
system, CPU, LCD and other peripheral power states based on combined user,
application, driver and kernel requirements.
- XIP. (eXecute in Place) of OS and applications out of ROM.
- File Systems. RAM, ROM and flash-ROM based file systems.
- Dynamic Loading. Small kernel plus demand-loaded, dynamically linked and
versioned libraries for other system software, applications, and resources.
Dynamic linking and loading system for after-market libraries and
applications designed for use on multiple processor families
- Internet Communications. TCP/IP networking with BSD networking stack,
including core functionality of networking stack, port of BSD networking to
embedded OS, and PPP and PPTP network interface drivers. SSL. HTTP 1.0 and
- Network Management. Access Point multiple network interface management
- Messaging. Internet mail protocols such as SMTP and POP3 and parsers for
RFC822 and MIME messages, IMAP, SMS, proprietary messaging on NTT DoCoMo
cellular network, and interoperability testing, Universal inbox support.
- Telephony. General-purpose multi-network telephony API for use by 3rd
party applications across multiple platforms
- Window Systems. Advanced window system capabilities (multi-layer,
arbitrarily shaped (non-rectangular) windows, software and hardware
transparency support, save-under, backing store, redraw optimization)
- Graphics Systems. Rich graphic capability with scaling,
rotation, outline fonts, paste-inside, etc. Bitmap format and depth
conversion, scaling and smoothing, software and hardware transparency
support. Multiple color depths. GIF, JPEG. Image effects. Background
image decoding. Framebuffers.
- User Interface Technology. Patent development (authoring of Geoworks'
"Flexible UI" U.S. Patent #5,327,529), Gtk+, PicoGUI. QT/E, Palm UI.
- Database Storage Systems. Consistent PIM database with built-in
synchronization primitives and guaranteed space support.
- Component Models. Component application model of highly re-usable rich UI
(e.g., entire View menu) and data (e.g., multi-page rich text) objects,
with automatic discovery and interconnection of components for "plug &
play" application development
- Java and other Virtual Machine systems. Full
Personal Java port with native thread and shared memory, Java
extensions for OS-specific components. Optimization of interpreters
and virtual machines, both in execution speed and size of interpreted
Some of the operating systems we've done system-level development work on
- GEOS-SC: a platform-independent, compact OS targeted at smart
phones (core OS development, UI and graphics system, database,
communications, tools, applications)
- µITRON compliant RTOS: a hard real-time OS written for phones
(implementation of µITRON API, hardware port, GEOS-SC port and
- Linux: Open Source OS used in both enterprise and embedded
environments (hardware port, kernel patches, tools, embedded
customizations, custom UI, applications)
- GEOS: one of the first graphical OSes for the PC market, and the
top-selling OS for the Commodore64 (core OS development, UI, tools,
Blue Mug is an excellent resource for outsourcing all or part of your
development, whether you need one part-time engineer or a full
team. We bring over 15 years of experience in the embedded software
field, primarily focused in the wireless handheld space. Our software
design, review, and management
practices are without peer. We can interface with globally distributed
teams or work independently. We find the tools and methodologies that
fit with your team and create an overall development model that will
revitalize your organization from the ground up.
The challenges in creating a truly great user experience are unique to
each form factor and application. Blue Mug's designers have created
interfaces for a variety of different situations:
- Cellular handsets with tiny screens and keypad-only input
- Mobile device applications with pen-only and keyboard-only
- Full-size, multi-window PC applications
It requires tremendous foresight and meticulous attention to detail to
design and implement an interface that is friendly, appropriate to a
particular device, and easy to learn. Blue Mug has experience at every
stage of the UI design process:
- Selecting appropriate device I/O parameters
- Brainstorming solutions to usability issues
- User interface mock-ups
- Static images
- Walk-through demos
- Style guide for an entire device
- Widget toolkit
- Selecting and modifying existing options
- Creating a new toolkit
We would be happy to design a UI or toolkit from scratch, or work
with you to refine your existing UI for maximum usability.
Wireless communication capabilities can make a portable device
incalculably more powerful and useful. 802.11, Bluetooth, IRDA, and
cellular communications are each appropriate for a particular set of
usage circumstances (connection speed, cost per Kb, n-way
vs. peer-to-peer, range). Some devices with multiple wireless
interfaces even allow a seamless "hand-off" between two networks,
i.e. use 802.11b when near a hot-spot, otherwise use cellular.
It can be tricky to add these technologies to a product in a slick,
user-friendly way. There are subtle difficulties with switching
networks, discovering access points, conserving power, interacting
with the operating system, and shutting down connections.
Blue Mug has extensive experience with each of the aforementioned
wireless technologies. We know how to work with cellular operators and
hardware manufacturers. We know how to approach the low-level OS and
driver tasks as well as how to address the higher-level usability concerns
that develop when wireless capabilities are added.