Thursday, 4 September 2008

Wind River buys Mizi Research

Wind River announced it will acquire a Korean developer of Linux mobile GUI stacks. The $16 million acquisition of privately-held Mizi Research will bring Wind River "world-class mobile expertise" and will "accelerate its mobile services presence in Asia Pacific," says the company.

Founded in 1999, Mizi was among the first wave of companies attempting to commercialize embedded Linux. Today, it has 65 employees, and its Mizi mobile stack is integrated in 20 commercialized consumer electronics products, says Wind River.

Mizi is known primarily for its Prizm lightweight Linux-compatible stack, pictured above. Rev'd to Prizm 3.0 in May 2007, Prizm incorporates its own small-footprint, embedded graphics stack. This makes it a bit less customizable than GTK-based heavy stacks, but able to run faster on less expensive hardware. Prizm is supplied as an SDK (software development kit) based on an Eclipse 3.0 GUI framework. It supports both Linux and Windows development hosts.

In February, Mizi announced an "ultra low-cost" mobile phone reference design called the Mizi Prizm/Mobile (pictured at top). The hardware/software reference design supports CDMA, GSM, GPRS, and Edge cellular protocols, says Mizi, which also said it planned to add TV and GPS support. The phone will offer Mizi's application suite, including phone, multimedia, messaging, Internet, PIMs, and Java. Earlier this month, Mizi joined the LiMo Foundation, as part of the mass migration of former members of the now defunct Linux Phone Standards (LiPS) Forum.

Wind River, which with MontaVista is one of the two leading developers of Linux tools and kernel distributions, is a member of both the Open Handset Alliance's Google-sponsored Android platform and the LiMo Foundation. The company has provided foundational components for LiMo's common integration environment (CIE). The LiMo Foundation's growing list of members not only includes Mizi, but also two Korea-based handset manufacturers -- Samsung and LG -- both of which supply phones to fellow LiMo member Verizon Wireless.

Stated Wind River CEO Ken Klein, "We will benefit from their mobile expertise in areas such as telephony, feature-rich user interfaces, and multimedia, as well as their world-class mobile systems integrator expertise, complementing our current efforts across a variety of mobile alliances."

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