Not to be outdone by Access, Motorola held their own developer event, MotoDev Workshop, at LinuxWorld today. It was much better attended than the Access get together with a SRO crowd of about 100 people. It probably helped that Motorola made the event free at the last minute (vs the advertised $95), included lunch and had signs up all over Moscone Center promoting the Workshop. There were a couple of significant announcements. The long promised, oft delayed SDK for native C++ development on Linux handsets was finally released and Moto also rolled out the WebUI widget platform built on the WebKit browser engine which will be shipping on MOTOMAGX Linux handsets in the near future.
Motorola now offers four separate versions of the Eclipse based Motodev Studio SDK and IDE; one each for Java ME, UIQ, native Linux and Widget development. All are free downloads at developer.motorola.com.The Widget and Linux editions are technology previews and can’t deploy code to an actual device yet. Lori Fraleigh, Manger of Developer Tools did demonstrate creating a Widget and running it on a handset with unreleased firmware. In the case of the Widgets there aren’t any shipping MOTOMAGX phones with the WebKit browser yet so the limitation is understandable.
I’m not sure why MOTOMAGX handsets can’t actually run native applications built with the Linux version of MOTODEV Studio. Fraleigh in her presentation implied that both a new version of Motodev Studio and new handset firmware were required. I’d think that if the toolset produces valid binary code which runs in the emulator, there ought to be some way to get it on the handset. I bet the Motorola Linux hackers who hang out at MotorolaFans.com will figure out a way to get around this limitation long before Motorola releases a fully functional development environment. It also sounds like the SDK only supports the new MOTOMAGX (aka Linux/Java) platform, not the EZX one that Motorola has been using since 2003 and which accounts for most of the 14 million Linux handsets Motorola has shipped, mainly in the Far East.
MOTOMAGX is an interesting platform in that it extends Linux to high volume feature phones like the MOTORAZR2, PEBL U9 and MOTOROKR Z6 and E8. One thing that will hold MOTOMAGX back is the lack of 3G support something that Motorola reperesentatives assured me will be corrected soon.