SuSE keen to get its Linux in handhelds

By Rick Perera, InfoWorld |  Hardware

NUREMBURG, GERMANY-BASED LINUX software distributor SuSE Linux has expressed an interest in developing operating systems for the growing market in handheld devices.

"Being a stable, flexible, and affordable operating system, Linux has without any doubt all chances to establish itself as a standard in this new market segment," said SuSE Chief Technical Officer Dirk Hohndel in a statement.

Hohndel stressed, however, that SuSE's core business targets will remain the server and desktop markets. "It is in this context that SuSE follows the developments in the handheld arena with great interest."

Hohndel said in November that he estimates Linux will capture 30 percent of the desktop market in the next two years, up from a current 5 percent to 8 percent. At present, the platform is most popular in the server segment.

Regarding handhelds, SuSE spokesman Wolfgang Herrmann said, "One prerequisite is that we have a good business model with this and that we can cooperate with the major hardware vendors, which of course would have to support this."

Asked whether manufacturers of handheld devices supported the company's efforts, Herrmann said, "Yes, we have indications, but I can't give any details."

He declined to say when development of such an operating system might take place, but added, "I'm sure there's more to come in the next months."

Currently, the market for handheld operating systems is dominated by Palm Computing's Palm operating system and Microsoft's Pocket PC platform.

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