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Broadcom hooks up with Trolltech for Linux VoIP

Riding the LiMo

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Days after Trolltech announced it had signed up with LiMo Foundation, after dropping out of the LiPS Forum last year, it has signed a deal with Broadcom to optimise its code for the chip vendor's VoIP hardware.

Broadcom has several multimedia processors suited to low-power applications. This deal focuses on its VoIP (BCM1103) processor and latest multimedia co-processor (BCM1180), the combination of which enables everything from video conferencing to Gigibit Ethernet, which should indicate the range of devices that the companies will be targeting.

While it's possible to do VoIP, and even video conferencing, in software, having dedicated hardware reduces the power consumption massively, and can also enable devices without a high-end central processor. It does reduce flexibility to some extent - and can be more expensive - but the embedding of dedicated VoIP hardware should make VoIP more accessible for low-end devices, if properly supported by the software.

By working closely with Broadcom, Trolltech can be sure its platform properly supports the Broadcom chips, and the companies can pitch the combination of hardware and software to handset manufacturers.

Trolltech dropped out of LiPS last year, apparently as a result of that group selecting the GTK graphical layer rather than Trolltech's Qtopia product - though that is disputed by Trolltech, who claim they were frustrated by the slow speed of progress in LiPS.

LiMo certainly seems to be the faster-developing Linux platform, spurred on by the (still largely theoretical) threat from Google's Android, so Broadcom would do well to have their chips designed in. Still, claims that such a platform will make mobile-video conferencing a reality should be taken with the usual scepticism. ®

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