TODAY AT THE Mobile World Congress, Marvell announced that it has followed Intel into the world of software, although this is a very different move than those of Intel in the past. Marvell has purchased a company called Kinoma Inc which has developed what is something we have quite hard to put a name to, but it’s sort of apps inside an app with a custom UI.
What Marvell is trying to offer its customers is a value add that it can provide alongside its SoC solutions that goes into smartphones and tablets. Interestingly enough, Marvell told us that Kinoma as the app is called will run not only on Android, but also on Symbian S60, Windows and Mac OS. In the latter two cases we’re not sure it’ll have any real value add, but it could potentially allow for some simpler UI’s for specific target markets.
We saw a demo where Kinoma was running atop Android on what seemed to be a pretty basic Android smartphone from Asus that we haven’t seen before. Kinoma seemed very snappy and although the UI seems to take a little to get used to, it’s the same across all of the apps inside Kinoma. You could even add Android apps to run from inside Kinoma which seemed quite odd, but we were told that Kinoma could be used as the main UI instead of the standard Android UI if the device manufacturer would like to do so. There’s also room for quite a lot of customization for Marvell’s partners and as Kinoma will be released under and open source license, anyone with the knowledge can have a play.
Some of the interesting aspects of Kinoma includes the way search works, as Kinoma will not just open up a search engine window, instead it’ll give you a list which contains information from a wide range of sources, including search engines, YouTube, various feeds, Live 365, Twitter and a wealth of other sources depending on your settings. It’s also meant to be easy to develop for Kinoma and Marvell will offer two different SDKs, one for developers and one for OEMs and manufacturers.
We’re not sure Kinoma will take off, but it’s an interesting take on things and with the right approach we can see some of the smaller smartphone makers potentially adopting it in lieu of something more complicated and expensive. Knowing the Taiwanese and in a way the Chinese device manufacturers, it’s all about cost and as Kinoma is, well free, it has a chance of being picked up simply based on this fact. It’s important to remember that Kinoma isn’t yet another smartphone OS though, it’s just an app that runs on top of the actual OS, but with a unified UI that may or may not make it easier to use the OS on the device that Kinoma runs on.S|A
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