A former Motorola executive has started up a Shanghai-based company manufacturing Linux-based smartphones. The company, E28, unveiled in Hong Kong on Monday its first product running Linux - the e2800. Of the five people in E28's management team, three worked for Motorola's Personal Communications Systems (PCS) division in Asia-Pacific before joining E28. This includes Roger Kung, founder and chief executive of E28, who was president of Motorola PCS Asia Pacific until October last year. Chief technology and platform officer Nathan Wang was formerly general manager at Motorola's PCS division for end-to-end solutions until the same time. The E28 resembles the Motorola A760, which was launched in September. A comparison of the two phones showed similarities in design although the user interfaces differed. Both are dual-band phones with similar-sized touch screens and specifications. However, the e2800 features more memory, an SD card slot and, according to Mr Kung, does not run Trolltech's Qt/Embedded application development framework as used in the A760. Mr Kung said the e2800 was developed over 10 months by the company's engineering team. He said he was unfamiliar with the A760, as he was management and not engineering. Motorola Asia-Pacific's regional spokesperson Jeanette Tan acknowledged the two phones were similar, saying: 'We haven't found anything infringing at this point as Java Linux is in no way proprietary to anyone.' Mr Kung said: 'We believe Linux is best positioned for the consumer or mass market because of its flexibility. For the business or enterprise segment, we might port to Microsoft's platform in the future. 'The E28 vision is that the smartphone will become the device people will carry with them all the time in the future. It will be a phone, a PDA, an entertainment centre and a portable storage device. We believe very strongly that this will be the trend.' Since its launch in the mainland two months ago, the 5,000 yuan multilingual e2800 had sold 40,000 units, Mr Kung said. The A760 sells for $3,580. The e2800 is expected to sell in Hong Kong for less than $3,500. While focused on China and Hong Kong, the e2800 would be launched in some Southeast Asian markets next year, Mr Kung said. Also in the pipeline are three Linux-based smartphones aimed at the United States and European markets. One will be an updated version of the e2800 while the others will support GPRS and EDGE. Mr Kung said there were no plans to launch a 3G phone until 2005. Taiwanese computer maker Inventec is E28's largest shareholder.