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Qt Embedded - 10th Birthday

Today marks the 10th Birthday of Qt Embedded! It was 10 years ago today that we first came up with the notion of an "embedded" version of Qt to serve the industrial sector and the infant higher-end handheld/CE market. At the time, the project was called "Qt/FB" (Qt for FrameBuffers).

This first version of Qt Embedded was built around the idea of a QPaintDevice for QImage. This notion (through multiple rewrites) eventually developed into some of the biggest architectural improvements in cross-platform Qt: generalized paint engines (the raster paint engine being the "frame buffer" one); window surfaces/backingstore; and Alien (non-native child widgets). These were critical improvements that then opened the door for easier platform porting (Mac OS X and Symbian/S60 benefit much from them), and accelerated paint engines, and now graphics systems, for OpenGL and OpenVG.

From simple beginnings on iPAQ and Cassiopeia handhelds and industrial devices, then, as the foundation for Qtopia, on the Zaurus and eventually phones like the Greenphone and the Neo and various cool consumer electronics devices (some of which we could never tell you about), Qt Embedded functionality was ever richer.

Embedded targets have changed a lot in 10 years - OpenGL ES is now commonplace, and the "PDA" has been completely hybridized into mobile phones. Touch screen quality and user-expectations for beautiful fluid interfaces now well-exceeding the demands on the desktop, creating ever more challenges.

We have learned a huge amount in this time about what it takes to put Qt on the "low end". Paul's recent blog entry about Lighthouse shows how the learning is still bubbling away, and with Qt for Symbian S60, Qt for Windows CE, and Qt for X11 on Maemo devices, the low end will of course remain a very important focus for us, with performance in all parts of Qt a key concern - bringing benefits to all Qt platforms, including the desktop.


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