May 25, 2007

Linux powers SMS appliance

Davide Cantaluppi writes "Acme Systems has introduced a tiny Linux-based gateway that connects cellular SMS (simple message service) and TCP/IP networks. The SMS FoxBox integrates a quad-band GSM modem, offers web, email (smtp/pop3), and mysql interfaces, and supports local message storage through removable flash storage.

According to Acme, applications for the FoxBox include:

        * Radio or TV shows with live interaction with the public, such as real-time SMS polls
        * Data processing for alarms and measure/control units
        * Sending and receiving SMS from a web site
        * Mass SMS message distribution
        * Server control via SMS
        * SMS-based order processing systems

The FoxBox is based on Acme's FoxServe product, which adds a dynamic web server stack to the "GM" version of the company's original Acme Fox design. The board is powered by an Etrax 100LX. The module weds 8MB of flash and 32MB of RAM to Axis's Etrax 100LX, a highly integrated system-on-chip with a 32-bit, 100 MIPS (million-instructions-per-second) RISC core.

The FoxBox's I/O includes a 10/100 Ethernet port, along with a pair of USB 1.1 ports. The USB ports can support USB mass storage devices and wireless LAN or Bluetooth adapters. Alternatively, SD/MMC cards can be used to provide local message storage. The GSM Modem is a Telit GM 862 Quad Band attached using J6 and J7 on fox board (ttyS2 serial port).

On the software side, the FoxBox is based on a 2.6-series Linux kernel, with busybox providing a Linux-like shell environment. Standard software includes an SSH server, telnet server, SMS server, fetchmail, procmail, mailsend, PHP5, and an FTP server. Firmware is remotely upgradable via LAN, Web, FTP, or SSH. The APACHE web server serves the devices's primary UI.

The FoxBox's browser-based user interface offers various message management facilities, such as inboxes and outboxes, an addressbook with group messaging capabilities, tools for setting up an running polls, and configuration tools and logs. Additionally, a "Custom application" interface lets users write shell scripts and connect them to the system's event handler.

FoxBox Widget for MacOS X

Also available is a Mac OS X "widget" (pictured at right) that lets users read SMS messages on their desktop.


The FoxBox is available now, direct from Acme Systems, priced at 750 Euro (approx. $1,000)."

Click Here!