Sabtu, 31 Mei 2008

Hoping to give Linux a boost on mobile devices, several hardware and software vendors including Verizon Wireless and the Mozilla Foundation on Wednesday signed on to join the LiMo (Linux Mobile) Foundation.

In addition to Verizon Wireless and Mozilla, new members joining LiMo include Infineon Technologies, Kvaleberg AS, Red Bend Software, Sagem Mobiles, SFR, and SK Telecom.

"Verizon Wireless is committed and invested in encouraging innovation, providing developers the opportunity to deliver wireless choices and expanding the mobile market," said Kyle Malady, the firms vice president of network, in a statement. "We expect our involvement with LiMo to advance these principles."

When will the first Verizon handsets based on LiMo appear? Malady said its first LiMo phones will likely appear next year, relatively simple designs before smart phones work their way up the Verizon food chain later.

The global consortium of mobile wireless firms was created a year ago by Motorola, NEC, NTT DoCoMo, Panasonic Mobile Communications, Samsung, and Vodafone Group with the goal of providing a Linux software framework that can be quickly designed into handsets. The group competes directly with the Open Handset Alliance (OHA) a Google-backed consortium that rallies around its Android software.

"It is now clear that LiMos transparent and participative governance model and total focus on the handset operating system -- which are designed to avoid value-chain distortion -- are proving to be very attractive to the whole industry, Morgan Gillis, executive director of the LiMo Foundation said in a statement."

The decision by Verizon Wireless to join the LiMo Foundations "open and transparent governance model" intensifies the war of nerves between Verizon and Google over exactly which firm will have the more "open" cell phone service.

The two firms have been sparing for months over the so-called openness of cell phone service with Google earlier this month agitating Verizon by asking the FCC to require the carrier to make certain that there will be open access to Verizons recently-acquired 700MHz spectrum.

Now Verizon has responded indirectly Wednesday by becoming the first U.S. major wireless carrier to join the LiMo Foundation and becoming a core member and a board member of the foundation, which pledges to deliver an open handset software platform based on Mobile Linux. Although Google is neither cell phone service provider nor handset supplier, its Android OHA follows the search engine firms version of an open architecture.

Sprint Nextel and T-Mobile are members of the OHA group while AT&T hasnt joined either organization. Since both OHA and Limo have open memberships, carriers and handset developers could join at a later date.

For instance, AT&Ts Mobility CEO Ralph De La Vega has said his firm may provide phones for the OHA and Verizon Wireless has said it wont rule out providing products for OHA.

Both OHA and LiMo have reported progress. The LiMo Foundation has been making APIs available to its members for several weeks. Gillis said recently that because early releases of the foundations platform will include technology and designs already proven in the marketplace, the LiMo releases should get to the marketplace quickly.

As for the OHA, its leaders have predicted that early Android handsets will appear by the end of the year.

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