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2/4/2008
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LiMo Foundation Launches Its Mobile Linux Platform

The platform is likely to reach consumers before the Open Handset Alliance's Android project, which is the brainchild of Google.

The LiMo Foundation, a global consortium of mobile wireless firms, unveiled its Linux-based platform Monday and said it will be widely available in March.

Created a year ago by Motorola, NEC, NTT DoCoMo, Panasonic Mobile Communications, Samsung, and Vodafone Group, the consortium is aimed at providing a Linux software framework that can be quickly designed into handsets.

The guidelines specifying the operating system kernel and application rules are likely to reach consumers before the Open Handset Alliance's Android, which is the brainchild of Google. Android and LiMo share a few members so it's not clear whether the two approaches will compete with or complement each other.

"The LiMo Platform is being readied by mobile leaders working in unison to deliver an open handset platform for use by the whole industry," said Morgan Gillis, executive director of the LiMo Foundation, in a statement. "The first release of the LiMo platform combines technologies already extensively market proven within an array of leading handsets. This will enable initial LiMo handsets to register in the market place far more rapidly than handsets based on unproven technology."

Noting that the foundation is making platform APIs available to spread engagement of developer talent and innovation, Gillis said third-party developers can use LiMo's API specs to build new applications. The specifications are available in beta form; middleware components can be implemented in either C or C++, the foundation said.

NTT DoCoMo's Kiyohito Nagata, chairperson of LiMo Foundation, noted that a wide range of companies is currently working on Release 2 of the platform. In a statement, Nagata said, "The evolution of the platform is an ongoing process."

All vendors and service providers in mobile communications are eligible to join the foundation. Since its origins a year ago, the LiMo Foundation has added as many as 25 additional members.

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