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First Wave Of Linux Mobile Handsets Unveiled

Working handsets and prototypes were shown by Motorola, NTT DoCoMo, Samsung, LG Electronics, Aplix' Opal, and Purple Labs.
The LiMo Foundation's members unveiled the first of their Linux-based mobile handsets at Monday's Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. The move could steal the thunder from Google's Android handsets, which are scheduled to make their debut in reference designs at the conference.

Motorola and NTT DoCoMo led the surge of working handsets with several devices each, while Samsung unveiled a single handset. LG Electronics, Aplix' Opal, and Purple Labs introduced prototype and reference handsets Monday.

The event holds special meaning for Motorola, because the company is considering spinning off its sagging handset unit. A successful introduction of LiMo handsets followed by consumer acceptance could help the troubled company turn around its largest unit.

Motorola introduced the Moto U9, Moto Z6w, MotoRokr Z6, Razr2 V8, Razr2 V8 Luxury Edition, and MotoRokr E8. Some of the form factors, particularly the Razr and Rokr models, will be familiar to consumers.

Motorola is a founding member of both the LiMo Foundation and the Android Open Handset Alliance.

"We look forward to the continued, rapid rollout of LiMo handsets, further expanding LiMo's market reach and unifying the Mobile Linux ecosystem," said Kiyohito Nagata of NTT DoCoMo, chairperson of the LiMo Foundation, in a statement. Nagata added that an embrace of the Linux software will lead to lower device development costs and quicker time-to-market.

NTT DoCoMo is demonstrating four Foma handsets from NEC and four from Panasonic Mobile Communications. Samsung is demonstrating its SGH-i800 model at the Barcelona exhibition.

Begun in January 2007, the LiMo Foundation has moved quickly to leverage standards and open-source projects; the modular platform is a plug-in-based and hardware-independent architecture built around Linux software. The foundation is open to virtually all companies in mobile communications, ranging from chipset and device manufacturers to independent software suppliers and third-party developers.

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