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Verizon: LiMo Linux Is More Open Than Android

Earlier this week, Verizon Wireless joined the LiMo Foundation as a core member and took a seat on the organization's board of directors. It said it will use the LiMo Linux Platform as its preferred Linux OS in future devices, and implied that Google is too controlling over Android.
Earlier this week, Verizon Wireless joined the LiMo Foundation as a core member and took a seat on the organization's board of directors. It said it will use the LiMo Linux Platform as its preferred Linux OS in future devices, and implied that Google is too controlling over Android.Er, wait a minute here. Speaking to The Register, a Verizon Wireless spokesperson said, "We chose LiMo because it's a collaborative effort. It's not just one company runs the place. We like that. We like a collegial and collaborative effort, where there is no barrier to entry on the part of developers and, at the end of the day, there is no one entity that can say 'OK, here's how we were playing now. The rules are changed.' LiMo will be our preferred OS because of this openness."

So, Android and the Open Handset Alliance are apparently not as open as we all might like to believe. The spokesperson went on to infer that Google is really the Master Control Program running the show. He said, "Google said 'Here's the plan. Sign on the dotted line if you support.' " The implication is that Google and the OHA are not exactly working collaboratively at the moment, and that Google is retaining a measure of control over Android and its future.

Verizon's selection of LiMo Platform Linux is a bit of a slap in the face to Google, but not a surprising one. The two companies have been sparring over the idea of openness since Android was first announced, and Verizon first kicked off its Any Apps, Any Device campaign. Verizon did not, however, rule out the use of Android handsets altogether.

The spokesperson told The Register, "Today, we sell devices with several different operating systems, from Microsoft Windows Mobile to Palm to BREW to RIM. And we fully expect that a year from now [or] two years from now we will still have a complement of different OSes that meet different needs of end users." However, "It will probably be well into 2009 before end-users, consumers, and small business start seeing full-on Linux devices from us." The spokesperson reiterated that it is not counting Android out. "This is not an either/or proposition. We do believe that we will also offer devices with the Android OS -- that our customers will want them and that we will be delighted to offer them."

The good news is that Verizon is banking on Linux for the future OS of its devices. Verizon did not say that Linux will replace the proprietary operating system that is used on most of its feature phones, but that would certainly be a welcome change. Its proprietary OS is getting a bit long in the tooth, no matter how much Verizon dresses it up with new icons and flashy animations. BREW is an able platform for content delivery, but Linux is much more powerful and has more potential not just to supply users with content, but applications as well.

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