MWC 2008: Will the LiMo Foundation pip Google's Android to the open-source post?

Gadget Shows, Mobile phones, Mobile World Congress 2008

<img style=”margin:5px; float: left;
alt=”limo-foundation.jpg” src=”” width=”233″ height=”58″ />The LiMo Foundation looks set to be a major thorn in Google’s Android side, with a couple of major announcements tipped to occur at MWC.

For those unfamiliar with the LiMo Foundation, it’s an alliance of manufacturers formed over a year ago, which has the same common aim as the Open Handset Alliance spearheaded by Google, of creating open mobile software platforms.

“[LiMo] is a very practical initiative, but also a deeply philosophical one, based upon the belief that openness in handsets delivers value to consumers,” Morgan Gillis, LiMo’s executive director, said recently about the alliance, which includes massive manufacturers such as Motorola, Panasonic, NEC, Samsung, NTT DoCoMo, Vodafone and Matsushita. 18 handsets have already been announced for the platform, with Motorola’s Motorokr and Razr2 being such mentionables.

With Google’s team of 34 mobile and technology companies, and it being Google, after all, it’s understood they have more ground than the LiMo Foundation, however the Open Handset Alliance has seen a couple of hitches since they first announced the project in November. The competition they announced, for developers to design ‘innovative and useful’ Android-based mobile apps, has been put back to mid-April, as a result of this. Adding to their woes, several key companies in the Open Handset Alliance are also in LiMo’s, namely Motorola, NTT DoCoMo and Samsung.

It’s rumoured that LiMo will be announcing nine new members to their Foundation, adding up to an impressive 32 in total. Whilst LG is not officially a member of the alliance, they’re to show off a prototype Linux-based LiMo phone at MWC this week.

It’s admirable that so many companies are wishing to create an open source environment in which to create mobile handsets, but surely LiMo and Google should practise what they preach and start working alongside one another, particularly with reports Nokia is to build their own platform, based on their purchase of the software developer Trolltech, which also belongs to the LiMo Foundation.

Google Android
LiMo Foundation (via Forbes)

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Katherine Hannaford
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