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Mobile consortium releases first Linux platform

The first release of the LiMo Foundation's mobile Linux platform has appeared, and silicon heavyweight Texas Instruments has joined the consortium

The LiMo Foundation released the first full version of its platform on Monday, as it welcomed a major new member on board.

Chipmaker Texas Instruments (TI) will be joining another processor manufacturer, ARM, in LiMo, the largest mobile Linux consortium. TI, however, is joining at the "core member" level — a superior position to the "associate member" status enjoyed by ARM.

LiMo announced the platform's imminent release at the start of February. The first release (R1) of the platform is an aggregation of some of the mobile Linux technology that LiMo's original founder members — including Motorola, Vodafone, NEC, Panasonic, Samsung and NTT DoCoMo — have already used in currently available handsets.

According to LiMo's director of global marketing, Andrew Shikiar, R2 of the platform will include contributions "from the complete set of LiMo members". Unlike Google's Android project, which is a complete software stack, LiMo's is a middleware platform, allowing members of the consortium to add their own proprietary applications on top. The middleware approach also makes it possible to run Linux applications on proprietary platforms such as Windows Mobile.

"We see the news that R1 is completed as very significant step forward," Shikiar told ZDNet.co.uk last week. "We met our schedule for development of our software [and] hundreds of millions of dollars of intellectual property [have been combined] to create a common platform." Shikiar said that member LG currently has a reference handset using R1 functionality.

LiMo has also released an application programmer interface (API) set for developers who want to target the platform. According to Shikiar, a full software development kit (SDK) will follow in the second half of this year.

Asked whether R2 of the platform would have contributions from all LiMo members, Shikiar stressed that "some companies are not involved to contribute, but more to have a peek inside the code and optimise their own value-added products". However, he refused to name which members were not contributing code to the wider LiMo community.

Shikiar also said the addition of TI to LiMo "brings experience, influence and perspective to the organisation".

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