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Key mobile Linux platform out in March

The LiMo Foundation's mobile Linux platform will be released in March, but the API set is available to developers now
Written by David Meyer, Contributor

The LiMo Foundation has announced the first release of its mobile Linux platform.

The foundation is one of several industry consortia seeking to create a standardised approach to Linux-based handsets. Its main rival at the moment is the LiPS Forum, which is focused on creating shared, open specifications. The members of LiMo, by contrast, have taken the approach of creating a shared, open platform upon which they can build proprietary applications. The LiPS Forum released its first set of specifications in December of last year.

Another major competitor is the Google-led Open Handset Alliance (OHA), although that organisation was only formed in November and has yet to make an impact.

On Monday, the LiMo Foundation said it would issue the first release of its platform in March. It also published the application programming interface (API) set for developers in advance of the platform's launch.

"What we're doing in this phase is to push the platform out to the whole industry," said LiMo's executive director, Morgan Gillis, on Thursday. Speaking to ZDNet.co.uk ahead of the platform announcement, Gillis said the API set was being made available immediately "in order to provide… developers with an opportunity to look inside the platform and formulate their own plans to target the LiMo platform as a channel to market".

Gillis explained that the technology within the first platform release had already been implemented in handsets created by its six founder members — Motorola, NEC, NTT DoCoMo, Panasonic, Samsung and Vodafone.

"In all of the major areas of the platform, this is technology which has been extensively market-proven," said Gillis.

Asked whether LiMo had been beaten to the punch by the LiPS Forum's release last December, Gillis said a platform release was more significant than producing specifications. "The punch is delivering a software platform and then bringing handsets into the hands of consumers," he said. "What LiMo produces is a real set of technologies which go straight into handsets and go straight out to developers to develop applications for those handsets."

Aside from its founders, other significant members of the LiMo Foundation include LG, McAfee, ARM, Ericsson, Huawei, Broadcom, NXP and Trolltech. Although anyone can develop applications for the LiMo platform, those manufacturers wishing to sell handsets using the platform need to first join the consortium.

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