Linux Mobile on track

Posted by in Uncategorized

After delays on the part of the much awaited Android (see my original take on that here), one of the “other” Linux Mobile initiatives, namely the LiMo Foundation announced the release of its first version (“R1″) on schedule for March. The beta version of the respective APIs is available on their website immediately. They also said there would be sneak previews of all the good things at next week’s Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, and I will be sure to check it out!

The LiMo Foundation, which is backed by an impressive number of industry heavyweights (quite a few of which are also members of the Open Handset Alliance, the maker of Android), seems to be moving swiftly ahead, and their platform is, in their own words, basically the following:

“The LiMo Platform—leveraging standards and open-source projects—is a modular, plug-in-based, hardware-independent architecture built around an open operating system, with a secure run-time environment for support of downloaded applications. Linux was selected as the core technology for the LiMo Platform for its acceptability by the whole mobile industry, its rich functionality and scalability, its record of success in embedded systems and mobile phones and its potential to easily “cross-platformize” with other product categories.” Middleware components for the platform can apparently be implemented in either C or C++ programming languages.

What seems noteworthy is that the good folks at the foundation seem to have managed to leverage the substantial resource of its members. Its chairman praised “the transparent, balanced and harmonious contribution process [...].”

Just before Christmas, the third consortium, LiPS, had announced that its first release was now complete.

However, it would appear of not so much being a race of who is first but of who manages to deploy on most devices. Given the membership of the three consortia comprises most of the big players (with the notable absence of Nokia although its recently acquired Trolltech is a member of the LiMo Foundation; read the excellent analysis on that deal here), one might ask if would not be perhaps the best idea to merge the whole thing, and deploy one common platform. Wouldn’t that have real impact?