As rival Linux-based operating system (OS) Android gains further traction this week, the LiMo Foundation – the consortium behind mobile OS LiMO – has announced the imminent availability of its new R3 platform, new LiMo handsets (from ELSE, NEC and Panasonic Mobile Communications) and new members including ELSE and Adobe.
Arguably the biggest news for the Foundation this week though is the formation of the Wholesale Applications Community. There had been question marks about the relevance of the LiMo Foundation dedicated to creating an open, hardware-independent, Linux-based operating system for mobile devices given Android’s arrival on the scene.
Morgan Gillis, executive director of the Foundation, said yesterday: “We can see the outline of the mobile digital economy. The operators, especially the large operators, are assuming roles as outlets for media and have been joined in very strong competition by visionary entrants in the form of Google, Apple and Nokia in its new guise as a service company.”
He added: “The entrants are competing as outlets and competing through their own device platforms, obviously seeking to create valuable linkages between the outlets and the platforms to drive efficiency and commercial return on investment. The mobile industry hasn’t followed the PC industry and fallen into anti-trust traps. Nevertheless, there is a clear linkage between the outlet and device platforms.
“This week the Wholesale Applications Community has emerged. It is virtually the entire industry collaborating on the wholesale infrastructure which sits behind the networks that are the distribution channels. We see a deep, powerful, long term affinity between LiMo and the Community. There is substantial overlap in terms of the main companies that are driving the initiatives. Both are truly open. LiMo intends to work very closely and practically with the new group to provide a much better way of working inside the mobile industry for applications developers, service providers and media providers of all kinds.”
Morgan said that Orange will produce commercial LiMo handsets this year, as will Verizon and Telefonica. The latter “will introduce different handsets for different markets, but they want a common technology platform to deploy a service experience across all their customers,” said Gillis. LiMo is deployed in Japan by NTT Docomo, SK Telecom in South Korea and is being rolled out across Europe by Vodafone as the technology underpinning its 360 brand and service strategy, which is scheduled to go global.