The LiMo Foundation, the promoter of the Linux-based smartphone platform, says that at least three major operators are on track to launch LiMo phones later this year. Morgan Gillis, executive director at the LiMo Foundation, told the Reuters Global Technology Summit this week that operators France Telecom (Orange), Telefonica, Verizon Wireless and SK Telecom are all planning to introduce new models using the alternative operating system by year-end. Vodafone is the only major operator to have supported the platform to date. “The first one was Vodafone and three other carriers will follow this year,” said Gillis. Sixty LiMo handsets have been launched to date, mostly in Japan and South Korea, but the platform is struggling to keep pace with rivals such as Google’s Android (which is also Linux-based) and Apple’s iPhone.
Mobile operators are thought to favour LiMo because it gives them more control over handset software. While Gillis notes that he expects consolidation in mobile operating systems, he predicts that LiMo should survive because it is fully independent. “I think that the eventual number of industry device operating systems will be no more than five, probably four,” Gillis said. “Within that… one platform that is not owned by any one company… LiMo is definitely a candidate to perform that role.” He added Symbian, Android, Windows and Apple were the most likely candidates for other positions.