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Friday, 27 June 2008 05:43

LiPS licked, joins LiMo to progress Linux handset platform

In the wake of this week's formation of the Symbian Foundation, the LiPS Forum one of two organisations set up to develop Linux-based open handset platforms, has thrown in the towel and joined the other, the LiMo Foundation.

The Linux Phone Standards (LiPS) Forum said that its activities and membership would be folded into LiMo Foundation immediately. "This pooling of efforts and resources reflects the industry-wide trend towards unification of Linux-based mobile telephony platforms and will serve to accelerate the emergence of common mobile Linux specifications and implementation," it said. "It will also bolster the emerging mobile Linux developer community and support the creation of a range of new applications, services and end-user experiences."

The move will encompass LiPS Forum members from across the mobile ecosystem including chipset suppliers, Linux OS and mobile stack vendors, handset designers and OEMs and regional and global wireless operators. It follow separate announcements this week by individual LiPS members that have joined the LiMo Foundation: ACCESS, ARM Limited, Azingo, France Telecom / Orange, Huawei Technology, MontaVista Software, Inc., NXP Semiconductors, Open-Plug, Purple Labs and Texas Instruments.

"LiPS Forum is proud of our standardisation efforts, development activities and other achievements of the last three years," said Haila Wang, LiPS Forum president and CTO of Orange Labs in Beijing. "Today, our membership agrees that LiPS' greatest impact can be realised by adding our members' expertise and resources to LiMo Foundation. Together, the member companies can better strive for a unified and ubiquitous Linux-based mobile platform."

The LiPS Forum was founded in November 2005 to help accelerate the adoption of Linux in fixed, mobile and converged devices. Founding members, lead by France Telecom came from across the mobile ecosystem: ACCESS, ARM Limited, Cellon International, Esmertec, France Telecom / Orange, Huawei Technologies, MIZI Research, MontaVista Software, Open-Plug and VirtualLogix. It goal was to "promote development and deployment of applications and services on Linux phones through standardisation."

The LiMo Foundation was founded in January 2007 by Motorola, NEC, NTT DoCoMo, Panasonic Mobile Communications, Samsung Electronics and Vodafone. In April 2008 it released, on schedule, The LiMo Platform Release 1 , claiming it to be is the world's first globally competitive, Linux-based software platform for mobile devices.

Executive director, Morgan Gillis said: "With Release 1 of the LiMo Platform now completed, LiMo Foundation has established a scalable and sustainable mobile device platform that will spur rapid innovation and contributions from all LiMo member."

This week he welcomed formation of the Symbian Foundation saying: "This development is not at all unexpected and we are pleased to see another organisation recognising that openness and collaboration are undeniable forces that will enable the next generation of mobile devices, applications and services."

Taking Symbian out of proprietary ownership is a natural evolution for the organisation because the future of the handset OS is far more about governance than technology – the role of the handset OS is now to mediate the inter-operation of diverse technologies, content and business models seeking to converge upon the device and this simply cannot happen under traditional commercial governance."
Meanwhile the other main contender in the open handset platform stakes, the Google-backed Android, is said to be running late.

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