LiMo gets new members, handsets

August 5, 2008 | 11:58

Tags: #handset #limo #operating-system #os #phone #phones #telephone

Companies: #limo-foundation

Linux as a valid platform for mobile handsets got a boost this weekend with the announcement of a veritable plethora of new inductees to the LiMo Foundation.

According to news over on CNet, the Foundation – founded to “create an open, Linux-based software platform for use by the whole global industry” - has opened its doors to eleven new members, taking the total to over fifty companies. While many of the names involved – such as the Finland-based Movial Corporation – are unlikely to be recognisable to anybody not in the mobile 'phone industry, there are some very interesting names that jumped out of the list. Freescale Semiconductor is one of the big-names to have joined, famous more for its attempts to revive the ailing PowerVR graphics card technologies in notebooks than its range of microcontrollers and microprocessors. Perhaps modern LiMo handsets could feature powerful graphics chips thanks to this entry in the ranks?

Another big name to enter the mobile Linux consortium is PacketVideo, specialists in streaming rich media across networks – including to mobiles with its pvconnect range. Whether this will lead to better rich-media support on LiMo handsets – possibly even to rival the iPhone – remains to be seen.

Just in case you thought that the LiMo platform was for weird foreign companies producing clunky – yet surprisingly powerful – handsets, the Foundation also announced the commercial availability of a new series of handsets including the MotoZine ZN5 from Motorola. Running the LiMo Platform and featuring everything you'd expect from a modern handset – built-in WiFi, 5MP camera, 350MB memory, and a 2.4” 240x320 display – the new handset is a perfect example of how polished a properly-implemented and customised LiMo install can be.

Still, LiMo has a long way to go to beat Windows Mobile or MacOS X for popularity, and that's not even mentioning Nokia's newly open-sourced Symbian or Google's up-and-coming Android.

Would you be open to trying a Linux handset, or could you care less what operating system your mobile 'phone runs? Perhaps you just can't bring yourself to give up the marvel that is MacOS X on a mobile handset? Share your thoughts over in the forums.
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