LiMo Says Vodafone's Android Support Shouldn't Fragment the Mobile Linux Space
Vodafone's membership in the Google-led Open Handset Alliance isn't necessarily a bad thing for the LiMo Foundation, which makes an open-source mobile operating system based on Linux that some see as vying for smartphone supremacy with Google's Android mobile and wireless stack. LiMo's Morgan Gillis says overlap among Android, LiMo and Symbian camps is par for the course as they combat Windows Mobile, RIM and the Apple iPhone.When the Open Handset Alliance said it gained 14 new members Dec. 9, some industry watchers cocked an eyebrow at the participation of Vodafone.
Google created OHA (Open Handset Alliance) in November 2007 to encourage the proliferation of smartphones based on the Google's open-source Android mobile operating system as alternatives to the Apple iPhone and Microsoft Windows Mobile and Research In Motion handsets.
Vodafone is a founding member of the LiMo Foundation, which is also working hard to get its own open-source mobile operating system onto smartphones.
OHA has 47 members and only one official phone, but Sprint, Motorola and others are working hard to expand the Android selection for 2009. LiMo has 48 members and its Linux OS appears on 24 handsets to date, with more coming in early 2009.
In accordance with open-source etiquette, neither the Android nor the LiMo camp can cop to the simmering competition, even as mobile and wireless industry pundits see a race to fill the market with Linux-based alternatives to the proprietary incumbents.
Ovum's Adam Leach suggested in a research note Dec. 10 that Vodafone's membership with OHA casts some doubts over Vodafone's future involvement with LiMo, where Vodafone originally vowed to pursue its own open-source mobile phone strategy.
Leach suggested that one of the reasons Vodafone got in bed with OHA was because Android has an SDK (software development kit) with an Android Market Web site to sell applications, as well as the T-Mobile G1 smartphone, which is expected to sell 1 million units through 2008. LiMo, Leach noted, has yet to produce an SDK and thus lacks a "convincing developer story."
Despite this hole, is Vodafone still backing LiMo? Absolutely, a Vodafone spokesperson told eWEEK, noting that joining the OHA means Vodafone will be able to work with the Android platform alongside other operating platforms such as LiMo, Symbian, Microsoft and RIM, improving customer choice.