Mobile companies form Linux alliance

By Derek Sooman on
Motorola, NEC, Panasonic Mobile Communications, Samsung Electronics, NTT DoCoMo and Vodafone have teamed up to create a new software platform for mobile devices. This platform will compete directly with similar offerings from Symbian and Microsoft. The six companies plan to base the software platform on Linux. This will, they believe, reduce time to market and reduce costs.

Currently, Linux software occupies only a tiny proportion of the mobile market - mostly in China, where it is used in smartphones such as the Ming by Motorola. It is hoped that a new Linux-based mobile platform supported by a large number of major companies would help to consolidate the incongruent Linux mobile software market. One main advantage of Linux is that the code is not owned by any one company, thereby avoiding some of the unpleasant patent wars we have seen recently. All six companies were singing the praises of the move.

"Samsung truly believes that this effort will be a significant step to offering a cost-effective and unified software platform for mobile phones based on the Linux operating system. This effort will benefit both the consumers and the participating companies," said Lee Chulhwan, senior vice president of Samsung's Mobile R&D team.

"Vodafone is excited to be a founder member of this major industry initiative which aims to reduce fragmentation of Linux-based mobile phone software platforms, and in turn enable us to offer our customers more innovative new services," said Vodafone global director of terminals Jens Schulte-Bockum, in a press statement.

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