Mozilla Corporation, Red Bend Software, Sagem Mobiles, SFR, SK Telecom and Verizon Wireless have joined the LiMo (Linux Mobile) Foundation in order to expand and deliver wireless choices to mobile phone users.
Verizon's choice to join LiMo further creates a rift between them and Google's OHA (Open Handset Alliance) over whose service will be more 'open.' Openness of the platform is important for adoption. The more open your platform, the more developers, hobbyist programmers, and end users you'll have converting to it.
Unfortunately, this intense competition will end up hurting consumers and end users because companies may rush products to market too soon and alienate early adopters. The OHA predicts that early Android handsets will be out by the end of 2008 while LiMo foresees their product launching in 2009.
From the LiMo Website:
LiMo Foundation is an industry consortium dedicated to creating the first truly open, hardware-independent, Linux-based operating system for mobile devices. Backing from major industry leaders puts LiMo at the Heart of the Mobile Industry and makes LiMo the unifying force in Mobile Linux.
The mission of the LiMo Foundation is to create an open, Linux-based software platform for use by the whole global industry to produce mobile devices through a balanced and transparent contribution process enabling a rich ecosystem of differentiated products, applications, and services from device manufacturers, operators, ISVs and integrators.
LiMo aims to provide a commercial-grade, Linux-based, mobile operating system, APIs, and SDK to all who want to develop and use the framework. Verizon, Panasonic, Samsung, and Vodafone are among the 'heavy hitters' of the LiMo Foundation.
Linux is a clear choice when providing commodity services since the source is open and free; there are no royalties to pay, no hassles or hoops to jump through, just innovation--plain and simple.