Verizon Wireless picks Linux as its OS

Verizon Wireless today declared Linux as its mobile operating system of choice and said it would introduce Linux-based phones developed through the LiMo Foundation in the U.S. in 2009.

The decision to support Linux, however, doesn't preclude Verizon from selling phones based on a range of operating systems, including an evolving Linux-based Android OS , offered by the Open Handset Alliance backed by Google Inc. , as well as Windows Mobile, BlackBerry by Research in Motion Ltd., and others, said Kyle Malady, vice president of networks for Verizon Wireless.

"We're not adopting Linux to the exclusion of others, and will continue to support an agnostic approach, which is best for customers," Malady said in a conference call with reporters.

He said Verizon Wireless also joined the LiMo Foundation as a board member, joining 40 other carriers and device makers devoted to creating the LiMo OS, a mobile Linux operating system for devices marketed globally. Phones are already being offered by manufacturers based on LiMo, a factor that Malady said led Verizon Wireless to join LiMo instead of the Open Handset Alliance.

Malady also said the governance by a board of directors at LiMo made joining the organization more attractive when compared to OHA. Verizon Wireless plans to commit personnel and intellectual property to the LiMo development effort and will likely commit funds as well, he said.

The foundation, formed in early 2007, includes carriers in Asia and Europe, with founding members NTT DoComo and Vodafone, and device makers such as Motorola Inc. , Panasonic Mobile Communicaitons and Samsung Electronics. Morgan Gillis, executive director of LiMo, said seven other companies joined LiMo today, including Mozilla Corp., and SFR, a French mobile operator.

Verizon Wireless is a joint venture of Verizon Communications and Vodafone, and has 67 million customers. It announced an Any Apps, Any Device open access initiative last December.

While OHA manufacturers have not shipped Android phones, Google yesterday announced 50 mobile applications that Android will support as it narrows down a group of 1,800 applications in its Google Android Developer Challenge .

LiMo handsets include Motorola's Moto U9, Moto Z6w, Motorokr Z6 and Razr2 V8, NEC's FOMA N905i and FOMA N705i, Panasonic's FOMA P905iTV and FOMA N7051, and Samsung's SGH-i800.

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