updated 10:15 am EDT, Wed May 14, 2008
Verizon Joins LiMo
Verizon today took further steps to promote its image as an open carrier by announcing it would join the LiMo Foundation, an industry group dedicated to developing and promoting Linux on cellphones. The US cell provider takes the last seat on the Foundation's board of directors alongside handset makers such as Motorola and Samsung as well as NTT DoCoMo and Vodafone, and claims to be a "champion" of openness in the process.
Verizon will push open development as a whole and Linux in particular as its means of reducing development costs, according to the statement. The LiMo group doesn't dictate a unified standard for the 39 involved companies but hopes for a "transparent" self-governing model which pushes mobile Linux forward.
LiMo today also added a number of hardware and provider companies to the group, including Firefox developer Mozilla, French phone designer Sagem, and Korean cell service giant SK Telecom.
The move reinforces past gestures made by Verizon to establish its image as a more open carrier than other American providers. The company was the winning bidder for a block of spectrum in the Federal Communications Commision's recent wireless auction that mandates opening access to any device and any software. After revealing its win, Verizon said it would offer 4G cellular data using the Long Term Evolution standard.
The telecoms company has also recently joined the Google-backed Open Handset Alliance that promotes open software development for cellphones, including for future devices based on Google's own Android mobile platform. However, Google has accused Verizon in an FCC petition of being insincere and intending to violate the open access rules on the 700MHz band by locking phones sold from the carrier itself.