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New mobile Linux group launches

By Nancy Gohring
November 14, 2005 12:00 PM ET

IDG News Service - A group of companies launched the Linux Phone Standards (LiPS) Forum on Monday. It's the newest effort to create standards aimed at fostering the use of Linux on mobile devices.

The goal of the LiPS Forum is to create application programming interfaces (API) that will allow developers to build applications to interoperate across Linux handsets made by all manufacturers. In addition, the forum will work with the Open Mobile Terminal Platform group, an association of operators that sets baseline mobile phone standards, so that applications written for Linux handsets can also work with applications used on phones running other operating systems, such as Symbian or Microsoft Windows Mobile.

Founding members of LiPS include PalmSource Inc., France Telecom SA, Orange SA, Telecom Italia Mobile SpA, ARM Holdings PLC, Jaluna SA, Open-Plug and MontaVista Software Inc.

LiPS expects to release the APIs in a series of profiles for devices ranging from basic consumer handsets to high-functionality smart phones. The group will also create a testing process to certify devices as LiPS-compliant.

However, the LiPS Forum won't join any of the international standardization groups for what its leaders called practical reasons. "It takes so long with those international standards bodies," said Michael Gien, a vice president on the LiPS executive committee and the cofounder and executive vice president of corporate development for Jaluna, a company that develops virtualization software for mobile phones. "Our schedule is very aggressive."

The first device profile, for the low-cost consumer market, is expected to become available in the second half of next year, with initial LiPS devices coming to the market in 2007.

LiPS Forum leaders emphasize that the group is not trying to standardize the applications layer. "We believe the applications themselves are ways that most operators and phone manufacturers want to differentiate themselves," said Jean-Marc Holder, treasurer of LiPS Forum and also director of marketing for PalmSource in Europe, the Middle East and Africa. By defining APIs, operators can be sure that when they introduce applications, the underlying support software on all of their handsets is consistent, he said.

Major handset vendors are notably absent from the initial lineup of LiPS members. John Ostrem, a LiPS board member and a lead scientist at PalmSource, hinted that some handset manufacturers were interested in joining the forum but hadn't yet worked through the necessary internal approvals to allow an official announcement. Motorola Inc. is one major handset maker that has expressed commitment to Linux, already selling millions of Linux handsets in China.

The launch of the LiPS Forum follows the recent creation of another organization whose

Reprinted with permission from Story copyright 2014 International Data Group. All rights reserved.
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