Motorola Ditches LiMo for Android

Open-source Linux as a mobile operating system might have an unfortunate future of being cannibalized by its own variations – as evidenced by Motorola Inc. dropping its board seat on the LiMo Foundation in order to focus on the Linux-based Android operating system.

Motorola founded the LiMo Foundation with the goal of advancing the cause of a mobile Linux operating system, along with NEC, NTT DoCoMo, Panasonic, Samsung and Vodafone. Telefonica and SK Telecom have recently joined the board.

The LiMo Foundation has designed a standard middleware layer that can support a range of mobile Linux-based OS, including Android, should the Google-led stack choose to use it. For now, the two remain on separate tracks.

“At this time [we feel] that the Android platform gives a richer, more consistent foundation with strong support for the ecosystem and developer community,” Motorola said in a statement.

Motorola remains an associate member of the foundation, so it can still provide input to the organization. But it will no longer be eligible for a board seat. The stepping away is likely because Motorola is banking on Android devices to turn around its famously ailing handset division going forward. It just unveiled the Motorola CLIQ, the first in a series of Android-based phones it has planned.

It soon might be more than just the fourth-largest handset-maker that contributes to a mobile Linux schism. Samsung too is embracing the idea of Android-based handsets, though it remains on the LiMo board.

LiMo won’t go down without a fight: Service provider members, including NTT DoCoMo, SK Telecom, Telefonica and the Vodafone subsidiary Verizon Wireless are committed to releasing phones based on the LiMo specs.

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