Friday, May 16, 2008

Android ditched for LiMo by Verizon… for Now

The Google versus evil carrier saga continues. Verizon Wireless announced today that it has joined the LiMo Foundation.

LiMo is an alliance that aims to create an open handset operating system based on Linux for Mobile. To date they not only have attracted 40 big industry names, but they have also launched a number of handsets:

• MOTO U9, MOTO Z6w, MOTOROKR Z6, RAZR2 V8, RAZR2 V8 Luxury Edition and MOTOROKR E8 from Motorola;

• NTT DoCoMo FOMA N905i, FOMA N905iμ, FOMA N705i and FOMA N705iμ from NEC;

• NTT DoCoMo FOMA P905i, FOMA P905iTV, FOMA P705i and FOMA P705iμ from Panasonic Mobile Communications, and

• SGH-i800 from Samsung.

While Verizon may not necessarily limit its support to LiMo, today’s move represents a blow for Android. It will be much more difficult to secure a significant footprint on mobile devices.

One thing that Google still has going for itself is the traction it has gained among developers (almost 1,800 Android Developer Challenge submissions). The only problem with this is that in the short term developers will gravitate to the fad of the moment. In the long term, however, it is those platforms that make the most economic sense that will result the winners.

All in all the jury is still out. The truth is there is plenty of room for all players. But as an important reminder… with fragmentation (and this seems to be getting worse instead of better), it is the developers who suffer in the process… and the ultimately loser is the consumer…


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