Motorola, NEC, NTT DoCoMo, Panasonic Mobile Communications, Samsung Electronics, and Vodafone announced today their intent to establish the world's first global, open Linux-based software platform for mobile devices.
A world-class Linux-based platform aims to provide key benefits for the mobile industry including lower development costs, increased flexibility, and a richer mobile ecosystem -- all of which contribute to the group's ultimate objective of creating compelling, differentiated and enhanced consumer experiences.
To help guide these efforts, the companies are also announcing their intent to form an independent foundation. The founder companies' objective is to realize the development of the platform based on the contributions of all interested stakeholders through an open and transparent process. Focusing primarily on the joint development and marketing of an API specification, architecture, supporting source code-based reference implementation components and tools, the foundation intends to leverage the benefits of community-based and proprietary development.
Foundation members also intend to work on the following:
- Implementation of a fair, balanced, transparent contribution and participation process across the current and future membership.
- Establishment of safeguards to minimize fragmentation.
- Collaboration on a mobile Linux developer ecosystem.
- Coordination with existing industry organizations.
- Seeking participation from all interested companies across the value chain, including device manufacturers, operators, chipset manufacturers, independent software vendors, integrators and third-party developers.
Once established, the foundation aims to provide an API specification, architecture, references to open source code, new source code-based reference implementation components (to be developed and committed by foundation members) and specifications for referenced third party software. The foundation also plans to provide a test suite to assess and demonstrate product conformance to the platform specification.
While the initial foundation members plan to be primarily responsible for delivering the development of the first reference implementation of the mobile operating platform, they will also actively encourage membership participation of other companies committed to its development. More information about how others can join the foundation will be made available at a later date.
Perspectives from Industry Leaders
"Motorola is a firm believer in the power of open platforms and the promise of Linux for mobile," said Greg Besio, Motorola Corporate Vice President, Mobile Devices Software. "As such, we are very pleased to be part of this new, coordinated group effort to accelerate the creation of a universal, mobile Linux platform which we believe will unleash the tremendous innovation opportunities for developers, device makers, operators and consumers alike."
"As one of the leading pioneers with almost two years of experience shipping Linux-based mobile phones, we are delighted to participate in this initiative," said Yoshiharu Tamura, Executive General Manager, Mobile Terminals Business Unit, NEC Corporation. "We expect the foundation activities will accelerate further expansion of mobile Linux application developer participation as well as global market growth of 3G mobile handsets."
"DoCoMo believes continuously improving performance and reducing handset costs are vital goals for operators," said Kiyohito Nagata, Vice President and Managing Director of NTT DoCoMo's Product Department. "DoCoMo strongly supports this foundation's activities of specifying APIs and enabling powerful tools for application and middleware developers. This will ensure the creation of an ecosystem to achieve our goals."
"Linux sits at the core of Panasonic Group's software strategy, and to date we have shipped nearly 8 million Linux based handsets in the highly competitive Japanese market," said Osamu Waki, Managing Director of Panasonic Mobile Communications. "We intend to leverage our experience to accelerate the realization of a truly global Linux-based software platform and ecosystem, which will lead to faster time to market and increased flexibility, to deliver appealing products fit for a ubiquitous network society."
"We are pleased to participate in this project with other industry leaders. Samsung truly believes that this effort will be a significant step to offering a cost-effective and unified software platform for mobile phones based on the Linux operating system. This effort will benefit both the consumers and the participating companies," said Lee Chulhwan, Senior Vice President of Mobile R&D team. "We expect that Samsung's technology leadership and innovative R&D experience will contribute to achieving the goals of the project through collaboration with other participants."
"Vodafone is excited to be a founder member of this major industry initiative which aims to reduce fragmentation of Linux based mobile phone software platforms, and in turn enable us to offer our customers more innovative new services," said Jens Schulte-Bockum, Vodafone Global Director of Terminals. "We expect this initiative to speed time to market for new products and also enable us to create more personalized products and applications for consumers."