Morgan Gillis, executive director of the LiMo Foundation, said publicly that he welcomed Google's move and also sees the role of the OHA as complementary. Google's angle is, he said, focussed on the end-user experience and bringing the Web to mobile devices while the LiMo Foundation wants to create a common middleware platform to underpin mobile applications.
But in the same interview he pointed out that those in the mobile Linux area have a stark choice: "Work with Google, or think very seriously about how to achieve the next-generation mobile internet experience for their customers on their own."
LiMo Foundation member Wind River sees Android continuing what LiMO started, and as both a disruptive and a positive force. It disrupts the status quo by undermining some business models - but it also consolidates Linux's dominant role in the future of mobile devices.
Jason Whitmire, Wind River's general manager of mobile business, told Register Developer: "A year ago Linux platforms were proliferating so it seemed like there was a new one every week. Then the operators and handset manufacturers wanted some sort of consolidation - ideally around a single Linux platform. The LiMo Foundation started the consolidation process - which is positive - but it also disrupted business models based on royalties.
"OHA and Android continue the consolidation and are also major disrupters because they are going to get there earlier than LiMo. For us the consolidation around LiMo and Android is a big boon because we can focus on them and not dilute our efforts. I would say that, in the next two and a half years, LiMo and Android are going to account for around 75 per cent of Linux-based mobile business," he added.
Fellow LiMo member MontaVista is equally positive about Android and sees it as the ultimate ratification of Linux as a mobile platform.
Dan Cauchy, director of marketing at MontaVista, said: "Linux already had the tools and the skill pool and now it is an operating system that can go any where - it can run on any device. Android completely solidifies our position because it is going to provide a framework and APIs to enable third-party developers to create applications. And it rows our ecosystem at the expense of Microsoft and Symbian."
The next six months will certainly be critical in the growth of Android ecosystem. It could have the same galvanising effect on mobile application development that Windows had on PC applications in the late 1980s.
Developers need to pick it up and create some compelling applications to match the appeal of, say, Apple's iPhone. But despite the concerns over licensing and the possibilities of a broader long-term agenda from Google, it would be hard (and, perhaps, foolish) to bet against it.®
Linux doesn't matter...
...what is on the top at it really matter indeed, and in this sense, the licensing model is a concern. Google is leveraging its brand, one will uses it on mobile as one uses it on a PC. But the net result could be a kind of tivoization where Google keeps all the controls in such way that one couldn't do anything without it.
IMO opinion the small device platform (typically 320x240) lacks one major thing:
A decent free browser.
Even for money the only choice seems to be Mobile Opera. I've run Firefox & Konquerer via VNC on 320x240 and the experience is rubbish.
The next most important application is a decent VOIP/SIP client that works with phone numbers & phone book, not URIs. Again there are various desktop ones that port badly to small screen.
Even very old versions of Qtopia are at Windows Mobile/Series 60 usability on Linux. However the touch UI needs improved.
Most of the good Linux Mobile Apps & GUI cost money. (Trolltec, theKompany). I'm not sure how these guys will compete with Android. If they give the stuff away how to they feed the Programmers?
Linux itself and networking is fairly easy to get running on any Mobile platform.
Battle of the applications
While I understand the concern of the existing circles, I think it is fair to state that none of them have succeeded in bringing a platform to market that gained substantial support in the industry.
Looking over the list of companies involved in the Open Handset Alliance over at http://androidwiki.com/ it seems clear that the Android platform at least has a chance to achieve such a position. All the monetary support aside, it is clear that ultimately the battle for the handset will be won on the application field - and it is here that Google is going to excel, licensing concerns or not. ($10 million Android developer challenge anyone?)