Hoping to encourage stronger interest in Linux phones, the Linux Phone Standards Forum (LiPS) releases its first series of mobile specifications today.The LiPS Forum launched in 2005 and has been working since then to standardize a layer of software in phones that will make it easy for Linux developers to create a single mobile app that works across many phones.
"The reality of the market is it's coincidental that different phones run Linux because an application developer wouldn't be in the position to write something [...] to work on all of them," says Bill Weinberg, general manager for business development of LiPS. "The LiPS standard is designed to solve that."
The LiPS Forum chose to base the its user interface platform on Gnome's GTK toolkit, slapping Trolltech across the face and demonstrating even open source can shut others out of its clubhouse.
Trolltech, like Gnome, offers an application platform and user interface for Linux mobile phones.
To be nice, however, Weinberg said more companies are using Gnome. All companies in the LiPS forum, including Access Co., Purple Labs and Open-Plug, are all Gnome-based
The new mobile specs slated to appear today include:
* A reference model
* An address book
* Text input method app programming interfaces (APIs)
* Voice call enabler
* User interfaces like widgets
The next series of forum specs are expected to deal with functions like instant messaging and changing interface as the user prefers. The third wave, which comes out next year, will involve how applications use different phone resources.
"These are all things for which there are existing processes but there are too many different ways to do it, so having a set of specifications is important," Weinberg explains.
China and Japan are currently the largest users of Linux phones. The US continues to lag behind on Linux mobile implementation, dubbed "cautious" because of the tight control existing operators have on the mobile market, according to Weinberg.
In related news, MobiSiteGalore brought standards to mobile web design, and Microsoft and LG made a patent agreement that further embeds Microsoft in the virtualization and open source worlds, via mobile technology.
Curious about LiPS and what they do? Check out the LiPS Forum website.