Linux Burrows Into Cellphones

Verizon says a version of the open-source system will run many of its phones starting next year.


Linux, the open-source operating system, has yet to gain a real foothold on your desktop computer. But it soon will be in many cellphones.

The Linux phone movement got a boost today when Verizon Wireless said it would load a version on many of its handsets. Users probably won't notice much difference, as Verizon is likely to keep its standardized look and feel for phone software.

But users might find many more programs to download for phones running the Linux system from LiMo, an industry consortium that is promoting a Linux version. Verizon joined the group, which already included Vodafone, a European carrier that owns nearly half of Verizon Wireless.

LiMo is often seen as a competitor to Android, a Google-led effort to develop Linux for wireless handsets. Google views Android as a way to get its search engine onto mobile devices.

But Verizon said it may also use Android as the company opens its options. Most Verizon phones now come with software from chip-maker Qualcomm, although Verizon also sells smartphones with Windows, Palm, and BlackBerry systems.


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