Major carriers sign pact on open source platform

A group of the world's mobile operators and handset makers will form an alliance to develop an open-source Linux-based operating system that can to be used in phones by the end of 2007, a Reuters report said.

The report said mobile network operators Vodafone and NTT DoCoMo and handset makers Motorola, Samsung, NEC and Panasonic would form an independent, not-for-profit group to share the costs to cut the number of operating platforms on the market.

"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," Jens Schulte-Bockum, Vodafone's global director of terminals, was quoted as saying.

The report said that with mobile technology advancing exponentially, the cost of development was soaring for handset-maker's devices.

Linux software currently occupied only a tiny proportion of the mobile market, mainly in China, while market leaders Symbian and Microsoft dominated the space, the report said.

The attraction of Linux for handset makers was that as the code was not owned by any one company, competition was likely to be fierce between firms supplying ready-to-use embedded Linux versions for phones, driving down fees, whereas Symbian and Microsoft could keep prices higher, the report further said.