Verizon to introduce Linux phones

Verizon Wireless is backing a free operating system that competes with programs from Microsoft, Google, and Qualcomm, a Canadian Press report said.

The report said Verizon will the first US carrier to join the LiMo Foundation, which aims to unite handset makers, software companies and carriers on a software platform that will make it easier and cheaper to create a wide variety of phones.

The carrier's endorsement is an important boost to the stature of LiMo, or Linux Mobile, and its prospects in the US. It already has the backing of large Asian and European carriers, as well as handset makers like Motorola, Samsung Electronics and LG Electronics.

Kyle Malady, vice president of network for Verizon, said he expects the company to sell both simple and 'smart'' phones using LiMo next year.

That's a potential blow to Qualcomm, which supplies the software for most of Verizon's phones, excluding smart phones.

But the company is not adopting LiMo to the exclusion of other operating systems, he added, as it now sells phones with a variety of operating systems, and expects to continue doing so.