(Adds executive quotes, details)
NEW YORK May 14 Verizon Wireless said on
Wednesday it joined a consortium working on a Linux-based
mobile operating system expected to rival a mobile system being
developed by a group headed by Google Inc (GOOG.O).
The announcement that the No. 2 U.S. mobile service joined
the LiMo Foundation follows signals last month that AT&T Inc
(T.N) would support Android, the Linux operating system being
developed by Google and about 30 partners.
Verizon Wireless, a venture of Verizon Communications Inc
(VZ.N) and Vodafone Group Plc (VOD.L), said it would take a
seat on the foundation's board and expects to sell its first
phones based on the LiMo operating system in 2009.
"We'll start with a few simpler devices and work our way
up," Verizon Wireless Network Vice President Kyle Malady said
on a conference call with reporters.
Malady said that while Verizon would continue to support
other operating systems such as that used in Research In Motion
Ltd's RIM.TO BlackBerry, the LiMo system would be the
company's operating system of choice.
Malady said the company, which is putting financial and
personnel resources into the system, expects to eventually have
an array of LiMo devices ranging from the high end to the low
end. He did not say how much Verizon was spending on developing
the LiMo system.
He said the company is putting its weight behind LiMo
rather than Android because of LiMo's inclusive governing
structure as well as its diverse set of members. But he would
not rule out selling phones based on Android.
"If devices come along that are interesting to us and our
customers we'd absolutely look at that," said Malady, who also
noted that third-parties could sell Android devices to Verizon
Wireless customers if they can work on its network.
The LiMo Foundation said it has about 40 members including
Verizon Wireless handset suppliers Samsung Electronics Co Ltd
(005930.KS) and LG Electronics Inc (066570.KS). It said that
Korea's SK Telecom Co Ltd (017670.KS) has also joined the
(Reporting by Sinead Carew, editing by Dave Zimmerman)