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LiMo to gain FOMA pack

Dec 3, 2008 — by Eric Brown — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 1 views

Access has started developing an operator service pack for NTT DoCoMo's 3G “FOMA” network. Compliant with LiMo (Linux Mobile Foundation) APIs, the pack will support DoCoMo services such as i-Mode, and will help Linux phone makers provide “immediate” support for DoCoMo on their devices, Access said.

Access in August began work assembling the requirements for its FOMA pack, it said, and will now start to actually develop the pack. The company expects phones equipped with the pack to begin shipping in mid-2009, it has previously said.

Access offers its own Linux distribution for phones and other mobile devices, called ALP (Access Linux Platform). However, its FOMA pack should prove readily portable to other LiMo-compliant Linux phone stacks, given the stated promise that the pack will “make it possible for mobile handset manufacturers worldwide to provide immediate support for DoCoMo on their own devices.”

LiMo was formed with the explicit goal of helping to standardize Linux, and to share operating system development costs among members. DoCoMo was a founder of the group, which today numbers more than 50 companies. Members that redistribute LiMo APIs and software pay about $400,000 per year. And, industry consortia such as LiMo typically require members to offer “fair and non-discriminatory” licensing terms to other members for any related technologies that they develop. Access is also a member of LiMo.

FOMA (Freedom Of Mobile Access) was the world's first W-CDMA 3G service, launched in 2001. Today, FOMA networks are found primarily in Japan, along with a few places in Europe and South America.

NTT DoCoMo adopted Linux for its FOMA phones in late 2003, but only NEC and Panasonic have supplied FOMA-capable Linux phones since then. A readily available FOMA pack could greatly broaden DoCoMo's handset supply chain, because licensing the pack via LiMo should prove much less costly for these hardware companies than developing the required software in-house.

Stated Toru Arakawa, CEO, president, and co-founder of Access, “By combining the operator packs we develop with Access Linux Platform, we will help DoCoMo develop attractive handsets and services.”

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