The overarching question at this year's World Mobile Congress seemed to be, "Which open source mobile operating system will come out on top?" Google's Android and LiMo both strutted their stuff at the trade show.
According to Australia's The Age, LiMo is apparently in the lead:
While Google's partners demonstrated prototypes of future handsets based on its Android operating system, the LiMo Foundation -- a competing consortium that is developing a Linux-based open source operating platform -- showed off 18 handsets from seven companies, some ready for market.
Both efforts have overlapping goals and even a few overlapping members, the story says. They enable developers to work quickly without paying licensing fees to proprietary companies, which may speed the integration of the Internet and mobile phones.
However, there is also a key difference between the two. The Age reports:
Android is being presented to its partners as a completed operating system built from the ground up, whereas the partners in LiMo have developed the software using components from the various member companies, and it is being finished as a collaborative project.
That's why LiMo has handsets ready for market now. Some of them, the story says, "contain components of the final operating system but not the entire platform." On the other hand, Android's platform is complete, but no handsets are ready yet.
At least one analyst quoted here says neither platform will make much of a dent in the mobile market. John Strand, of Copenhagen, Denmark-based Strand Consulting says:
LiMo is just a group of people trying to create an alternative to Symbian and Microsoft. But Microsoft gets out to more phones and has a bigger development community. And Android ... all of those companies are dreaming of coming into the mobile industry but none have had success, besides Qualcomm.
Time will tell, I suppose. We'll keep watching.