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Telefónica Lines Up With LiMo

Ahead of the mobile industry's annual fiesta in Barcelona next week, the LiMo Foundation has announced a new wave of operator support. (See Operators Endorse LiMo.)

Telefónica SA (NYSE: TEF) -- one of the world's biggest operators, with about 189 million subscribers -- has joined the LiMo Foundation's board of directors and committed to launching devices based on the LiMo platform this year.

South Korea's SK Telecom (Nasdaq: SKM) has also joined the LiMo board and plans to launch LiMo devices this year.

The mobile OS wars are heating up now that six operators have staked claims on launching LiMo devices. According to the LiMo Foundation, those operators are SK Telecom, Telefónica, NTT DoCoMo Inc. (NYSE: DCM), Orange France , Verizon Wireless , and Vodafone Group plc (NYSE: VOD). (See Verizon's LiMo Bean 'Surprise' and Where Is Verizon's Open Access?)

Nokia Corp. (NYSE: NOK)'s Symbian is the dominant mobile operating system, followed by Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT)'s Windows Mobile, and BlackBerry . But new contenders Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL), Google (Nasdaq: GOOG), and LiMo are trying to take bigger bites out of those players' market shares. (See Symbian Wants the World, Mobile OS Wars: Nokia Snaps Up Symbian, and Now Wait for Android, and LiMo Shows Off Handsets.)

So far, 33 devices have gotten the LiMo Foundation seal of approval, and 10 of those will be on display at the Mobile World Congress next week from NEC Corp. (Tokyo: 6701) and Panasonic Corp. (NYSE: PC), as well as prototypes from LG Electronics Inc. (London: LGLD; Korea: 6657.KS) and Samsung Corp.

The not-for-profit LiMo Foundation was started in early 2007 by Motorola Inc. (NYSE: MOT), NTT DoCoMo, Samsung, Vodafone, and others to develop a mobile Linux platform. (See Moto Not Dropping LiMo Linux.)

— Michelle Donegan, European Editor, Unstrung

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