Forgive me if I appear a little skeptical here about Google's Open Handset Alliance. By my count, it's the fifth consortium so far to attempt to craft something useful for mobile phones out of Linux and open-source software.
OHA has by far the highest profile, it's got the most persuasive list of members, and its timing is the best. What's not yet clear is whether the "Android" work of Google and its allies will unify or further fragment work in the area.
Rallying programmers behind a unified effort could help determine whether this effort will accomplish more than the Linux Phone Standard (Lips) Forum, the Open Source Developer Labs' Mobile Linux Initiative, the Consumer Electronics Linux Forum (CELF), and most recently, the LiMo Foundation begun in 2006. Related efforts one step removed include Intel's Moblin and, Nokia's Maemo, and any number of other open-source projects.
Just as with PCs, somebody has to write a "stack" of software spanning from basic operating system functions all the way through communication utilities, user interfaces and Web browsers. Unlike PCs so far, though, the mobile phone market has suffered from a profusion of incompatible software foundations, despite some efforts to use Linux and Java to bring some common ground.
… Read more