Once considered a possible Android competitor, the LiMo Foundation has since dug in its heels as a carrier- and manufacturer-facing group rather than a consumer-facing one. To put that in more direct, un-politically correct terms: if you're an end user, you probably don't care that LiMo version 4 was just announced (though it's possible that your carrier might). In fact, the announcement actually happened a few days back during MWC in Barcelona, but it was a quiet affair -- the Foundation has yet to finalize device specs, the code won't be available to the public until July, and commercial hardware isn't expected until the second half. In the meantime, they're saying that the new version fulfills the vision where "operators and device manufacturers can more freely shape attractive user propositions and secure sustainable long-term value," which we read as "we help carriers prevent themselves from becoming dumb pipes."

LiMo is all about customizability and we wouldn't expect to see a "standard" UI demoed, but 4 will offer 3D effects, support for multitouch, "advanced" multimedia capabilities, and some manner of screen resolution independence. It's still a little unclear to us what became of Verizon's partnership with these guys -- but who knows, maybe someone in Basking Ridge is jumping for joy right now. Follow the break for the full press release.

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LiMo Foundation Unveils LiMo 4

New platform release enables operators and vendors to freely shape user propositions

BARCELONA, SPAIN – 14 February 2011 – LiMo Foundation, a global consortium of leading mobile operators, device and technology vendors, today announced the launch of LiMo 4, the latest release of the LiMo Platform. LiMo 4 makes broad use of leading open source technologies and is positioned to support the realisation of openness and choice within mobile consumer propositions.

"LiMo 4, under LiMo's proven collaborative governance model, enables flexible disaggregation of the device platform and the service propositions such that operators and device manufacturers can more freely shape attractive user propositions and secure sustainable long-term value," said Morgan Gillis, Executive Director of LiMo Foundation. "LiMo 4 represents a timely milestone in the advancement of a uniquely open and independent device platform that is completely free of inherent brand and business model conflicts."

LiMo 4 delivers complete middleware and base application functionality, including a flexible and powerful user interface, extended widget libraries, 3D window effects, advanced multimedia, social networking and location based service frameworks, sensor frameworks, multi-tasking and multi-touch capabilities. In addition, support for scalable screen resolution and consistent APIs means that the platform can deliver a consistent user experience across a broad range of device types and form factors.

"I am delighted with the great headway that has been made with the introduction of LiMo 4 and the extensive use of Open Source technology within the new release," said Kiyohito Nagata, Senior Vice President, Managing Director of Marketing Strategy Department, responsible for Product Business Strategy of NTT DOCOMO and Chairman of LiMo Foundation, "LiMo 4 is the embodiment of cooperation among OEM members whilst accommodating operators' requirements, and now positions the platform for a new phase of commercialization to involve WAC (Wholesale Applications Community) and Adobe Flash/AIR technologies."

LiMo's operator stakeholders, including all those referenced within this announcement, will shortly finalise a set of device class specifications that can be supported using LiMo 4 in order to simplify open participation from all parts of the industry in the development of commercial LiMo 4 devices.

"LiMo 4 represents the inputs of major stakeholders from across the mobile industry, all of whom have an on-going role in shaping the LiMo Platform roadmap," said Phillip Carter, Head of Platforms and Services, Vodafone Group.

"The launch of LiMo 4 substantiates the power of collaborative development," said Hoojong Kim, Senior VP of Service R&D Centre, SK Telecom. "LiMo 4 is the culmination of great effort and talent within the LiMo membership to realise a software platform that provides a solid foundation for developing truly unique user experiences."

LiMo 4 makes extensive use of best of breed technologies from leading open source projects. LiMo's Open Source Policy also promotes strong bilateral engagement with these projects in the interests of maintenance efficiency and market access for future open source innovation. It is planned that LiMo 4 code will become available for public download from July 2011.

"We're delighted that free and open source software from the GNOME project is being used in LiMo 4 and we look forward to working even more closely with LiMo members in the future," said Dave Neary, Open Source software community management expert and long standing member of the GNOME Foundation.

The first LiMo 4 devices are expected to be brought to market during the second half of the year.

About LiMo Foundation

LiMo FoundationTM is a dedicated consortium of mobile industry leaders working together within an open and transparent governance model-with shared leadership and shared decision making-to deliver an open and globally consistent handset software platform based upon mobile Linux for use by the whole mobile industry. The Board of LiMo Foundation comprises ACCESS, Panasonic, NEC, NTT DOCOMO, Samsung, SKT Telecom, Telefonica and Vodafone. A full description of LiMo Foundation, including its vision, goals, charter, guiding principles, bylaws and membership information, can be found at www.limofoundation.org.

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LiMo hits version 4, reminds us why consumers don't care