LiMo Foundation promises new devices this year

You'd be forgiven for thinking that between iOS, Android, and Windows Mobile the smartphone market is sewn up - but that's not stopping the LiMo Foundation from renewing its assault.

The LiMo Foundation, a world-wide consortium of mobile operators, hardware vendors, and software developers, is responsible for the production of the Linux Mobile platform - the precursor to Google's Linux-based Android OS.

Although the group's LiMo platform has waned in recent years - thanks largely to the success of Google's Android and Apple's iOS - it recently announced the launch of LiMo 4 at the Mobile World Congress event in Barcelona. To follow that up, it has just declared the first device class specifications for the platform.

The specifications indicate the platforms that the consortium will be targeting with LiMo, and if you're expecting a surprise you'll be disappointed: the company has confirmed that the initial target devices will be flagship smartphones, mid-tier smartphones, entry-level smartphones, and tablets.

"We believe these specifications will make it easier for all interested companies to be part of the device creation activity," explained the Foundation's executive director Morgan Gillis, "and so boost the attractiveness and time-to-market of LiMo 4 devices."

If you've been paying attention, you may have noticed something about the Foundation's device specifications: they're all areas in which Google's Android platform is enjoying major growth. Although originally limited to flagship smartphones, Android has been leaking down into the mid-tier markets - and has most recently started to appear on entry-level devices too.

Google's most recent creation, Android 3.0 'Honeycomb,' is also a major feature of most upcoming tablet launches - and features impressive 3D visuals and a rewritten interface which pundits are predicting will help keep the platform competitive next to Apple's successful iPad and iPad 2 iOS-based tablets.

In this market, the Foundation may find that its offerings struggle to gain acceptance - but that's not stopping members announcing impending product launches based on the new platform release, expected to be released world-wide in the second half of the year.