Under the MoU, Access will look at converging NTT DoCoMo's existing Linux platform, MOAP(L) (Mobile Oriented Application Platform based on Linux) with ALP and will lead the development of a shared software platform that will conform to specifications of the LiMo Foundation, an independent, non-profit foundation established with the aim of promoting the use of Linux by the mobile industry. Access intends to begin marketing the commercial products resulting from these efforts during fiscal 2009.
Linux is being tipped as the fastest growing smartphone OS over the next five years and set to account for 31 percent of all smartphones on the market by 2012. Market research firm, ABI Research, issued a report in August forecasting a compound annual growth rate for Linux based smartphones in excess of 75 percent. Research director Stuart Carlaw, said: "Serious initiatives from the likes of Intel and Access are gathering pace and momentum, whilst the carrier community continues to identify Linux as one of the few operating systems that it intends to support in its long-term plans."
Commenting on announcement of the MoU, market analyst firm, Ovum, said: "DoCoMo has been looking for a way to decrease its ever growing cost of ownership of MOAP(L) and provide its OEM partners with a software platform which can be used as a basis for handsets that can be marketed outside of Japan. Economically it is challenging for Japanese OEMs to deliver handsets that meet DoCoMo's high specifications with the volumes achievable within the Japanese market. Japanese OEMs need to leverage the investment in software by re-using it in devices outside of Japan."