The buzz so far at Mobile World Congress has been all about Google’s Android mobile operating system, with the first prototypes running it on display at the show. But Android and the Open Handset Alliance behind it may not be all the rage in the coming months - a rival open software platform for mobile handsets is also on display in Barcelona.

The LiMo Foundation aims to standardise the way developers build applications for open-source mobile platforms. It's been around for about a year, Forbes reports.

Saves time and money

Instead of tweaking applications to run on Microsoft Windows Mobile, Nokia Series 60 and Linux operating systems, developers could save time by using the universal LiMo software platform and develop exciting new apps instead.

LiMo said its software could mean faster access to richer mobile applications like mobile TV and location-based services, and more affordable mobile phones for consumers. Having universal standards would also allow applications to be easily transferred between devices.

SDK just released

Software development kits have just been released so developers are rushing to snap up the latest code to create applications to run on LiMo.

"[LiMo] is a very practical initiative, but also a deeply philosophical one, based upon the belief that openness in handsets delivers value to consumers," Morgan Gillis, LiMo's executive director, told Forbes.

Motorola, NEC, NTT DoCoMo, Matsushita, Samsung and Vodafone are already on board to collaborate on new software applications. At least 18 handsets from the likes of LG, Motorola, NEC, Panasonic and Samsung will use the LiMo platform.