Yesterday may just have been a significant day for the Google-led Android mobile phone platform, not because someone finally started using it or anything, but thanks to a rival's rapid progress.

The LiMo Foundation announced that its eponymous Linux alternative to Android is finally ready for handset makers and phone networks to start using on a larger scale.

LiMo director Morgan Gillis outlined the prospects, saying, "With Release 1 of the LiMo Platform now completed, LiMo Foundation has established a scalable and sustainable mobile device platform that will spur rapid innovation and contributions from all LiMo members."

Mobile Linux fragmented

LiMo Platform Release 1, as it's called, brings together all the elements needed for phone companies to get to work on LiMo phones, regardless of the hardware they plan to use.

Existing LiMo handsets are the result of individual manufacturers tweaking and adding to incomplete LiMo packages, in order to create what are effectively test platforms.

The lack of a clear mobile Linux standard so far has left the open-source operating system in the strange position of being used in many versions on hundreds of basic handsets, whereas the more lucrative smartphones have been the preserve of Windows Mobile, Symbian and other major operating system players.

Even so, Release 1 will pose intriguing problems for LiMo Foundation member companies, many of whom are just as involved with Android. As to which Linux phone operating system wins out in terms of widespread adoption, marketing drives and ease of programming are sure to hold the key.