updated 05:05 pm EDT, Mon April 21, 2008
Linux Mobile OS to grow
Market research company ABI Research says in a new report that a Linux-based mobile operating system will find its way into in almost one out of every five mid- to high-end cellular phones by 2013. The study cites efforts by the LiMo Foundation, Google's marketing of its Android OS, as well as Nokia's Maemo and Trolltech purchases as some of the reasons the open-source OS system will grow. ABI's findings also conclude that despite the added cost of hardware necessary to support open-source operating systems, the move will offer better value because of the greater number of supported applications.
Adoption of a more open source platform makes sense to many in the industry, ABI Research Vice President Stuart Carlaw says. He cites cost savings due to software vendors footing the bills, allowing users to choose the programs as they see fit. Furthermore, the phone makers could lock out certain open source items in favor of ones developed in-house. A Linux mobile OS would also allow running more Web-based applications.
Others still are calling for Nokia to replace its aging Symbian OS for mobiles, and Palm announced it will bring a Linux OS for its phones sometime in 2008, though the latter platform has been riddled with delays. Motorola runs a Linux OS in its Chinese-market phones but doesn't take full advantage of the platform. The N770 and other N-series tablets are considered good examples of a successful Linux OS integration through Nokia's Maemo platform.
The development is likely to increase the diversity of competition in the mobile OS space, which is dominated by Symbian and its UIQ variant through a combination of Nokia, Sony-Ericsson, and some devices from LG as well as Motorola. Most other phones run proprietary systems or smartphone-only platforms such as Mac OS X for the iPhone or Windows Mobile.