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Summary:

A recent report from ABI Research highlights the rise of mobile Linux, estimating that 23 percent of the world’s smartphones will have a Linux operating system by 2013. It appears that much of that growth will come at the expense of Nokia’s Symbian, and that LiMo […]

A recent report from ABI Research highlights the rise of mobile Linux, estimating that 23 percent of the world’s smartphones will have a Linux operating system by 2013. It appears that much of that growth will come at the expense of Nokia’s Symbian, and that LiMo and Android will be the main beneficiaries. What the report doesn’t note is that last year ABI predicted that 31 percent of smartphones will have Linux by 2012.

Either there’s something to explain the change in numbers, or we should perhaps take our analyst reports with a grain of salt. However, Linux is undoubtedly moving fast: 15 handsets were launched earlier this year with LiMo, and after several demos and prototypes, anticipation for the Android is running high. But the jury is still out on which framework will win out with carriers and application developers.

LiMo has the backing of NEC, Motorola and Samsung as well as SK Telecom and Verizon. Android, through the Open Handset Alliance, has T-Mobile, NTT DoCoMo, China Telecom, Telefonica, Google and several others. The stated goal behind both efforts is to eliminate some of the costs associated with developing mobile applications for multiple operating systems by using open source. It’s a laudable goal, but the fight between the two for market share demonstrates how hard it will be to lower costs, as developers will still have to build for multiple platforms.

photo courtesy of the LiMo Foundation and NTT DoCoMo

  1. Herman Manfred Wednesday, June 4, 2008

    So why are Access and Palm developing their own versions of Linux rather than taking Limo or Android and flying with THEM, are they making their own versions sufficiently unique that they WON’T really be “Linux” (or compatible) anymore, and will the source for those theoretically-GPLed pieces of software be freely available?

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  2. 애틱의 생각…

    The Mobile Linux War !! – 모바일쪽에서 조금씩 보이던 움직임들이 가시화 되가는 듯…또 싸울테냐 M$ ?…

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  3. The Mobile Linux War | nerdd.net…

    \r\nA recent report from ABI Research highlights the rise of mobile Linux, estimating that 23 percen…

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  4. [...] estimating that 23 percent of the world ’s smartphones will have a Linux operating system by 2013.read more | digg [...]

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  5. I got a new work phone a few months ago, all I want is one that can run linux, I had to choose between an iPhone, n95, Sony p1i and blackberry, all of which did not cut it but I had to go with the Sony in the end. A good ‘open’ linux phone would be great to have access to all the tools I use and have bash with me at all times, would save me from having to carry a laptop with me most places I go.

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  6. Yeah, it sounds like they are trying to reinvent the wheel. However, I think it’s great that we are at least having a “war” with Linux. Microsoft predicts their mobile OS will hold most of the market share (http://natenead.com/windows-mobile/). But, of course they are going to say that. I say the more competition, the better.

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  7. Can someone, such as the author, place some intelligent commentary, in the body of this article, explaining how much greener or better the mobile world with LiMO because frankly, I’m not seeing it – just a bunch of hype. I understand how LiMO will improve feature phones but I don’t see it with smartphones.

    Give me some context here and why I should care about a war!

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  8. [...] super lengthy strides in the world of market share. Stacey Higginbotham explained it well in her GigaOm post this [...]

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  9. Thanks for the post!

    I think that it is detrimental that developers have to build their applications for two systems. From what I’ve seen though, these Linux systems are great and will be taking enough market share to make themselves long time platforms. Hopefully that will mean they create some development standards so the application creation gets easier.

    My vote goes for Anroid though. With Google backing them and with the super sweet gyroscopic mechanism they are developing for it, I don’t think it could loose.

    Check out this fun video Google released about their Street View implemented with Android:

    http://pixible.com/2008/06/does-the-google-android-dream-of-sheep/

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  10. I think the point of Linux phone is that the “smart-phone” market is slowly degenerating into a “featurephone+” market. You only need one or two developer applications outside the core set the phone provides out of the box. Developer mindshare becomes less important, and so multiple versions of Linux can flourish.

    UNIX on phones. What a waste. Ten years ago we would have laughed at it, but between Apple and the Linux Phones it may be 30% of the market soon.

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