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Monday, April 28, 2008

Linux OS Solution Growth on Mobile Devices

Linux, which has been much maligned by Symbian and Microsoft as a non-starter in the handset operating system market, is set to see strong growth as issues with framework fragmentation and silicon requirements are alleviated.

The growing momentum behind the LiMo Foundation initiative, as well as the marketing boost that has been realized from the entry of Google's Android solution has been further enhanced by Nokia's support of the Maemo solution and its purchase of Trolltech.

ABI Research believes that by 2013, nearly one out of every five mid- or high-end mobile devices will use a Linux operating system.

ABI Research vice president Stuart Carlaw notes that, "Clever choice of public license support, along with software engineering that isolates proprietary items from open source items, allows operating system vendors to generate revenue from a very cost-effective OS solution."

Linux OS solutions will be far more cost-effective than incumbent solutions, even when silicon requirements are taken into account, given that a fuller application layer will be included in the standard package and that the burden of customization falls mostly on the independent software vendor.

A new ABI Research market study has found that Linux solutions will be at the center of the drive to bring more content-rich environments to users who currently utilize mid-tier devices. More importantly, it looks increasingly likely that mobile Linux solutions will be an important building block in enabling an application domain that embraces Web-based applications and blended Web-native applications.

The ABI report provides a picture of the projected uptake of Linux in two major applications, as a commercial OS and as an RTOS replacement. It offers a analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of the Linux solution, and describes major drivers and barriers that are dictating the growth of the mobile Linux market.