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Exploring the Upside for an Open Source Mobile OS

Can an alternative smartphone OS option challenge the dominant position of Google Android and Apple iOS ecosystems? ​A group of new open-source mobile operating systems (OS) are set to make an impact on the mobile industry, according to the latest market study by ABI Research.

Jolla recently released its first smartphone running on its Sailfish OS. Additionally, Firefox will be launching in Latin America and other emerging regions later this year on ZTE devices, and Tizen will be available on new Samsung smartphones in the next quarter.

Also, Ubuntu-based mobile devices are projected to be released in 2H 2013. Amongst the clutter, ABI projects Tizen to become the most notable player out of the emerging OS marketplace.

"Tizen’s strong backing from Intel and Samsung will enable it to quickly outpace its other Linux mobile OS challengers,” says Joshua Flood, senior analyst at ABI Research.

Additionally, other segments of the mobile ecosystem are keen for a new mobile OS to usurp the Apple and Google dominance in the market. Mobile network operators -- particularly in Asia -- have been looking for other options.

Apple’s refusal to modify its OS for operators to add customized services or differentiate operators’ brands is one of the key factors for their discontent.

Tizen has been quick to build its membership group and some very notable mobile vendors are volunteering their support. Orange and Vodafone are two potentially key network operators for making an impact in Europe.

Furthermore, KT, NTT DoCoMo, and SK Telekom have promised to promote the emerging OS in Asia. ABI forecasts Asia-Pacific will provide the biggest opportunity for the new OS and almost 65 percent of its future smartphone installed base will be to this single region.

Although Tizen -- or any of the other emerging OS -- are not projected to make a significant impact on the global mobile OS market this year, the new group of OS platforms is forecast to make steady progress over the next five years, with 135 million smartphone shipments worldwide.

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