The state of the smartphone market

Three mobile Linux experts presented the “State of Linux on Mobile Devices” at an SDForum meeting last night in Palo Alto, Calif.. The presenters were Bill Weinberg, head of the OSDL’s Mobile Linux Initiative, Trolltech CTO Benoit Schillings, and Access/PalmSource senior product marketing director John Cook.”

Cook and Weinberg agreed that by 2010 the No1 smartphone operating system will be Windows Mobile with Linux trailing second and Symbian third, having lost its current No1 spot by then. It’s important to note here that the 26% of market share Linux will reportedly have by then will be sub-divided in non-compatible implementations by different software manufacturers (e.g. Palmsource, Motorola, Mizi, Trolltech) instead of a single compatible platform like Windows Mobile and Symbian S60 are (I don’t forsee UIQ to be alive by then).

One thing that’s clear though is that the smartphone market (with available SDKs for third party developers) is growing fast (85% annually) and that fewer and fewer basic/feature-phones will be sold by 2010. While there are still many people out there who “just want a basic phone”, there are even more people wanting to do “more” with their phones, e.g. office applications (which require a full OS to run underneath rather the basic system most feature phones currently run — sometimes they don’t even have a real OS underneath).

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