More of us could be taking Linux with us wherever we go in the coming years - that according to a pair of reports from ABI research that predict a big chunk of both smartphones and non-smartphone mobile devices will be Linux-based by 2015.
"The number of Linux-oriented initiatives recently seen in the mobile industry indicates that Linux will be a key technology in the next generation of netbooks, media tablets and other mobile devices," said ABI Research analyst Victoria Fodale following the release of the second part of the research, which deals with non-smartphone devices. "Despite the growing number of Linux distributions in the mobile market, Linux has a unified base of upstream components, notably the Linux kernel."
Those Linux initiatives go by names in the consumer market that include Google's Android and Chrome, meeGo from Nokia and Intel and Palm/HP's WebOS. ABI says in their report that 62 percent of non-smartphone mobile devices will be based on Linux by mid-decade. An earlier ABI report released in June predicted that roughly one-third or 33 percent of all smartphones will have Linux at the core of their OS, and that they expect growth in Linux smartphones will outpace all other system types.
Google, champion of the "free will set you free" model, is expected to lead the way, shining a light into the brave, new, Linux-based wireless world. The company's CEO noted that over 60,000 Android-based phones have been shipping on a daily basis, helping to rapidly increase the company's penetration into dozens of countries and over various devices and networks.
Fodale added that a big part of the draw towards Linux is the fact that sharing many development components, including the Linux kernel, can translate into big savings on research and development, but still allows for producing a unique end product.
As for smartphones, Fodale also cites the flexibility of Linux, particularly the ease with which OEMs can modify the Android platform to differentiate their products. Currently the mobile market is dominated by big names like Apple's iPhone OS, Research in Motion's Blackberry system and Windows Mobile, but ABI and Fodale say the momentum is with Google and Linux, and with new and promising systems underlied by Linux like meeGo and bada, which could be even more flexible.
"The bada platform is also kernel-configurable so that it can run either on the Linux kernel or a real-time operating system (RTOS) kernel - which makes bada applicable to a wider range of devices than just smartphones," Fodale said.
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