The spread of Linux into the mobile environment will face significant barriers, including vertical fragmentation due to the lack of complete stack, and horizontal fragmentation (the result of many bodies developing solutions in parallel). Both aspects have made it very difficult for device vendors, carriers, and third-party software developers to justify vast investment in platform development, but Google’s Android may be the solution.
“Android provides a ready-made ecosystem of vendors, carriers, and software developers that could provide enormous economy-of-scale right from the start,” explains Stuart Carlaw, ABI Research director. “Another concern over Linux involves how to monetize innovation that is subject to a public license. Android solves this through the use of the Apache V2 public license, which does not include a copyleft function.”
Android may produce an unexpected side-effect by providing a valuable proof-of-concept for the idea of mobile Linux, which could rub off on companies such as ACCESS and Trolltech. ABI Research forecasts that by 2012, approximately 127 million Linux smartphones will be shipped each year.
A recent report, Mobile Linux, demonstrates how and why the industry as a whole is rallying behind the Linux offering, and indicates significant barriers that still exist before Linux emerges as a true market power. This report explores these barriers, supplies a detailed SWOT analysis of the mobile Linux offering, and presents forecasts for Linux uptake in mobile devices for commercial OS implementations and RTOS replacement. It forms part of ABI Research’s Service Mobile Devices, which includes Research Reports, Research Briefs, Market Data, Online Databases, ABI Insights, and analyst inquiry support.
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