Mobile Operating Systems: The New Generation

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There’s a new free report at ARCChart which reviews the software platforms from 15 vendors – A la Mobile platform, Access Linux Platform, Adobe Flash Lite, GTK+, MiniGUI, Mizi Prizm, MontaVista Mobilinux, Nokia S60, Obigo Suite, Openwave MIDAS, Qualcomm BREW, SavaJe, Symbian OS, Trolltech Qtopia and Windows Mobile.

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The report is free because it is sponsored by Trolltech. Consequently, there’s a large mention of Linux based solutions. The report reads best if you are a hardware OEM. However, it’s also a good read for mobile developers wanting to know which mobile operating systems might dominate in the future.

Some things with regard to Symbian which caught my eye…

  • ARCChart claims Nokia is effectively in operational control of Symbian which discourages competing phone manufacturers from adopting the OS.
  • ARCChart also thinks Symbian has become a software house for Nokia, albeit and expensive one. Because of the ongoing expense, it expects Nokia will gradually port S60 to Linux.

Personally, I don’t think Nokia will port S60 to Linux. It’s just too complex, risky and time consuming. It would make more sense if they experimented with one or two Linux phones and built up a new platform in a totally separate way. There is certainly something in the dominance of one company discouraging other phone manufacturers from adopting the Symbian OS. If this is the main reason then it’s ironic because that’s the same reason why Windows Mobile hasn’t been that successful.

Of Linux…

  • There were no Linux phones in Europe at the end of 2005 due to problems certifying Linux handsets and lack of operator support.
  • It lacks features required by Western network operators.
  • GPL licence requires redistribution of code which causes copyright, IP and patent problems.

Of Windows Mobile…

  • Microsoft’s endgame isn’t necessarily to generate revenue from Windows Mobile Licences. Instead, it is driving revenue through sales of associated server and office software.
  • The Microsoft and Qualcomm tie up may boost Windows Mobile.

Register and get a copy. It’s a good read.