Report: Linux will threaten Symbian dominance

According to a report by the Dublin-based Research & Markets, mobile devices based on full-feature operating systems will define the next stage of technology evolution in the handset market. And Linux will be an OS to be reckoned with.

Sales of full-feature handsets will grow to about 290 million in 2008, or 42.5 percent of all handsets, from about 10 million in 2003, the report says. "Sales will be driven by falling components costs that will result in full feature handsets at manufacturer price points of about US$180 in two years and US$120 in 2008," it adds.

The report then goes on to state that while Symbian will be the market share leader in the next 24 to 36 months, thanks to its endorsement by market makers Nokia and NTT DoCoMo, Linux will threaten for long-term dominance.

"Linux leads other platforms in openness and low cost -- factors that are essentials to success in a market defined by tight margins, rapid innovation, and standards adherence."

In contrast Microsoft will face a severe uphill battle to succeed in its stated goal of achieving global shipments of 100 million devices based on its platform in 2007, the report notes. "While Windows will provide advantages for OEMs in the productivity device segment Microsoft will have a tough time defining new hybrid device categories and matching the innovation of more open platform ecosystems," it says.

The use of full-feature operating systems will yield markets for hybrid devices including handsets that are optimized for productivity, imaging, game play and music consumption, the report continues. Leading providers of mobile devices will be forced to respond by touting improvements in core functionality and facilitating WAN transmission via a Bluetooth-bridge or through direct integration of cellular modems.

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