Research: 203 Million Linux Phones By 2012 - InformationWeek

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4/4/2007
02:46 PM
Eric Ogren
Eric Ogren
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Research: 203 Million Linux Phones By 2012

According to ABI Research, Linux is attacking the mobile phone market in order to bring Linux to the handset environment. Research director Stuart Carlaw even goes so far as to say, "Linux in the cellular phone is not a question of 'if,' but 'when.'"

According to ABI Research, Linux is attacking the mobile phone market in order to bring Linux to the handset environment. Research director Stuart Carlaw even goes so far as to say, "Linux in the cellular phone is not a question of 'if,' but 'when.'"The new report takes a close look at the issues involved in bringing license-free operating systems such as Linux to smartphones and mid-level feature phones. It concludes that market fragmentation, more than anything else, has stood in Linux's way.

Thanks to an increasing number of industry alliances, things are slowly, but surely, moving in a more positive direction. ABI is fairly bullish on the future of Linux in mobile devices. It predicts that 127 million Linux-based devices will be sold in 2012, which is a large increase over the 8 million that will be sold this year. Another 76 million devices will have Linux as part of a real-time operating system replacement.

Roadblocks remain, however. Latency issues with real-time operating systems and a lack of real understanding about the total cost of ownership for Linux have yet to be resolved. Many people are under the mistaken impression that Linux is free. It's not. There are definitely costs involved with Linux. For example, the source kernel for Linux may be free, but a basic 2-socket Linux server from Red Hat will run $349. Prices jump to $2,500 pretty quickly. It's not fully understood yet how these expenses will scale to mobile devices.

There's little doubt, though, that Linux will continue to inch it's way into the mobile marketplace.

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