Linux is key to future smartphone growth

Linux-powered smartphones will comprise a third of the world-wide smartphone market, by 2015, trend watchers at ABI Research reckon.

Google’s Android is leading the charge the soothsayers said. They reckons that with more than 60,000 smartphones shipping per day, Android has catapulted ahead of other Linux mobile platforms.

"Due to its low cost and ability to be easily modified, Linux in the mobile market today is nearly as disruptive as Linux was in server markets a decade ago," said ABI senior analyst Victoria Fodale.

She said that handset OEMs and mobile operators like Linux-based systems such as Android because of their flexibility.

"The Android platform can be modified so that OEMs can differentiate their products," says Fodale, "and the licensing terms allow OEMs to innovate while still protecting proprietary work."

Google may have built early momentum, but Android is not without competition, ABI notes. Industry heavyweights such as Intel, Nokia, and Samsung have recently announced two other new Linux-based operating systems, Bada and MeeGo.

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.

MeeGo is being heavily plugged by Intel at the Computex shindig in Taipei this week.