Linux storming the mobile phone world

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Linux storming the mobile phone world

Open source OS on mobiles not a question of if, but when.

Linux is "assaulting the mobile phone" sector with a two-pronged attack focusing on commercial operating systems and real-time operating system replacement.

A new study from ABI Research forecasts that more than 127 million devices will be enabled with a commercial Linux OS by 2012, up from 8.1 million in 2007.

Additionally, device shipments that incorporate Linux as an real-time operating system replacement are set to grow to more than 76 million units in 2012, up from nearly zero in 2007.

"Linux in the cellular phone is not a question of 'if', but 'when'," said ABI Research director Stuart Carlaw.

The report found that the most fundamental issue that has plagued the growth of commercial Linux in this space - vertical and horizontal market fragmentation - has shown signs of being alleviated.

On the other side of the coin, issues with latency have prevented Linux being considered as a viable real-time operating system replacement in single-processor devices.

But Carlaw maintained that innovative solutions such as PREEMPT_RT, the VirtualLogix virtual operating environment, and the use of real-time operating system executives over Linux kernels look set to deal with latency issues.

"However, the industry still needs to understand the total cost of ownership for Linux solutions, and must create a common set of APIs to enable economies of scale for third-party developers," he said.
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