The free operation system Linux is gaining more support in the mobile handset industry. Entities like the LiMo Foundation and the Linux Phone Standards (LiPS) Forum met recently at the Linux World Conference to support Linux as a mobile phone operating system. Supporters from around the world have made Linux a major player in the mobile phone business.
While supporters like the LiMo Foundation and LiPS Forum are made up of sometimes competing companies, the goals of the groups aren’t necessarily in conflict with one another. But time restraints may cause some rough spots. As IMS Research Director John Devlin points out, “The LiMo Foundation intends to develop an actual mobile Linux platform which potentially will conform to the standards established by the LiPS Forum. However, since the LiMo Foundation has stated a desire to have products shipping as early as next 2Q08 (second quarter of 2008), they are working in advance of any final standards that will be sent by the LiPS Forum. This creates the potential for the LiMo Foundation platform becoming a de facto competing standard.”
The future of Mobile Linux may see the creation of an industry standard brought about by consolidation and inter-company agreements. In a recently published report, “The Impact of Cellular Linux,” IMS Research Analyst Alison Bogle accurately predicted much of what we are seeing come to pass. Bogle states, “There will be a period of acquisition and consolidation over the next few years, the Mobile Linux community will eventually standardize on one or two leading unified Linux-based platforms, which will become the de facto standards, and Linux will see strong adoption in the handset space based on the strength of the companies supporting it.”
If Mobile Linux can continue its journey towards standardization it will become a major player in the handset operating system arena. I would like to see one major mobile operating system become the world’s standard. This would make the connectivity of various services from differing service providers easier to translate on all mobile devices the world over. But this wish is coming from someone who would like to be able to play his old Commodore 64 games on the Xbox 360.