Android OS and Others Drive Growth of Mobile Linux

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You might call mobile Linux the little operating system that could, or at least is able to since the introduction of Google’s Android OS helped push mobile Linux into the top ranks.

Led by the success of Android, Linux-enabled smartphones are expected to make up 33% of the total worldwide smartphone market by 2015, according to a new report from ABI Research. More than 60,000 smartphones are now shipping per day, with Android OS leading the pack, notes the market researcher. Up to 127 million Linux-based smartphones may be shipping by 2012.

Linux would seem to be a perfect fit for mobile phones, given its small footprint, low cost and ability to be easily modified by developers. In fact, Google’s Android is a variation of mobile Linux that includes the operating system, middleware and a number of key applications. The Android SDK also provides the tools and APIs needed to develop some pretty cool applications using the Java programming language.

For users, however, it all comes down to the applications and fast access to the mobile Internet. ABI Research also predicts, in another report, that smartphones and connected computing devices will be the primary drivers of data traffic over the next five years. By 2014, these devices will generate more than 87% of total mobile network data traffic for US operators, notes the market researcher.

Although Android is on top of the world now, the competition is increasing as Linux alternatives enter the market. Intel, Nokia, and Samsung recently announced two other new Linux-based operating systems, bada and MeeGo. Since the bada platform is kernel-configurable, it can also run on a wider range of devices than just smartphones.

As more Linux-based smartphones enter the market, network data traffic is expected to increase significantly, which may eventually create problems for mobile operators. Connected computing device traffic is expected to grow by 90% through 2014, while smartphone traffic will increase by 48%, says ABI Research.

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