Year of wireless

Summary:Open source has ripped the day's biggest industry completely away from American hands.

A lot of people will call this the Year of the Blog.

But it's really the Year of Wireless.

As the year ends we can see mobile phones becoming a big part of the computing mainstream, with all the power of a PC and broadband Internet access as well.

So it's no surprise to me that Linux is suddenly becoming a major player on phones. But it's not helping our balance of payments.

NTT DoCoMo helped get the ball rolling. The Japanese mobile network said a year ago it would use Linux for advanced phones. The first fruits were picked last month, a dual-mode Linux phone that can deal with both WCDMA 3G networks and 802.11b. That phone was made by NEC and Panasonic. Both have defied Steve Ballmer's bluster in this and said they're going after the "global market."

By that they mean China. NEC and Panasonic bought their Linux software from Montevista of the U.S. but theres plenty of Chinese kit as well. With China's domestic market now reaching 250 million phones you can bet anything Chinese is going to be a player.

What's the bottom line? Open source has ripped the day's biggest industry completely away from American hands. It's about to turn one of our largest export markets into an import market.

Topics: Open Source


Dana Blankenhorn has been a business journalist since 1978, and has covered technology since 1982. He launched the Interactive Age Daily, the first daily coverage of the Internet to launch with a magazine, in September 1994.

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