How much mobile Internet market will open source get?

How much mobile Internet market will open source get?

Summary: With everyone working more or less together on this I expect a true iPhone competitor in about a year. You will know we're getting warmer when Apple offers its pride and joy for the cost of a data contract.

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With the World Mobile Conference now over, and most of the world's handset makers lining up behind some open source project -- Android, LiMo, Symbian -- it's time to ask how much of the mobile Internet client market open source might get, and when.

Let me be clear about what I mean by that.

There are really three mobile markets:

  • Phones. Still important, still profitable, but very much the past.
  • E-mail clients. Whether the President still carries a Blackberry or a Windows Mobile device, he's got it for the e-mail. Words on a screen, maybe some smileys. He's not going to Google News or Facebook or ZDNet Open Source on it.
  • Mobile Internet Clients. An iPhone is a true mobile Internet client. It's designed for broadband and broadband services. It's used for browsing, gaming and ftp. Yes it's a phone, but voice is a low-bandwidth app.

Now you can use a phone for e-mail, and you can use Windows Mobile for browsing. But when it comes to broadband there's only one. The iPhone. Nothing else will do.

This is where open source holds promise. Big screens, real apps, broadband connections and WiFi too. I don't think the current Android kit yet hits that mark.

The proof lies in usage statistics, and when they do hit the mark expect a lot of press releases. Heck, expect Paul Revere raised from the dead and riding down Broadway shouting "the Androids are coming." (Paul Revere is a hit with fans of Ron Paul.) Or the LiMos or the Symbians or whatever.

What happens now is everyone goes back to their drawing boards. Reference designs, chip sets, and delivery announcements to follow.

Despite the recession expect these to happen on the old three-month roll-out schedule. Carriers are desperate to solve the iPhone problem, and manufacturers know the first to crack it has their only true market advantage.

With everyone working more or less together on this I expect a true iPhone competitor in about a year. You will know we're getting warmer when Apple offers its pride and joy for the cost of a data contract.

Topics: Open Source, Broadband, iPhone, Mobility, Networking, Wi-Fi

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3 comments
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  • Your prediction

    Whatever figure you come up with for Linux's future marketshare value, you need to apply the following:

    Real Figure = Fantasized Figure x Reality Constant

    So, we determine the Reality Constant by looking at past predictions and calculating from that:

    http://www.linux.com/articles/30873

    ...gives us a Reality Constant of 0.0415.

    Then we have:

    Real Figure = Fantasized Figure x 0.0415

    So now just go ahead and plug your values in there. Let us know what you come up with!

    Love,
    Qbt
    Qbt
    • I didn't say Linux

      I believe the Android is Linux-based, but I know
      Symbian's not, and I don't think LiMo is.

      I said open source, not Linux.
      DanaBlankenhorn
  • Re: Your prediction

    >>> http://www.linux.com/articles/30873

    It's pretty easy to find failed predictions, or any predictions for that matter, to bgack up your arguments. I wouldn't base a whole lot on that kind of research.

    Bottom line, from someone in the industry is that the iPhone rocks. Most phone hardware is closed and to develop for it requires signing a bevy of NDA's. Linux cannot compete in that market until the hardware opens up.
    Tsingi