One of the most popular mobile device operating systems is Linux, although most of us wouldn't know that because the majority of Linux smartphones are found in China and other Asian countries. Sharp used to have embedded Linux devices, but last year they stopped making them. Nokia has a couple of very cool mobile devices running Linux, the 770 and N800 Internet Tablets. According to a BBC article, Linux developers are looking to bring Ubuntu to the mobile world later this year.
The impetus for this effort to get Ubuntu into the mobile world comes from Mark Shuttleworth, one of the world's first space tourists, whose firm promotes open source software projects. His firm, Canonical, is partnering with Intel to get Ubuntu on mobile devices. The article doesn't specifically state what type of mobile form factor Ubuntu would run on, but I think something like the Nokia Internet Tablets is a perfect platform.
In another recent article I was reading, PC World asked the question "Which Mobile OS is Best for You?" In this article, the author discusses Symbian, Windows Mobile and again Linux. The article has a fairly balanced bottom line for consumers looking to join the smartphone community:
Symbian OS and Windows Mobile have their competitive advantages. The former has strong telephone, messaging and browser integration, while the latter comes with stronger sync and media streaming capabilities. Both operating systems allow enhancing the functionality by downloading additional software, typically at a price. However, the underlying premise is the same: What you see is what you get. By contrast, Linux devices tend to be more bare-bones out of the box, but you can customize and upgrade easily and, typically, for free.
These three operating systems are the world leaders, while players in the U.S. include BlackBerry and Palm. It seems Linux is a recurring theme in these articles and it looks like 2008 may shape up to be the year of the Linux mobile operating system.