The smartphone market is growing by leaps and bounds as people start to realise what is possible with an internet connection and a powerful operating system in the palm of their hand. But despite the fact that Symbian’s operating system is used by 60 per ent of the world’s smartphones — most of which were sold by Nokia — upstarts like Apple and Google have pushed the established smartphone industry to evolve their software with the times.
Following are the smartphone efforts being carried out by different companies/foundations:
Symbian is going open source after seeing competition from Limo and Android which are already open-source. There are two predominant User Interface (UI’s) SDKs for the Symbian OS, namely S60 and UIQ. The predominant feature of both User Interfaces is that the installation of third party applications is permitted. S60 is developed and owned by Nokia and UIQ is developed by UIQ Technologies which was recently acquired by Sony Ericsson. Recently, Nokia acquired the remaining share of development company Symbian Ltd. that it did not already own. Now it is in process of fusing together its three disparate user interface layers – UIQ, DoCoMo’s MOAP, and its own S60 — into a common framework. Symbian has the largest share in most markets worldwide.
Windows CE operating system along with Windows Mobile middleware are widely spread in Asia. The two improved variants of this operating system, Windows Mobile 6 Professional (for touch screen devices) and Windows Mobile 6 Standard were unveiled in February 2007. Windows Mobile is enjoying great popularity because of the low barrier to entry for third-party developers to write new applications for the platform.
Limo Foundation is the first working on Linux platform and was established by Motorola, NEC, NTT DoCoMo, Panasonic, Samsung and Vodafone at the beginning of 2007, with the goal of delivering an open, Linux-based platform for mobile devices. Some of the commercial devices running LiMo include the Motorola Razr2 V8 and Motorokr Z6.
Then there’s the Google-led Open Handset Alliance that draws together dozens of companies to work on an operating system called Android. “The first truly open and comprehensive platform for mobile devices” is how Andy Rubin, director of mobile platforms at Google, described the effort, unveiled in November 2007.
Apple and RIM are special in the sense that they are following a slightly different track because they provide both the hardware and software themselves.
Mergers & Acquisitions: There are lot of discussions going around regarding the issues related to all these technologies working together. One of them could be found here:
In this platform game, the winner is going to be the one that can attract the most developers.