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128 million Linux phones forecast for 2012

Oct 12, 2007 — by LinuxDevices Staff — from the LinuxDevices Archive — views

By 2012, Linux will ship annually in 128 million mobile phones, or about 8.8 percent of all handsets sold, forecasts Informa in a new research report. The report also forecasts a bright outlook for other open source mobile technologies, including Java, WebKit, and others.

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The findings are from an Informa report entitled “Open Source in Mobile, 2007 – 2012.” Its six chapters address the economics, licenses, available products, significant open source projects, and “strategic outlook.”

The report was written for Informa by Andreas Constantinou, lead analyst with VisionMobile. VisionMobile last year produced a similar but shorter report for ARCchart and its client, Trolltech. The new Informa report does not appear to have been sponsored by any company other than Informa, however the company did not confirm this by publication time.

According to the report, Linux in 2006 was the second most popular OS for smartphones sold worldwide. During that year it shipped in about 11.7 million handsets, the “vast majority” of which went to customers in Asia. Uptake in Europe and North America during 2007 is forecast to drive overall shipments close to 20 million, or about 17.3 percent of the smartphone market. From there, shipments are expected to nearly quadruple by 2010, reaching 27 percent of all smartphones by 2012.

Worldwide Linux OS-based mobile phone sales, 2007 – 2012
(Source: Informa)

According to the report, more than 50 different Linux-based mobile phone models have reached market to date. Motorola, NEC, Panasonic, and Samsung are reportedly the top Linux phone OEMs (original equipment manufacturers), followed by Haier and ZTE. ODMs (original design manufacturers) that have shipped Linux-based handsets reportedly include Amoi, CECT, E28, FIC, Hisense, ImCoSys, WNC, and Vitelcom. (For a quick tour of some of the many Linux-powered mobile phones that have been announced or have shipped, visit our Linux Mobile Phones Showcase.)

The report is said to examine “four current types” of commercial Linux-based mobile phone products, including:

  • BSPs (board support packages)
    • MontaVista
    • Wind River
  • Linux OS stacks
    • Access Linux Platform (ALP)
    • Trolltech Greensuite
    • Mizi Research
  • “Productization” services
    • A la Mobile
    • Aplix
    • Celunite
  • Handset design services
    • Purple Labs
    • FIC

Beyond looking at Linux, the report reportedly analyzes open source projects such as Java and Java PhoneME, Nokia's use of the open source WebKit rendering engine in its S60 stack (a choice said to be “impacting on the decline of two market-leading browser vendors”), Motorola's potentially open source Java MIDP3 implementation, Adobe's Tamarin (Javascript 4.0) project, Funambol's MDM (mobile device management) server, and Eclipse Foundation tools.

Worldwide Java-enabled mobile phone sales, 2007 – 2012
(Source: Informa)

Constantinou commented, “In the last 12 months, open source has emerged as a software development methodology that is creating a welcome disruption to the mobile industry. Beyond the acceptance of Linux as a malleable advanced operating system challenging Symbian and Windows Mobile, open source is causing major shifts of power in mobile browsers, Java, mobile networks, and SIP.”


The report is available now, direct from Informa, starting at $4,500 for a paper-only version.

This article was originally published on and has been donated to the open source community by QuinStreet Inc. Please visit for up-to-date news and articles about Linux and open source.

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