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Linux to outship Windows Mobile by 2013

Analyst predicts open source surge

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Smartphones running Linux look set to become far more commonplace within the next five years, market watcher ABI Research has forecast.

The firm’s VP, Stuart Carlaw, reckons that Linux will feature on 23 per cent of smartphones by 2013. He added that that share of the market will put the open source operating system in second place in the smartphone popularity stakes, putting it behind Symbian and ahead of Microsoft's Windows Mobile worldwide.

Carlaw’s latest forecast builds on his 2007 prediction that more than 127m devices will be driven by Linux by 2012, up from just 8.1m in 2007.

ABI said that LiMo and Android will take the “lion’s share” of the Linux-on-smartphones segment. But ABI also expects rivals, such as Maemo, which is used by Nokia on its internet tablets, to make a big impact too.

The increasing prevalence of Linux-based smartphones could take root as a result of some manufacturers’ poor performance in specific regions. For example, ABI recently found that Nokia has a “poor position” in the Americas, which contributed to Symbian only achieving a four per cent share of the smartphone market there during 2007.

Linux will, of course, also have to compete with Microsoft Mobile, which is already featured on many of today's phones, such as HTC’s Touch Pro. Microsoft recently released the latest version, 6.1, but it’s rumoured that the upcoming version 7 will sport a much more user-friendly interface that's similar to the iPhone’s.

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