Linux will dominate the non-smartphone mobile device market by 2015, a study by ABI Research indicates, and Google will likely play a prominent role in this.
“Linux-enabled mobile devices, led by the success of Google’s Android and upcoming Chrome OSes, will comprise 62 percent of the operating systems shipping in all non-smartphone mobile devices by 2015,” ABI Research said.
Google Begins With the Word ‘Go’
Android will be the operating system of choice in Linux-based non-smartphone mobile devices, ABI Research senior analyst Victoria Fodale told LinuxInsider.
“By 2015, there will be more than 20 million Android tablets worldwide,” Fodale predicted. “That’s going to be a 53 percent market share of the Linux-based media tablets category.”
The study covered netbooks, media tablets and mobile Internet devices, also known as “MIDs.”
“The definition of MIDs is in transition, because things are changing so quickly,” Fodale said. “Right now, we’re defining them as small ultraportable computers — bigger than a cellphone but smaller than a netbook or notebook computer — that are designed for easy access to email and Web browsing,” she elaborated. “They may support basic productivity applications, have a screen size of four to six inches, and may fit in a pocket or purse.”
Tablets are mobile devices that have screens larger than six inches, Fodale said.
The mobile market will total 156 million units in 2015, Fodale said. However, the firm reviews forecasts on a quarterly, and sometimes on a monthly, basis, so those figures could change.
Other Linux Distros and webOS
Fodale also looked at Nokia’s MeeGo; a category she calls Ubuntu “because they’re all different implementations of Ubuntu”; and Palm’s webOS.
HP may be focusing now on producing a tablet running webOS, but will the platform have any traction by 2015?
“I don’t see webOS having a huge share of the market,” Fodale said. “I have it on maybe 3 million netbooks in 2015, and with maybe 7 percent of the market for media tablets.”
Several manufacturers have announced plans to offer Linux-based mobile non-smartphone devices soon. In addition to HP’s possible webOS plans, Cisco recently announced its Cius tablet running Android; Samsung and LG plan to unveil Android-based tablets later this year; and Acer is reported to be working on two Android tablets.
What about the iPad?
Apps are the key to success on mobile platforms, and right now, developers are lining up to create apps for the Android platform, so perhaps Fodale is correct.
However, her calculations don’t mention the current king of the hill — the iPad.
Does ABI Research expect the iPad to die off or to be overtaken by Linux-based mobile non-smartphone devices in the next five years?
“We didn’t cover the iPad,” Fodale said. “We just looked at Linux-based distributions.”
The remaining 38 percent of the mobile non-smartphone device market will run on Linux-based PC distros, and Windows platforms, Fodale said.