Nokia's Symbian purchase and subsequent open source release will put pressure on Linux phone stack vendors and Microsoft alike, writes Andreas Constantinou in a thought-provoking guest editorial. An open source Symbian release, when and if it happens, could even offer a few things Android and LiMo won't, he suggests.
Constantinou is among the freshest new voices analyzing the mobile phone market. A technical researcher with a Ph.D. in compression algorithms, Constantinou currently heads up research efforts at VisionMobile, a fairly new firm that publishes commissioned research as well as subscriber-supported reports.
According to Constantinou, an open source Symbian would put additional pressure on Linux operating system software stack suppliers and phone integrators. “If Android signaled the commoditization of the mobile operating system business, the Symbian Foundation platform is the nail in the coffin,” he writes.
He also observes that an open source version of Symbian, when and if it arrives in a year or two, could have at least one an advantage over Linux-based alternatives. “The Symbian Foundation platform will be backwards compatible with Symbian OS 9, S60 3rd Edition. This backwards compatibility warranty isn't offered by either Android (which may suffer from fragmentation by design) or by LiMo (which effectively standardizes middleware and kernel, less so the application environment).”
As for Windows Mobile, the other competitor in the smartphone ring? “Windows Mobile is the only licensable OS for mid/high-end phones which doesn't have a consortium-based contribution model and an open-source-like license (apart from selected parts of the Windows CE source code which are under varying Shared Source licenses). I would expect Microsoft to react in the next quarter by open sourcing more of Windows Mobile.”
For more interesting insights about the proposed deal, click below to read Constantinou's guest opinion.
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