Why OSS is a MUST for Smartphones
Tuesday, 28 September 2010 17:06

phone_os_logosLooking at the popular Smartphones one common trend is apparent: software and apps are everything, a good hardware is not desirable when it is not powered by great software, a great operation system is meaningless when there are not thousands of free or low price apps. And: Open Source Software (OSS) pays off even though it might be free to purchase for customers. This especially applies to mobile operating systems that are source available or have at least powerful and well documented APIs.

Let's have a look a the most common operation systems:

  • Android: OSS
  • BlackBerry OS: Proprietary, OSS SDK (WebWorks)
  • iOS: Proprietary EULA, OSS components
  • MeeGo: OSS
  • Symbian: OSS
  • Windows: are you kidding?

The usage of OSS for Smartphone operation systems is more than a recent trend. Device creators have understood that there will be only commercial success with devices with a rich app landscape at hand. And a huge amount of apps is only generated when the 3rd party developer are well supported. Not only SDKs, documentation and test devices but also fair sales condition in the central app stores.

Nokia realized this (too?) late and is now the only company developing for Symbian which was made Open Source (too?) short ago. We will see if MeeGo (together in development with Intel) is the better iron in the fire. Microsoft focuses all energy on Windows Phone 7 and tries to catch more developers with a huge PR strategy - nothing new. But: will that pay off with an all-proprietary OS? Research In Motion (RIM) just announced the WebWorks SDK which is released as OSS at github. Furthermore RIM tries to make the BlackBerry a more attractive target for developers by changing the conditions of RIM's app-store.



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