The platform wars are heating up in the mobile phone industry. It is very difficult for a mobile carrier to support several different handset operating systems. Vodaphone CEO Arun Sarin estimated that his UK-based company supports 30 or 40 different OSes, according to this MacWorld UK report. Sarin is also quited in this Business Week article.
It takes a great deal of effort to establish a computing standard. Consider Apple, which became a new entrant with its iPhone. There are about 4 million Apple iPhones available or in use now, which is a respectable number when one considers its limited availability. There are no official iPhone providers in China or Japan yet, for example.
Google won’t make or market its own mobile phone, especially now that the company has dropped out of the 700 mHz auction, as reported by Forbes. The company’s Android mobile phone platform is based upon Linux, and over 30 companies have signed on to develop and support Android hardware. Prototypes of the Google phone were shown in Frankfurt at the Mobile World Congress this week. This CNET slideshow starts with a pic of one such prototype, which appears to be running and connected to a GSM network.
Microsoft used a similar approach to develop its Windows Mobile platform for PDAs and smartphones. The company expects that 20 million Windows Mobile phones from various manufacturers will be sold in the first half of 2008. None of these phones are Microsoft-branded devices.
Symbian claims to have the top spot, with 77 million units sold in the last year. Nokia is the main manufacturer that uses the Symbian operating system, along with Sony Ericsson. The latter company has started using Windows Mobile in its high-end smartphones, however.
For more information, see my earlier articles tagged as mobile, including:
- 11 February 2008: The modular mobile phone
- 31 January 2008: Applications are coming for the iPhone
- 25 January 2008: Nokia claims 40 percent market share
- 13 January 2008: The story of the iPhone
- 11 January 2008: BlackBerry vs iPhone
- 26 November 2007: Mobile devices for US census takers
- 24 September 2007: Do you want a PC on your iPhone?
- 23 April 2007: Samsung and Microsoft further their convergence goals