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Global Director of Sales, Research
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Mobile Operating Systems: Who's Minding the App Store?
It is not a stretch to argue that the role of all mobile operating systems (OSs) is as big as it is underappreciated when it comes to the present and future of the mobile market. Smartphones are marketed as devices that allow users to do more compared to their "feature phone" cousins. Doing more requires an OS that is capable of supporting a wide variety of third-party apps.

The mobile OS market's biggest problem is fragmentation: Unlike PCs, no single OS dominates, and the number of OSs keeps growing. This diversity and proliferation increases costs and time to market for application developers and content providers that want to target more than one OS's worth of end users.

OSs are a factor not just for cell phones, but for mobile WiMax devices, too. Although virtually all first-gen mobile WiMax devices are designed for data and multimedia applications, many other devices will support voice, too. That change in usage scenario creates the possibility that an OS originally designed for cell phones could be ported to WiMax handsets. So, as WiMax increases the number of devices running a particular OS, it also increases the addressable market for applications compatible with that OS.

The revenue opportunities of mobile OS are attracting more than just wireless carriers. OSs can make it easier for end users to buy applications directly from third parties or through aggregation sites, as well as cutting carriers out of transactions. In 2009, many carriers will add on-phone storefronts to make it easier for customers to buy applications, ensuring a cut of those sales.

Although some OS vendors are putting up a resistance, the industry trend clearly is toward openness. However, "open" is a vague, relative term, so just because an OS says it is open or headed that way does not necessarily mean that it provides the features and flexibility that handset vendors, application developers, and wireless carriers seek.

This report identifies and analyzes key issues that will affect the mobile OS market through 2010. It also profiles the major smartphone OSs in terms of their features, openness, handset vendor and wireless carrier adoption, developer community, and other factors that affect their competitive strengths and weaknesses.

Sample research data from the report is shown in the excerpts below:
Table of Contents(uni0209_toc.pdf)
Although there are many dominant OSs, none of them dominates the way that Windows does in the PC world. Some OSs are growing mindshare and market share by leaps and bounds as of late, but the wild card is whether they can sustain that momentum. These are among the reasons why the mobile OS market will remain fragmented through at least 2010. The following excerpt summarizes each OS mentioned in this report.
[click on the image above for the full excerpt]
Companies discussed in this report include: a la Mobile Inc.; Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL); AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T); F-Secure Corp.; Google Inc. (Nasdaq: GOOG); Handmark Inc.; Handango Inc.; HTC Corp. (TAIEX: 2498); Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT); MontaVista Software Inc.; Nokia Corp. (NYSE: NOK); Palm Inc. (Nasdaq: PALM); Research in Motion Ltd. (Nasdaq: RIMM); Samsung Telecommunications America LLP, a subsidiary of Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. (Korea: SEC); Sprint Nextel Corp. (NYSE: S); and Synchronica plc.
Total pages: 22
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