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11/30/2007
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Google's Android Could Provide Sustenance For Mobile Linux

Google's Open Handset Alliance and its use of Apache V2 public license, could prove as a proof-of-concept for some companies, ABI analysts suggest.

Mobile Linux developers -- frustrated over the fragmentation of Linux offerings -- may find a rallying point in Google's Android, according to a Mobile Linux report and analysis released Friday by ABI Research.

Noting that much of the industry is supporting Linux offerings, the market research analyst group indicated there remains many hurdles to be jumped before many offerings will be able to make it to the marketplace.

"Android provides a ready-made ecosystem of vendors, carriers, and software developers that could provide enormous economy-of-scale right from the start," said ABI research director Stuart Carlaw, in a statement. "Another concern over Linux involves how to monetize innovation that is subject to a public license. Android solves this through the use of the Apache V2 public license."

ABI said mobile Linux will face significant barriers including vertical fragmentation due to the lack of complete stack as well as horizontal fragmentation because of the development of many parallel solutions. Because of the fragmentation, the market research firm said carriers, device vendors, and third-party software developers have struggled to justify platform development investments.

The Android effort could even produce a surprise side-effect, ABI said. It could provide a proof-of-concept for mobile Linux that could help some companies. ABI cited ACCESS and Trolltech as companies that could be so helped.

Since Google announced the Android Open Handset Alliance earlier this month, scores of companies have begun working to produce hardware and software products and features for the open platform. Also key to its mobile plans, Google on Friday announced that it plans to bid in the 700 MHz auction scheduled to take place in January.

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