Now it's time for our favorite: speculation about the impossibly far-off future by "analysts." My personal opinion on the subject is that if you have enough analysts making enough predictions, they are bound to get some of them right, or at least close.
The impossibly far-off future that I mention is in 2015. You may say, "But that is only five years from now!" To which I would respond, "Exactly!" In 1990, did you have any inkling of the power of the internet? Or in 2000, did ever think that Apple would be massively successful? In 2005, could you have imagined Twitter? I'm just making a point here. Five years is a really long time in technology. Enough of my ranting.
ABI Research claims that Linux will rule the mobile device market in 2015. By mobile device, they actually mean anything mobile that isn't a smartphone, including smartbooks, MIDs, netbooks, etc. So far, I'm on board. Using Linux, a free-software, operating system makes sense. The makers of these devices don't have to pay licensing fees, and they can build on the success of previous iterations. Both Android and Google's upcoming Chrome OS are based on Linux.
They go further to say, "Linux-enabled mobile devices, led by the success of Google's Android and upcoming Chrome OSes, will comprise 62 percent of the operating systems shipping in all non-smartphone mobile devices by 2015." Again, this should not be so difficult, assuming nothing changes. I have no idea where they got the 62 from, but I am not an analyst.
Victoria Fodale, the firm's senior analyst, claims that Android will be the OS of choice in "linux-based non-smartphone mobile devices." She continues, "By 2015, there will be more than 20 million Android tablets worldwide. That's going to be a 53 percent market share of the Linux-based media tablets category." They believe there will be 156 million units in the mobile market in 2015.
There are, of course, operating systems that we know about but have not yet significantly hit the market. These include the Nokia/Intel collaboration, MeeGo, as well as Palm/HP's webOS. When asked about MeeGo, Fodale claimed that it fits under a category of Ubuntu-based devices. Ubuntu as you may know is a desktop version of Linux. This is where I start to lose trust in her, as MeeGo has nothing to do with Ubuntu. MeeGo is based on Nokia's Maemo (itself built on Debian Linux), and Intel's Fedora-based Moblin.
We have not yet seen how well webOS would fit into these niches, but Fodale pegs webOS as "On maybe 3 million netbooks in 2015, and with maybe 7 percent of the market for media tablets." Talk about no faith. Ouch.
Somehow, this study did not cover the current non-smartphone-mobile-device market-leader, the iPad. "We didn't cover the iPad," Fodale said. "We just looked at Linux-based distributions."
The most useful thing about this study may be that it gave definitions to names that have been thrown around a lot. For example, an MID is a device that's bigger than most phones with screens from four to six inches, and are built for ease of surfing. They may have productivity and other apps. A tablet of course has a larger than six-inch screen.
I hope by 2015, we will have a smartphones implanted in us, and I can call someone or check their Facebook status by thinking of them. What do you think?