According to new research from The Diffusion Group, as demand for advanced mobile devices accelerates, the battle between mobile OS vendors will intensify with market-leader Symbian gradually losing share to both Microsoft's Mobile Windows and Linux.
TDG's latest report, Advanced Mobile Operating Systems: Analysis & Forecasts, finds that at year-end 2005 Symbian enjoyed a market share of 51%, followed by Linux (23%) and Microsoft's mobile OS platforms (17%). Linux enjoyed a sizeable boost in shipments during the second half of 2005, something which very few forecasters were expecting but a trend which TDG believes will continue.
"Symbian will maintain leading share through 2009, but 2007 will see the beginning of Symbian's decline in share as the combined market penetration of Windows, Linux, and native Java begin to erode developer and vendor support for Symbian," said Lee Allen, report author and lead mobile analyst with TDG.
At year-end 2010, Symbian's market share of advanced mobile devices will decline to approximately 22%, behind both Windows (29%) and Linux (26%).
Other key findings of the study include the following:
* The main drivers of growth for advanced mobile operating systems will be the emergence of the Chinese market and the worldwide migration of users to more powerful devices as more sophisticated applications and seamless mobility are offered by operators.
* Microsoft will leverage the presence of the Pocket PC and Smartphone versions of Windows Mobile, along with tight integration of Windows Mobile 5.0 with other Windows platforms, into a strong value proposition for enterprise and advanced consumer users.
* The marketplace winner will be determined by factors such as integration with other platforms, how easy it is to develop applications, and the mix between looseness and tightness in the developer organization.
* The main result of crossfire between Linux and Windows Mobile will be to pave the way for SavaJe and other native Java platforms.