Friday, August 9, 2013

Mobile Linux

In the previous posting I told about Chrome OS.

Why yet another Linux based OS?

How about Android, that's also Linux based and provided by Google too. Why two competing solutions from the same vendor? Well, first of all, Android uses Java, which intellectual property is owned by another company. Second reason is that Google does not have 100% control over Android. Device vendors are free to modify their Android flavors, and that has led to a situation where Google's brand value is diminishing, while device manufacturers are taken more role; that's a Samsung Android, or Acer Android, or Lenovo Android, not just plain Android.

Chrome OS is fully controlled by Google, and device vendors are not allowed to modify it. Google pushes software updates to all devices simultaneously, and user experience across different device brands remains the same, rising Google’s positions and diminishing device vendors. Just what happened in PC industry decades ago, when Microsoft Windows managed to gain the controlling position of the industry, and hardware brands lost the importance.

Chrome OS and it's applications are based on web technologies, which enables easy integration to any other web based services provided by Google and other vendors. Due to this, it's obvious that Google will push Chrome OS instead of Android. Now we're just waiting for Google to launch a Chrome OS based phone of its own. Remember, Google acquired Motorola's Mobile Devices division  last year. But why to have a hardware of your own? Well, Apple makes majority of the profit of the mobile industry, with help of its own hardware.

ARM, Linux and Web, the winning combination

Let's take a look at some of the most known brand consumer electronics devices of the day: Samsung Galaxy, Apple iPhon, Apple iPad, Nokia Lumia, and finally my Samsung Chromebook,  what's in common? Well, they are all having ARM CPU, not Intel inside.   

 IDC study, Aug. 2013
At the day, Android is dominating mobile phones, having stunning 80% market share, according to IDC market study (Aug. 2013).  Fur sure, Android will not disappear in the near future, instead I believe the rise of Chrome OS together with other variants like Jolla and Bada/Tizen will even increase the market share of devices based on Linux technology.

Chrome OS is just an example of the megatrend of transition towards the use of web technologies for more generic purposes. Remember, Adobe abandoned Flash in favor of HTML5. Today, even the most conservative embedded industry is adopting HTML5. Not only in remote user interface, but I have seen even application logic embedded systems implemented using web technologies.

I conclude my post by stating that ARM, Linux and HTML5 are the winning combination of the day, and the right choice for the embedded systems as well, whether in consumer of industrial segment.


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