Perhaps a New Smartphone OS Is Coming After All

Carl Weinschenk
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Last week, I blogged about the issue created by Google when it bought Motorola Mobility. The situation is pretty simple: Google owns a device manufacturing operation that is in competition with the various vendors that use its Android operating system and vendors are upset.


In the piece - which linked to a story in The Wall Street Journal by Dennis Berman - I quoted Android Authority's Mihai Andrici to the effect that vendors are so uncomfortable with the situation that they are going to develop their own smartphone operating system.


I am still not convinced that that is a likely scenario. Creating, building, marketing and supporting an OS is a significant effort. It's fair to point out, however, that a bit of evidence has surfaced that indicates that Andrici is on the right track. Last week, Tom's Hardware posted a story based on a report from a story at Engadget that suggested Canonical is beefing up for such an effort. (Here is the list at Canonical.)


Indeed, the description, as summarized by Tom's Hardware, leaves little mystery as to what the end goal is:

Anyone looking to apply for the position must have seven or more years of experience in the smartphone field, and the ability to build strong relationships between multiple departments (including sales, marketing, business development, engineering and product management) among other things. They will be responsible for establishing a commercial ecosystem around Ubuntu as a smartphone OS, driving awareness of Ubuntu's smartphone strategy across key industry decision makers, and successfully launching the Ubuntu smartphone ecosystem.

Another interesting note on the Google/Motorola Mobility situation is that there appear to be stronger rumors that the new owners may be trying to cut its losses (but of course keep the patents). Rethink Wireless suggests that Huawei is the leading candidate, though it is unclear whether the companies are talking.

The smartphone operating system environment is interesting. The category is expanding quickly and it is dominated by two players. One (Apple) is proprietary and the other (Google) is open. Other companies, such as Microsoft and Research In Motion, are on the periphery. Whether there will be significant shifts or a stable landscape that will exist going forward likely will be determined during the next year or so. What Google does - or doesn't do - with Motorola Mobility perhaps will be the key to how it plays out.

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