ARM Wrestling Ubuntu

Today a friend of ours pointed out an interesting agreement signed between ARM Ltd. and Canonical Ltd to use the Ubuntu operating system (OS) including the full desktop. ARM are the folks who build mobile processors with embedded operating systems, Canononical is the commercial sponsor of Ubuntu. These processors are used in hundreds of types of mobile devices (including our best loved and sadly missed Palm Tungsten).

Other Open Source OS’s for mobile

Mobile OS’s

This is a very smart move. It will introduce another competitive OS in what may be turning out to be a cat fight of Open Source mobile OS’s. Ubuntu brings to the table a very stable OS, widely distributed development, a rich desktop environment with what seems to be an unlimited stream of very good applications. It is claimed the device:

…features 3G network support at its core, and allows users to move between wired, wifi and 3G networks, with support for inbuilt modems, data cards and dongles.

all of which is yet to be proven.

Why do I care?

You should care if you are working within the mobile industry:

    We look forward to the day we will buy handsets from the Dollar store.
  • Carrier: Your business model has just changed. You can no longer consider deeply discounting locked overpriced proprietary handsets ( and onerous contract terminations costs) as a customer retentions strategy. Your future business model should consider that handsets are free (nothing, nil, nix, nada, null, aught, cipher, cypher, goose egg, naught, zero, zilch, zip) or at least not bought from you.
  • Support System: You need to consider what capabilities your system might require in this new untethered world. What services, features and management capability can you consider that will take advantage of a mobile handset that hosts a full implementation of Ubuntu? Can you provide add-on value that will make your product more valuable? Perhaps you can be a Support System provider to clients outside of the Carrier environment?
  • Application Provider: You have just been given a blank slate for application creation. What different capabilities, work mode and user interaction will be required in a world of highly flexible and powerfully configured mobile devices?

Open hardware - the next frontier

It seems to us that the next logical step in the progression in this world may be the open source hardware that is smartphone on a chip. We’ll then be able to build our own Get Smart shoe phone. The world of telecom is so cool!

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