About five years ago companies like Sun and Oracle were declaring that the age of the Open Source desktop was just around the corner and that the days of both Microsoft and Apple were numbered. Then last year, Linux based netbooks were supposed to make Open Source software the leader in portable computing as the easy to use devices finally popularized the Linux desktop with consumers.
Neither of those revolutions exactly came to passno one expects Open Source software to be a serious contender on desktop or notebook computers anytime soon. However Open Source has quietly come to dominate another vital area of mobile computing phones. Leading that charge is not Linux or some exotic home brew OS, but Symbian. People tend to forget that due to the Symbian Foundation, Nokias OS of choice is Open Source and expected to double its penetration over the next few years.
According to Digitimes, handsets that run some flavor of Symbian will account for 180 million shipments by 2014, (currently 87 million Symbian handsets ship a year). Once the burgeoning Android handset market and LiMo shipments are added to that, total open source handset shipments will far surpass 220 million by 2014. Open Source handsets also drive more developers into Open Source as users need more and better applications for their shiny phones.