Growth of the Number of Smartphone Operating Systems

About two to three years ago, a lot was written about mobile network operators and mobile developers and their difficulties resulting from the need to develop and maintain their offerings for number of different mobile operating systems and Java implementations. These days, however, I don't come across such reports often anymore.

I find that a bit surprising because instead of the number of mobile operating systems going down and thus also the concerns of network operators and developers, the number has actually gone up. Especially in the smartphone sector, Nokia and Microsoft no longer have a dominance and the list has become quite long these days:

  • Nokia with Symbian / S60,
  • Nokia with Maemo 5,
  • Microsoft with Windows Mobile,
  • Google with Android,
  • Apple with the iPhone OS,
  • Palm with the PalmPre WebOS,
  • RIM with the Blackberry OS.

Some are still more niche than others but all are quite popular in the news media and except for Palm, who's limited to CDMA for the moment (but probably not much longer), devices of all vendors can be seen in the street.

Also it seems the platform of choice for software development has shifted. Some years ago, you were working on Nokia / Symbian if you had a cool application. These days, I don't hear much of that anymore, with most developers having gone to the Apple platform.

So while for developers and network operators things are probably not getting any easier, the good things I see in diversity are more competition resulting in interesting new developments and better resiliency of the ecosystem against pandemic malware attacks.

3 thoughts on “Growth of the Number of Smartphone Operating Systems”

  1. Windows Mobile has 2 flavors as well: Pro for touchscreen devices and Standard for non-touchscreen.
    They’re not the same, as UI and native and 3rd part softwares are different.

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