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Device operating systems

OS Watch: Facebook Phones It In

There's been a heap of rumors this week around whether Facebook is building its own mobile phone or, at least, mobile operating system.

TechCrunch first reported that the social networking giant was building the software stack for a partner-built phone, a claim that Mark Zuckerberg denied. Bloomberg later added fuel to the fire, reporting that INQ Mobile Ltd. will build two new devices for Facebook to be unveiled in the first half of 2011 and carried by operators in Europe and AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) in the US in the second half of the year.

"I mean, who knows, 10 years down the road, maybe we'll build our own operating system or something, but who knows," Zuckberg told TechCrunch editor Michael Arrington. "That is more history than we've had so far with the company, so it is really hard to predict that far out. But for now, I think, everything is going to be shades of integration, rather than starting from the ground up and building a whole system."

  • Frag Watch: Another month, another update on Android's fragmentation problem (or non-issue, depending on whom you ask). Google (Nasdaq: GOOG)'s latest OS update shows that its two most recent OS versions, Android 2.2 and 2.1, are installed on 28.7 percent and 41.7 percent of the Android phones on the market, respectively. That leaves two older versions making up the rest. (See Android Defrags, Takes Over, Android’s 5 Flavors of Fragmentation, and Android’s Fragmentation ‘Problem’.)

    Among its latest attempts to lessen the impact of fragmentation, Google is moving its popular Gmail service from the OS to the app market, so that everyone can get the updates. Before you get too excited, though, the new Gmail app only runs on Android 2.2, bringing us back to square one for now.

  • Android, iPhone go to work: BlackBerry 's grip on the enterprise is slipping as it loses favor to the iPhone and Android. According to a recent ChangeWave survey, the Android OS has seen a fivefold increase in corporate market share in the past nine months, growing to 16 percent. RIM's OS has slipped 3 percentage points, although it maintains its leadership with 66 percent of the market. (See Torch Is RIM's Hottest BlackBerry Yet and Should RIM Support Apple & Android?)

    The iPhone captures 31 percent of the corporate market and, according to CNBC, is being adopted by more of the suits on Wall Street. Credit Suisse, Bank of America, and JP Morgan are among the large firms adding support for the iPhone, and Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL) says that 80 of the Fortune 100 companies are supporting or testing iPhones.

  • A new OS for RIM?: RIM may be rocky in the enterprise, but it's not giving up. According to The Wall Street Journal, the BlackBerry maker is mulling a completely new mobile OS before RIM 6.0 has even had a chance to prove itself. The OS is reportedly being built by QNX Software Systems , the company RIM acquired in April, and will debut on RIM's rumored BlackPad tablet. (See RIM's DataViz Buy Could Help With Tablet Biz and RIM Buys QNX.)

  • Nokia wins in ads: One area where the beleaguered Nokia Corp. (NYSE: NOK) can claim superiority is in mobile advertising. Independent mobile ad network InMobi reports that Nokia's OS carried 48 percent of all its display ad impressions in July, while Apple only snagged 8 percent. InMobi suggests that's because of the closed, pricey nature of Apple's iAd platform, a complaint other advertisers have echoed. (See RIM Wants Ads, Apple Doesn't and JumpTap Lures Developers From Apple, Google.)

    — Sarah Reedy, Senior Reporter, Light Reading Mobile

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