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Device operating systems

The OS Outlook

2:05 PM -- With all the major handset makers having wrapped up their second-quarter earnings, we've gotten a clear picture of where the mobile phone market is going (smartphones, touchscreens, falling ASPs). But it's also easy to see the operating systems on which handset makers are placing their bets. (See Smartphone Wars Pay Off in Q2.) Google (Nasdaq: GOOG)'s Android OS was the name of the game again for most of the handset makers, with the glaring exception of Nokia Corp. (NYSE: NOK), which is focused on Symbian and MeeGo, and HP Inc. (NYSE: HPQ), which is going with Windows and webOS.

Strategy Analytics Inc. senior analyst Bonny Joy says that, while Android is becoming a force to be reckoned with, the smartest OS strategy is one that thinks beyond smartphones.

If the OS is being pushed into other verticals like tablets, TV, and automobiles, it has the best shot of staying around for awhile, he says. That would provide a leg up for Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL)'s iOS 4, Android, and potentially Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT) Windows and Nokia's new MeeGo platform, depending on the execution of the latter two. (See Microsoft Working on Tablet.)

"Vendors who have a constant business only in smartphones will be facing some tough choices," Joy says. "They will have to extend to other categories to make the best use of the platform. Motorola Inc. (NYSE: MOT) and Samsung Corp. will launch tablets, and they already have laptops. BlackBerry will probably see more development in other categories. Those that have maximum modularity will succeed."

— Sarah Reedy, Senior Reporter, Light Reading Mobile

sarahthomas1011 12/5/2012 | 4:28:21 PM
re: The OS Outlook

It seems like the number of OSs in the market can't be sustainable. Both the handset makers and wireless operators are honing in on just a few. Android is the main one of these, but it will take strong differentiation and improved user experiences for the others to compete.

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