Bangalore: Symbian still has the largest market in the mobile sector. Apple's iPhone through its open source platform is allowing developers to create unique applications. But the latest entrant in this field, Google Android, has captured the imagination of all the developers as it is d redefining the word open source.
Many experts claim that Google Android is being over hyped. But that isn't stopping all the mobile companies and developers to fiddle around with Google's unique open source platform. Verizon was the latest to jump on the Android bandwagon, citing the "unmatched openness and flexibility of the Android platform." Motorola recently announced that it would not be making phones based on the recently released Window Mobile 6.5 version.
Microsoft has been known well for working with developers. Microsoft depends upon third-party development and distribution partners as 97 percent of its sales come through its channel. But the company has not yet decided to opt for open source. Few days back Microsoft launched its Windows Mobile 6.5, which failed to catch media's attention. Currently, there are around 250 applications for Windows Mobile 6.5 as compared to more than 20,000 designed for Windows Mobile 6.0 and 6.1. Well of course version 6.5 has just launched so the application will be less, but Microsoft still faces the developer crisis as more and more are getting attracted towards open source platforms. Windows Mobile's market share has declined as just nine percent of handsets shipped in the second quarter of 2009 were from Microsoft, according to The Wall Street Journal.
As IBM's Savio Rodrigues suggests on CNET that, Research In Motion (RIM) could reduce its cost and improve the reach of its platform through open source. He feels that RIM should be utilizing R&D investments more effectively by leveraging existing open-source projects. RIM could have built its software development kit for a lower investment by starting with PhoneGap or an equivalent open-source framework which would have allowed RIM to compete with Apple and Palm, and others who are providing open source platform.
It is a critical situation for Microsoft as all the ways seems to point in the direction of open source right now. Microsoft might have to gamble and go for open source to match the growing popularity of Android and the fascination of iPhone.