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As Android Passes RIM, What’s Next?

In the smartphone market, Android is now number one, according to a press release issued Friday by comScore, a company that measures online activity.

According to their figures, Android has passed RIM to take the top spot, with a 34.7% market share, up from 28.7% on December 10. During the same period, RIM’s share dropped 4.5 points, from 31.6% to 27.1%. Apple’s share remained relatively flat, increasing slightly from 25.0% to 25.5%. Microsoft and Palm dropped 0.9%, and now claim 7.5% and 2.8% respectively.


This is something of a mixed blessing for us FOSSers. On one hand, it’s nice to see an open source project become such a hit with consumers. On the other, ownership of the smartphone market by Android isn’t helping Tux gain traction on the desktop at all – because Google seems intent on keeping Android’s Linux roots pretty much out of the public eye. I’ve yet to see a single Android ad mention Linux at all. No penguins are in sight wherever smartphones are sold.

This isn’t likely to change anytime soon, even with Android in the process of evolving into a tablet platform, as Google probably thinks that identifying their hot property with Linux would be more hindrance than help. They probably figure that very few smartphone users even know what Linux is, and those that do have heard that it’s a complicated system suitable only for hard core geeks.

However, if Android tablets are a success, a good bet if you ask me, then wide scale desktop Linux won’t be far behind, in the form of… Android.

I know, Google has claimed that the minimalist cloud based Chrome will be their desktop OS. Well, forget it, that bird will never fly. What will fly, especially after millions come to know and love Android on their phones and tablets, is an expanded Android for the desktop/laptop market. It’ll come with it’s own GUI of course, with no KDE or Gnome in sight, and users will download apps from the Google app store.

When that day arrives, I’ll tip my hat to Google and congratulate them for their success. But my machines will continue to boot into PCLOS, Debian, or any distro other than Android. The distro on my desktop needs to be proud to be penguin!

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Christine Hall has been a journalist since 1971. In 2001, she began writing a weekly consumer computer column and started covering Linux and FOSS in 2002 after making the switch to GNU/Linux.

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