February 12, 2010 / 10:32 AM / 10 years ago

FACTBOX-Mobile software market increasingly crowded

Feb 12 (Reuters) - Samsung Electronics (005930.KS) is introducing its bada software platform, crashing an already crowded party, at the world’s largest mobile industry event next week in Barcelona. [ID:nLDE6150DW] [ID:nTOE61302O]

With Apple (AAPL.O), Palm PALM.O and BlackBerry-maker Research in Motion RIM.TO RIMM.O also developing their own operating systems, the following systems are battling it out:

SYMBIAN

Nokia’s NOK1V.HE workhorse Symbian controls around half the mobile operating system market but has lost much ground over the past two years to Apple and RIM. Nokia uses Symbian for all its smartphones, while for top-end phones, which it calls mobile computers, it uses Maemo, which is its own version of Linux.

The Symbian Foundation, which inherited intellectual property from Nokia and other former shareholders of British-based smartphone maker Symbian, distributes the software royalty-free.

Symbian is also the key platform for No. 4 phone maker Sony Ericsson (6758.T)(ERICb.ST), which also uses Android and Windows.

Symbian’s market share has fallen to 47.2 percent from 52.4 percent, according to research firm Canalys.

ANDROID

Google’s Open Handset Alliance of companies supporting its Android mobile phone software includes Taiwanese smartphone maker HTC (2498.TW), Germany’s T-Mobile (DTEGn.DE) and Intel (INTC.O), the world’s biggest chipmaker.

Android has won attention in the mobile industry lately, with Motorola MOT.N and Sony Ericsson choosing it for new top models. [ID:nGEE5B603O]

Its market share rose to 4.7 percent last year, from just 0.5 percent a year earlier.

WINDOWS MOBILE

Microsoft (MSFT.O) has tried to conquer the mobile market for years without success. Its Windows mobile operating system used to be the second most popular for smartphones after Symbian but has been overtaken by Apple and Research in Motion.

All top vendors except Nokia support Windows Mobile, but HTC is the world’s largest maker of phones using Windows. While Motorola, Samsung and Sony Ericsson have Windows phones on the market, they make up only a small proportion of their offerings.

In February 2009, Microsoft signed a deal with LG Electronics (066570.KS), under which the world’s third-largest cellphone maker will use Windows extensively. [ID:nLG570387]

Windows market share dropped to 8.8 percent last year from 13.9 percent in 2008, according to Canalys.

LIMO

Linux consortium LiMo hopes to benefit from its focus on giving greater say over software development to telecoms operators.

LiMo Foundation was set up in 2007 by Samsung, NTT DoCoMo (9437.T), France Telecom’s Orange FTE.PA, and NEC Corp (6701.T), Panasonic Corp (6752.T), Vodafone (VOD.L).

Last year its large six global operator members pledged to roll out LiMo phones, but only three have done it thus far. It has a couple of percent of global market share.

For a FACTBOX on smartphone makers: [ID:nTOE61208O]

Reporting by Tarmo Virki, editing by Will Waterman

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