QNX just went open source, how will this affect mobile phone operating systems?

logoqnx.gifSymbian powers nearly 7 out of 10 smartphones on the planet. Nokia uses it and builds S60 on top to create devices that lead in multimedia. Sony Ericsson uses it and slaps UIQ on top to create devices that are smarter than typical feature phones. A major competitor to Symbian is Linux, an operating system that was built from the ground up to run primarily on servers. What I just said was a gross generalization, but play along for a moment.

QNX is an operating system built from the ground up to run on embedded hardware. It is a full blown real time operating system that is POSIX compliant. This sucker was made for low power, ultra responsive, never ever (hopefully) going to crash devices. In essence this operating system is an ideal candidate to lay the foundation for a new mobile operating system.

Sure the developer community may be small, yes it is relatively unknown, but the entire OS fits on a floppy disk. Remember those things? Hardware support, graphics subsystem, TCP/IP support, all that on a space smaller than 2 megabytes. Has QNX just set off an atom bomb in the mobile phone world or am I just plain wrong?

I would like to hear what you have to say as I certainly do not have the credentials to comment on something like this.

[Read the interview with the CEO of QNX, Dan Doge, over at OS News to get more information]

  • olly

    I think you probably are mostly right here. I’d say the real challenge to getting Embedded Linux is, as you mentioned, the developer community — even among Linux, which has a HUGE developer community, embedded developers are much fewer and far between.

    Where Linux will really shine is on the portability of apps… just as you saw your people porting everything under then sun to the N770 and N800, if the code is there it’s only a matter of time.

    Good read!


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