Comparison and Analysis of Mobile Platforms

Project

This website was created as an academic exercise by a team of students from Carnegie Mellon University, Silicon Valley Campus, as part of their class project for the Summer 2009 elective course "Open Source Software".

Team Members

Colin Chipman, Desmond Cheung, Harmeet Singh, Pratyush Dave, Rahul Iyengar, Riju Kallivalappil

Purpose

The purpose of this website is to provide a comparison and analysis of the mobile platforms available today that are either based on open source software, or have an open Application Programmer Interface (API) or open Software Development Kits (SDK) available. The team identified 10 such platforms.

This page has two tables, the first table provides a quick comparison of the 10 mobile platforms. The names of the mobile platforms, in the first column of this table each link to individual web pages that have a detailed analysis of the platform.

The second table lists the most popular features (scenarios) that consumers look for in a mobile phone. Additionally the website provides forums for each of the listed mobile platforms and scenarios, where people can enter their blogs to promote discussions. The entire website is a wiki-based site to allow other people to contribute to this website.

Comparison of Mobile Platforms

Mobile Platform Open Source Open API/SDK License Type Underlying OS Documentation Support Comments
Symbian Yes (mid-2010) Yes Eclipse Public License (EPL) Symbian OS Symbian Developer Network Symbian Developer Network Most popular mobile platform in the world
Android Yes Yes Apache Linux Android Documentation Mailing Lists
LiMo Yes Yes GPL Linux API Documentation Developer Support Foundation code available only to Founder and Core members of LiMo Foundation
OpenMoko Yes Yes GPL Linux OpenMoko Wiki OpenMoko Community Platform is open source hardware OpenMoko
Palm webOS No Yes Proprietary Linux API docs Support Latest and most viable threat to iPhone
iPhone No Yes Proprietary Darwin Documentation Support The market leader in smartphones with respect to functionality and growing at a very fast clip
Maemo Partially Yes Open Source (GPL) Linux Documentation Developer Support
Moblin Yes Yes GPL Linux Moblin Documentation Moblin Community Initial development targeted for browser-based content and media applications
RIM No Yes Proprietary BlackBerry OS Documentation Developer Support RIM has the largest smartphone market share. iPhone is a real threat to RIM.
Windows Mobile No Yes (Win32 API) Microsoft EULA Win32 Online Documentation Developer Support Site Declining worldwide smartphone market share (14% in 2009 down from 23% in 2004). HTC makes 80% of all Windows Mobile smartphones.

Scenarios for Mobile Platforms

Scenario Description
Game Platform A platform that can support gaming. Forum
Corporate Email Platform Secure, encryption-based client-server connection with automatic email synchronization with enterprise email servers like Lotus Domino or Exchange, and automatic email "push" to mobile device. RIM offers capability built into the OS; support for iPhone, Windows Mobil, and Symbian available through Sybase iAnywhere Mobile Office, a third-party application. Forum
Deliveries Tool This application refers to mapping ability, inventory control, and connection to headquarters IT. Good platforms include WinMo, Android, and Openmoko. Forum
Social Networking / Messaging Support for social networking and other types of messaging applications. iPhone, WinMo, RIM, Symbian, Android, Moblin and Palm WebOS provide the best experiences for this scenario. Forum
Media Player Build an application for streaming audio/video. Requires presence of a media player capable of streaming of some kind(MMS/RTSP/HTTP Live streaming). Forum
Third-party applications This refers to application developed by third parties, that is, not the OS or hardware developers or a carrier. Considerations for this are support for developers and size of user base. Good platforms are WinMo and iPhone. Forum
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