Linux Foundation Research Proposes New Direction for Mobile Industry with Open Source

SAN FRANCISCO (September 25, 2023) — The Linux Foundation, the nonprofit organization enabling mass innovation through open source, today announced the release of the LF Research publication, "A New Direction for the Mobile Industry: Making the Case for More Open and Transparent Mobile Software." The research informs understanding of how open source is delivering more openness at every level of the mobile stack – tools, frameworks, APIs, infrastructure, and datasets.

In today's digital age, open ecosystems have consistently demonstrated their profound advantages over closed systems. These benefits include heightened innovation, enhanced collaboration, efficiency, the promotion of industry standards and interoperability, and adaptability to evolving markets. Produced in partnership with Mobile Native Foundation, OpenJS Foundation, Open Mobile Hub, Overture Maps Foundation, and NativeScript, and sponsored by Futurewei Technologies, the research provides an overview of the problems affecting today’s mobile ecosystem, and highlights how open source can create opportunities for greater innovation in the sector.

“This research broadens the understanding of why the world needs a healthy, open ecosystem in the mobile industry that will benefit all stakeholders in the marketplace - including consumers and developers," said Raul Quino of Futurewei. "New open source solutions like the Open Mobile Hub (OMH) software development kit (SDK) aim to address this vision. We hope it encourages more organizations within the space to become actively involved in the community.”

"This report is a call to action for the mobile industry," said Mike Dolan, SVP and GM of Projects, at the Linux Foundation. "It underscores the importance of open source principles in driving innovation, collaboration, and a brighter future for mobile technology."

Key findings from the report include:

Innovation Slowdown: Innovations in the smartphone space are decelerating, accompanied by a slump in sales. This stagnation adversely affects every participant in the mobile ecosystem, including carriers and content providers.

Duopoly Dominance: The mobile industry is controlled by two companies who account for a staggering 99% of all smartphone sales. Their app stores serve as the primary source for downloaded apps, underscoring their dominance and the need for more market competition.

Global Regulatory Response: Multiple countries, including Australia, India, Japan, Mexico, South Korea, the U.K., and the U.S., are actively developing new regulations to foster a more competitive mobile market.

Challenges Faced: Mobile decision-makers encounter numerous obstacles, including vendor lock-in, inflexible terms, and the high cost and risk associated with creating new apps or mobile devices. A more open mobile ecosystem will open new avenues for innovation while improving market accessibility.

Call for Openness: The mobile industry needs to forge a more open ecosystem that encourages innovation, welcomes new entrants, ensures security, and allows room for differentiation. Open source software is a proven avenue for creating thriving and open ecosystems, and for driving collaborative development of standards-based products across sectors and industries.

To access the full report, including a comprehensive overview of the opportunities for open source in the mobile industry, please visit our website.  

About The Linux Foundation

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