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Linux-based handheld devices

Will Linux-based handheld devices ever gain momentum within enterprise or consumer markets?

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Linux delivers a number of attractive elements to developers and devices vendors. Because of its open-source nature, it offers flexibility in terms of licensing fees and overall customizability, as well as independence from the constraints of major platform vendors. Within the desktop and portable computing spaces, however, Linux remains a fringe player because enterprises are unwilling to broadly adopt a platform without a central vendor behind it, and most consumers refuse to look beyond the mainstream strategies of Microsoft and Apple. A similar paradigm exists in the world of mobile devices. Both enterprises and consumers rarely look beyond mainstream Palm OS, Pocket PC, or BlackBerry-based offerings. Beyond Sharp's Zaurus strategy, Linux-based device options are relatively limited and as they remain similarly priced to devices based on mainstream platforms, they are not expected to break beyond their niche status in any market.

This was first published in April 2003

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