Did you know that the OS of 85% of smartphones is based on Linux?
In fact, it is Linux-based devices that dominate the smartphone market. Some of this statement will reflect, while others will be filled with pride for Linux in the style of The Sound of Music – The Hills are Alive. Next, I will give interesting facts confirming that 85% of smartphones are really based on the Linux kernel, and also present a number of promising new products in this market. Often in the course of communicating with professionals outside the workplace, I am asked: "What do you do?". When I answer that I work as a Linux system analyst, many people react like this: "And I don't really like Linux, because it can't open or edit Word documents"* or "Do you mean a desktop OS, in which everything is in the form of text, and there is no graphical interface?»** and even so " Linux? What is this?" In response, I usually make a snide grimace with the question..."Do you know that you yourself are using a smartphone running on Linux right now?". Yes, in fact, as many of you know, the Android and Chrome OS distributions are initially based on the Linux kernel.
Android smartphones running on Linux
As the Google developers themselves say: "Android is built on an open Linux Kernel" (the link contains a video). Starting with Android 11, this OS is based on the LTS-core (kernel with long-term support) of Linux, namely its versions 4.19 and 5.4. To be more specific: "Since 2019, every time Linus Torvalds places a new release or pre-release, the Linux main branch merges with the Android main branch. Until 2019, Android kernels were built by cloning a fresh LTS kernel and adding Android patches to it. The new interaction model avoids the significant effort of port forwarding and testing Android patches by implementing it all step-by-step." — source.android.com There is a very informative video (true in 240p) that reveals the structure of the Android architecture, in which a Google engineer explains that when using Android as the basis, the Linux kernel architecture is being refined. There is also a more recent video in better quality that answers the question: "Is Android really, in fact, Linux?". The head of Google's open projects division, Chris DiBona, describes Android as " A Linux desktop dream come true." After making sure that Android smartphones really work on the basis of Linux, you can briefly review the data of some studies, as well as learn about new promising models of devices and some related software.
In November 2020, IDC published a study that showed that Android systems occupy a leading position in the smartphone market. According to the collected data, during the last quarter, about 261.1 million devices were sold, 85% of which are based on Android. According to Gartner and Statista, this platform currently occupies 86% of the global market. Take a look at the chart below showing the two major players in the industry – Android and Apple iOS.
Promising Linux-based smartphones
If you are interested in smartphones running on the Linux kernel, then I advise you to take a closer look at the models described below, as well as the accompanying software.
Purism, known for developing Linux laptops that focus on privacy and free software, has successfully launched a crowdfunding campaign to create a new Librem 5 smartphone. At the same time, the developers managed to raise $ 1 million more than planned. The Libre 5 smartphone is based on Debian Linux and is equipped by default with mechanical hardware switches that guarantee security and privacy of use. The operating system is GNU / Linux with free software support. - puri.sm
The Pine Phone is a smartphone from the company Pine 64, which developed the Pinebrook Pro. The basic idea is to give the user full control over the device. This is achieved by using a mobile OS based on standard Linux and equipping the case with 6 hardware switches available under the back cover. In addition, the structure is assembled on screws, which simplifies subsequent repairs and upgrades. — pine64.org
The Pro 1 is a smartphone with a touch screen and a pull-out horizontal keyboard. It is designed and manufactured by F (x) tec, a company based in London. This device is a more advanced alternative to the Moto Mod Livermorium keyboard. At the moment, the Pro1 community has already helped in the development of a Linux-based OS, and support for Sailfish is also planned in the near future. – fxtec.com
The android army continues to take over the smartphone market. The main reason is that they are based on an open approach that gives experienced users and engineers the freedom to research, develop and make new technical breakthroughs. I hope that the smartphones listed in the article will be able to take a significant share in the market. Other notable handheld devices on Linux include Necros NE_1, Nania, Cosmo Communicator, and Mozilla Phone. Finally, I will add that I will be happy if as many users as possible get acquainted with Linux, who will appreciate its advantages and add to the unique community. You give freedom and power to users!