Open Source

Gallery: 10 best open source mobiles

Smartphones have come a long way in the last few years. Not so long ago, a smartphone all too often meant a cumbersome PDA-style brick running an equally cumbersome operating system, or else a Qwerty-sporting BlackBerry tucked discretely inside a businessperson's briefcase.

How times have changed.

?Nowadays smartphones are more likely to resemble shiny touchscreen toys and their OS has never been so important.

To serve a very demanding consumer audience and to attract all-important developers, smartphone makers are increasingly opting for an open source operating system. More than 60 per cent of the smartphone market now uses an open source OS, according to analyst house Juniper Research, which has noted a significant shift from proprietary to open source.

Google, for example, cooked up its Android mobile OS platform to be open from the start.?

However, Android wasn't the first mobile Linux effort by any means: work on open source mobiles by the LiMo Foundation, as well as the Openmoko project was already underway by the time the Google OS was announced.

Symbian is also in on the open source act, after its Symbian Ltd incarnation evolved into the open source Symbian Foundation and started the process of setting the Symbian OS free.

With Juniper Research predicting smartphones shipped with an open source OS will increase from 106 million this year to 223 million by 2014, the wind is well and truly in open source's sails.

In the meantime, you might be wondering what handsets are out there already - and to give you a flavor of open source mobiles Natasha Lomas of has rounded up some of the best devices to date over the next 10 pages...

Credit: HTC