The beginning of 2013 is seeing this sudden arrival of a host of new operating systems. Canonical Ltd., the UK-based Linux giant has just announced that it would soon unveil its exclusive mobile OS, Ubuntu. This is targeting its main rivals, the iOS and the Android OS, which are currently running neck-and-neck for the top spot among mobile developers and users alike. Then there are the Tizen and the most recently announced Mozilla Firefox OS. In addition to all these, RIM is all set to take center stage with its BlackBerry 10 OS.
Can these new mobile OS’ ever hope to issue a serious enough threat to current giants -- Android and Apple? Can they make their mark on the mobile market? Read on for more….
The Mobile OS Wars
The Android OS and the iOS have been vying for global domination for the entire 2012. This war seems to be endless, with no immediate letup in immediate sight. Both these OS’ are well-established in the market and have efficient ecosystems supporting their every feature and function. While both these OS’ have their own strengths and weaknesses, they have nevertheless emerged as the strongest contenders and have managed to hold on to their firm grip of the market share.
Microsoft has now emerged from its hiatus and is slowly regaining popularity with its Windows Phone OS. While WP 7.5, aka, Microsoft Mango, managed to grab quite a bit of user attention, its newer version 7.8, is set to arrive very soon, as early as the end of this month. The much-looked-forward-to Windows Phone 8 is also expected to arrive shortly. All these updates will most probably give the company the required momentum to emerge as a force to reckon with, in 2013.
With so many trusted names featuring right on the top of the roster, it is quite unlikely that the latest mobile OS’ would ever be able to gain enough visibility in the market, as concerns both app developers and users.
Can Ubuntu Ever Compete against Android?
The Ubuntu OS mainly aims to attack Android using the latter’s biggest weakness – its extreme fragmentation. Canonical has clearly stated that it would maintain a uniform code base over a range of multiple mobile platforms, thereby altogether avoiding the fragmentation issue. This being an open source platform, it would enable handset manufacturers to insert their own apps and other content, also modifying the OS as per their preferences. This trend could also encourage more third-party app developers to create apps for the platform.
Its main intent to rival Android notwithstanding, Canonical is trying to develop its OS in such a way that it is not way too different from the giant OS. Mark Shuttlewoth, the founder of Ubuntu, stated that the company mainly aims to strike a balance between a highly proprietary approach and a more freehand, though highly fragmented approach. Their endeavor here is to enable Android-powered devices to run Ubuntu, so as to encourage manufacturers to try and experiment with the platform.
Will the Firefox OS be Taken Seriously?
The Firefox OS, which has recently been released on two Geeksphone devices and which at the moment, is open only for developers, is a completely Web-based OS, with all its functionality running on the Web browser. This implies that the user would have to rely on the browser environment even to make calls, click photographs or even access the most basic of apps.
Firefox, though widely used on desktops since the past several years, has never really emerged as a leading operating system. Would users then opt for this mobile OS when it arrives in the market?
Evolution is a natural process which necessarily occurs over a period of time. Probably, evolution is what the mobile industry is also undergoing at present. Time alone can tell us which way the field is headed and who will lead the course this year.
In any case, 2013 promises to be a year of hectic activity in the mobile sphere. While this would creation market saturation, the bright side is that it would hopefully encourage further innovation in the field, leading to more growth and enhanced technology.