Not just a four-horse race: three new mobile operating systems joining the fray

Some have declared the mobile OS battle over, won by Apple and Google Android between them. Microsoft and RIM Blackberry will fight it out for third and fourth place.

Maybe, but I doubt it will be so simple. There are not one, not two, but three further open source mobile operating systems which have significant backing.

Tizen is supported by companies including Intel, Samsung, Orange, Vodafone, Huawei, and NTT Docomo, and managed by the Linux Foundation.

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It is based on what used to be MeeGo (which itself came out of Intel Moblin, Nokia Maemo and so on). Tizen is intended to work on smartphones, tablets, and in embedded devices such as TVs and in-vehicle entertainment.

Firefox OS is a new project from Mozilla, whose Firefox browser is under threat from Webkit-based browsers such as Google Chrome.

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Mozilla promises that:

Using HTML5 and the new Mozilla-proposed standard APIs, developers everywhere will be able to create amazing experiences and apps. Developers will no longer need to learn and develop against platform-specific native APIs.

Ubuntu also offers a mobile OS, along with an interesting add-on that lets you run Ubuntu desktop from smartphone when docked (this can also be added to Android smartphones).

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All will be interesting to watch. Tizen is particularly interesting. Samsung is the largest Android vendor and the largest smartphone vendor. While this is currently a win for Android, it is possible that Samsung may want to steer its customers towards a non-Google operating system in future.

Equally, logic says that the open source world would be better getting behind a single Android alternative, rather than three.

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  4. Google fails to protect its mobile platform
  5. Appcelerator releases Titanium Mobile 1.6

3 comments to Not just a four-horse race: three new mobile operating systems joining the fray

  • Alex Atkin

    As someone who owns an N900 (although its not been used as my phone for several years now), I wish them good luck.

    I moved to Android because I was sick at the drought of software for Maemo. While there were some excellent open source ports, it just didn’t compare to Android. Bearing in mind back then Android was still getting minimal support compared to iOS.

    So I really can’t see any of these taking off, except Ubuntu on top of Android which I REALLY wish you could just slap on yourself rather than being a vendor option.

    At its core, Android is still Linux. Anyone who wants the flexibility can just root their device and do whatever they want. However its good that it has competition, it keeps Google on their toes.

  • gary

    “Using HTML5 and the new Mozilla-proposed standard APIs, developers everywhere will be able to create amazing experiences and apps. Developers will no longer need to learn and develop against platform-specific native APIs.”

    But what devs are going to build for an OS that is on few/no devices?

    Who is going to ship devices with these OSes on? Apple? no, Microsoft? no, Google? no, Samsung *maybe*, HTC *maybe*

    its much the same criticism that is being levied against BB10;

    Is it a great step forward for RIM? Yes
    Is it a good OS? Yes
    Is it good enough to tempt users from iOS/Android? ***No***

    Theres nothing compelling for anyone to move to it or handset makers to ship it.

    Gary