Updated 25 May, 2013, 6:56 pm IST
Which upcoming mobile OS has potential to dethrone iOS and Android?
| by Naina Khedekar
Putting an end to all speculations and rumours, Mark Zuckerberg unveiled the new Graph Search feature rather than a Facebook phone or its own mobile OS at the Facebook event yesterday. It isn’t clear whether the Facebook OS/phone is slated for a future event or won’t be coming at all. While it’s still doubtful whether Facebook’s OS will stand a chance in the market, there are several others who are prepping to jump on the bandwagon with all their openness and hoping for an Android-like future.
Canonical is trying to bring the Linux-based desktop OS onto mobile phones with minimum changes. Basically, it is trying to bring a seamless desktop-like experience to the mobile space. We got a glimpse of what the folks at Ubuntu are trying to build at the CES this year – a completely new mobile OS with button-less, gesture-based user interface. Swipe the screen from the edge and the UI effortlessly shows up app controls, notifications and lets users switch between apps. This is also known as Edge Magic. It will run native QT, OpenGL/GLES and HTML5 apps. And since it runs on the same codebase as the desktop version of Ubuntu, developers can easily create new and port existing apps to the phone's OS. At CES, we saw Ubuntu being run perfectly on Samsung Galaxy Nexus. Ubuntu’s ‘Unity’ interface offers a convenient, spacious layout and could be of great benefit for smartphone users if infused properly. Unlike Apple or Microsoft’s mobile OSes, the navigation across all platforms will be similar, using Unity – be it smartphones, tablets, TVs or laptops. But you won't be getting your hands on Ubuntu smartphones anytime soon. Reportedly, Ubuntu phones will be available in early 2014 through its OEM partners. However, Ubuntu will make available the code for developers some time in February – which will work on the Galaxy Nexus – for all tech freaks who want to get a taste of this new OS.
The complete new, button-less Ubuntu UI
In 2011, Mozilla Foundation kickstarted the ‘Boot to Gecko’ project, which aimed at “building a complete, standalone operating system for the open web". Now it’s been over one and a half years and Mozilla announced at CES 2013 that the Firefox OS will be ready in 2-3 weeks. Mozilla has created the OS for low-end, cheaper devices. It cannot be used for high-end smartphones as the OS is restricted to single-core 800MHz processor – at least for now, until it gets some significant updates. With an interface similar to Android, it shows a homescreen and an app drawer. However, the major factor that differentiates them from each other is the fact that Firefox OS runs on HTML5, which means most of its apps could simply be websites. There is an app store planned for the OS as well. As Mozilla claims that the OS is ready and will be out soon, phones running this OS will be seen later this year from its partners like ZTE.
Highly anticipated Firefox OS
Cover Image Credit: Harshad Gujare
These are four future contenders. Which one among these do you think has the potential to compete with the current leading OSes?
Tags: firefox os , tizen mobile os , jolla sailfish os , ubuntu os , mobile os , phone operating system , mobile os alternatives , alternatives to android , alternatives to ios , Apple iOS , Google Android , Android , Linux , Ubuntu for Android , Samsung Tizen , Browser OS
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