Mobile OS's Gone Mad

The desktop Ubuntu OS regularly becomes my saviour when Windows decides to die on me, and Firefox is an amazing browser, and I knew essentially nothing about Tizen, but now they’re all producing mobile OS’s! Open Source Mobile OS’s for that matter, which puts them right in the firing line of Android. Why not iOS? Well if you enjoy your phone being open and fully customisable, then you would have moved away from iOS a long time ago!

I’m genuinely excited about the Ubuntu Mobile OS – I have a Nexus 4 – you know, that 1.5GHz quad-core google phone that’s miles cheaper than any other quad-core phone? yeah, that one – and quite frankly, the CPU is more powerful than the one in my old laptop. I always wanted to make better use of it, and Ubuntu seems to be trying to do exactly that by allowing you to plug your phone into a monitor and keyboard and have the OS work in the same way as the Desktop Ubuntu OS. So it’s one Operating System for all devices.

Ubuntu seem to be trying to go a step further as well (at least that’s the impression I’m getting – correct me if I’m wrong) and attempting to integrate the Ubuntu desktop OS onto your phone, and allow you to use your regular android experience as well. So, you have your typical day-to-day android phone, plug it into a computer, and then you can run the desktop Ubuntu OS off of it. Kind of like a liveCD or liveUSB, but on your phone (that’s the impression I’m getting from the Ubuntu for Android page on their site in any case).

I’m certainly biased here, but the problem I’m finding is that the positives of Tizen and the Firefox OS are positives that the Ubuntu mobile OS also has… the only way a new mobile OS stands any chance at the moment is by relying on HTML5 based applications – so web apps. Android and iOS have such a large amount of dedicated applications particular to their own operating systems, that if a new OS tried to jump in on the same basis, it would be at an immediate disadvantage because it has fewer apps (i.e. exactly what seems to have happened to Windows Phone). Relying on web apps keeps everything very open and accessible, and it means that as long as you have a standards compliant browser (i.e., any updated version of Chrome, Firefox, Safari etc.), which almost all phones do, then you can use those apps to their full advantage – provided you always have a data connection active.

But is it just me, or does that mean that the HTML5 apps that will ideally work in favour of these new OS’s can also be used on Android and iOS? Maybe I’m misunderstanding the basis of all these new OS’s, but I’m afraid they’re going to have a hell of an uphill struggle! And I really want the Ubuntu OS to do well.

Posted: May 3rd, 2013
Categories: web, mobile