Smartphones have become ubiquitous in only a few years, but with everyone now carrying around a mini-computer in their pocket – and the vast majority of them run either Android or iOS. Is there space for a different OS in mobiles for sale in 2014?
Windows Phone 8
It may look like Google’s Android and Apple’s iOS has it all sewn up, but Microsoft’s Windows platform continues to makes strides and with the acquisition of Nokia they will finally be able to take on the two market leaders with a product that they control everything from the hardware to the software.
Windows Phone 8 is a great OS, that often finds compliments from users, but the main battle for Microsoft is converting customers that already have their favourite apps on their Android/iOS devices. There was a plan for Microsoft to pay app developers upfront to get their app released on Windows if they were already successful on other platforms, but the Windows Phone Marketplace remains a distant third in the number of apps available.
It is an uphill battle to challenge the status quo, but if Microsoft can improve the apps on offer and find some synergy between Windows devices and the XBox One it has recently released to great fanfare, then we may start to see Microsoft challenge Apple for the number two spot quite soon.
Sailfish is built from the foundations of the Linux-based MeeGo operating system that Nokia was going to use for its smartphones before Stephen Elop got involved. Jolla is the first company to use the Sailfish OS, and is actively involved in its development with a number of employees ex-Nokia, and they have just released their first phone, the “Jolla”.
Cleverly, Sailfish OS is compatible with Android apps, so people can switch to the OS and not be concerned with an app store wasteland. Even more cleverly, Sailfish is compatible with hardware designed for Android, so it is very easy for manufacturers to offer Sailfish devices if they already make them for Android. For people looking to reduce their reliance on Google, Sailfish could be a real contender.
Like Sailfish, Firefox OS is designed to run on Android-compatible hardware, and there are already a couple of Firefox OS devices on the market in the shape of the ZTE Open and the Geeksphone Peak+.
Will you make the jump to a new mobile OS in 2014?