The mobile web is where the world is headed, from big brands to small players, from manufacturers to indie developers everyone’s excited, and why not, the future is upon us. We already use our smartphones, tablet and phablets as computers. Everything that you could do on a desktop is fast becoming possible for the mobile. And the biggest reason for this seismic shift in how we perceive and use our computers is that one software that powers all our handheld devices – the Operating System.
While Android continues to dominate and iOS continues to hold a strong market share, the OS market for the mobile devices has witnessed a duopoly. Most cynics believe the world doesn’t even need another mobile OS – we disagree and so does the FOSS (Free and Open Source Software) community. If anyone can take a bite out of the duopoly’s market share it has to be an OS that’s backed by the FOSS brotherhood.
Earlier this year we saw open source pioneers Mozilla officially announce that they are working on a Firefox OS for the mobile web. And now the people who gave the world the much loved Ubuntu Linux OS for the desktop are bringing their own mobile OS for the market, they call it – Ubuntu for phones.
Canonical’s Ubuntu holds a strong position in the Linux OS market for the desktop because of its great security features and brilliant support for enterprise applications. Another factor that makes Ubuntu a crowd puller is its sleek and fast UI. Unlike most other Linux based OSes Ubuntu offers a lot more to its end users than the mundane work based environment, it is in fact a favorite with the gamers. And now that they are promising to bring all those features to the mobile devices, the world is bound to react.
CNET’s Jessica Dolcourt has given her verdict and believes the world doesn’t need another mobile OS, she has found ample support from Wired’s Mike Barton, but we disagree – totally. For once developers have the opportunity to work on something other than Android and iOS, for once there is a chance of not having to worry about fragmentation issues and for once the world has the possibility to hope for a really secure mobile OS, for Android despite its commendable efforts off late is still miles away from offering complete security. And we believe that the mobile space will be richer with the proliferation of Linux based mobile OSes.
Whether Canonical’s venture into the mobile OS space succeeds or not only time will tell, but what it will do is encourage other FOSS supporters to come up with their own solutions, and that can only be good. More choice to the end users, more power to the developers.
Here’s Mark Shuttleworth the founder of Canonical shedding some light on the features, user interface and usability quotients on their new OS which will be showcased next week at the CES 2013, but it will still take about a year’s time before you can get your hands on a brand new Ubuntu powered phone. When asked about whether Ubuntu for phones could compete with Android he gives what we believe is a very valid reason – a clean UI that offers fast access to applications and which has been the benchmark of Ubuntu on desktops.
End User Tip : Wait for it.