Mobile OS Mess

The last time I pondered on operating systems, it was all about how tablets and their touch interfaces are affecting the traditional desktop OS. Now, I’d like to consider the mobile scene specifically.

The current landscape is dominated by iOS and Android, which both work on smartphones and tablets.

Microsoft is trying to get Windows Phone 8 off the ground, with a half baked attempt to bring the same interface to other devices, in the form of Windows 8.

Canonical recently announced Ubuntu Phone OS, with support for both webapps and native apps. They actually have some credibility when they make the claim of shipping a unified interface across all devices.

Probabily the most interesting development is from Mozilla, which has a relatively new project called Firefox OS, where everything is a webapp.

So, we’ll soon have two competing open-source mobile operating systems from two reputable FOSS organizations. A lot of pundits are saying things like They don’t stand a chance against iOS and Android; they’re already entrenched.

I, for one, don’t really need a mobile OS that everybody uses. If they work well enough and a healthy ecosystem of hackers emerges around them, it’s a win.

In the mean time, the most pressing question is this: What should I replace my aging iPhone 3GS with?

Update: For a much more thorough overview of the situation, see Early Thoughts on New Operating Systems.

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