Microsoft will tell you how difficult it is to compete with Android and Apple for a market share in the Smartphone OS industry even when you have the necessary resources. These two giants make up a mammoth 95% of the total market. There are however a few operating systems that show a lot of good promise. Whether they deliver on the same is a question for later. Below are the 5 alternative operating systems that get a thumbs-up from our end.
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The UK based software company Canonical has finally ventured into mobile OS. Not to be mistaken for “Ubuntu for Android” (which can be installed on an android device), Ubuntu touch is the mobile version of the Linux distribution.
The Ubuntu touch is impressive and lives up to its promise of being unique. It is dependent on touch gestures. Swiping from right to left shows you a list of apps, swiping from left to right opens up the app you were using previously, swiping down opens up navigation controls pertaining to the app and swiping upwards opens up the phone’s status controls. This is made so that you don’t have to return to the home screen for any function you want to use while using an app. Well this doesn’t mean it doesn’t have a home screen. It has a highly customizable home screen that you can keep in sync with information from the Internet.
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It essentially uses web links for apps and with this Mozilla has thinned the difference between internet and locally installed apps. One positive to come out of this is that people who use Firefox OS will not need a lot of storage as there are ultimately no apps installed. User experience is very similar to Android which should make the transition for current Android users quite easy.
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An endeavour undertaken by giants like Samsung and Intel has to be by all means taken seriously. Tizen is a Linux based mobile OS. Samsung’s investment in Tizen is widely seen as a bid by it to reduce its humungous dependency on Android in the long term or is perhaps a bargaining chip in its negotiation with Google.
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Another reason for this new venture may be penetration into Chinese markets where Google remains banned. The problem with Tizen is that it does not have many apps and convincing developers to develop apps for Tizen is going to be an uphill task. We already have quite a few gadgets in the market running Tizen and we can expect a lot more.
Another Linux based OS, Sailfish is as different as an OS can get from the typical iOS and Android phones. This should not be confused as being a successor to the MeeGO operating system (which ran on Nokia N9) even though its roots can be traced to the same.
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This one is way different. When you boot up the phone for the first time, it will ask you to choose a color which will eventually play a major role in determining how good your systems looks. This OS is gesture based wherein the entire screen can be used to communicate with the software rather than icons or shortcuts.
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Amazon’s fire OS, which was earlier available for Kindle fire tablets and now for Fire phone smartphone is actually based on Android. Its Android roots ensure that there is a seamless transfer of apps from Android to Fire. Fire is best used for content consumption with a nicely customized user interface and has link ups with Amazon’s own services. It does not seem like a long term replacement for Android unlike the other up and coming mobile operating systems but definitely a forked version of android for good user experience when viewing content.