In Their Own Words: The Four Dark Horses for the Third Major Mobile OS Speak

Carl Weinschenk

IT Business Edge: What differentiates it from the other platforms vying to be the third after Android and iOS?

Firefox: While we are happy that other platforms are using open standards and HTML5, we do not feel that any other goes as far as Firefox does in applying the full power and capabilities of the Web to mobile. HTML5 support on many of these other platforms is usually through an indirect hybrid tool, such as PhoneGap, unlike the much simpler Web Runtime offered by Firefox OS.

The most important thing to realize from the outset is that we’re not introducing a new platform. We believe that the Web is the platform and with the Firefox OS, we've built the technologies and APIs to make the Web a rich and viable option for application developers. To date, these applications on mobile have been held back because they can’t access the device’s underlying capabilities as native apps can. Mozilla’s Firefox OS project overcomes these limitations and provides the necessary APIs to show how it is possible to run an entire device using open standards: Linux Kernel, device drivers and then the Web on top of it. This simplifies the technology and makes the integration point between the Web, the phone and apps much easier.

With HTML5 we’re flipping the apps store model on its head, giving developers the freedom to innovate without having to ask permission. We're providing developers with a distribution opportunity while addressing their concerns around fragmentation and resourcing.

For consumers it’s about enabling them to buy an app once and use it everywhere they can access the Web, while providing access to local content and apps, which are highly relevant to their needs. This is not possible with vertically integrated approaches in which the hardware, software and apps come from a single vendor.

Collins: Ubuntu is different from other operating systems on the market in a number of ways. Firstly, we have developed a single shared codebase as the primary operating system for PCs, TVs, tablets and smartphones. This means that Ubuntu is scalable from entry to very high-level phones. It also paves the way for true convergence between devices.

Ubuntu runs well even on entry-level smartphones. It brings a stunning new interface, optimized for the Web, email, phone, messaging and media consumption. For basic smartphone users, Ubuntu is a cleaner and more beautiful phone that encourages data consumption – Web and email, together with media. At the very high end of the range Ubuntu is unique in offering a complete PC built in: Connect the phone to a screen and provide a Bluetooth keyboard, and the phone becomes a full PC with local Ubuntu and remote Windows apps. It is a perfect enterprise thin client and phone in one.

Another key difference is the user experience and interface. Ubuntu feels cleaner and more immersive than existing smartphones. It doesn’t need a home button, and the interface for most apps is cleaner and more open, with more room for content. That’s because Ubuntu introduces several ideas to handheld interfaces. It uses every edge of the phone, giving you fast access to favorite apps, fast switching between apps, immediate access to system settings at any time, and a way to show or hide the buttons that make up an app interface or structure. Keeping those items “off the edge” leaves more room for content and makes the phone feel bigger and more spacious.

Mosconi: The guys that have founded and are working for Jolla have a background in product creation. That means putting an OS on a real hardware and making it work. This is a tremendous advantage when designing the OS because it is the most difficult part of the story. The software architecture is designed from the ground up for mobile devices and to work on the extremely scarce resources of embedded devices. It is based on Linux Kernel, which is the most used and known microkernel in the world. And it has been built for mobile devices right from the start.

In Sailfish, there is beautiful user interaction based on gestures that we built with Sailfish.

Sailfish is using Qt framework that is a user interface framework optimized for mobile devices. Qt allows people to quickly write applications in QML language that also are extremely fast and performing on the device.

Shortly put: Sailfish is built and designed from the ground up for mobile devices / embedded environments; its UI is extremely fast, beautiful and effortless to use and the UI framework is easy to use and learn and at the same time very well performing.

Warner: The biggest difference is that two of the world's largest smartphone manufacturers have said they'll ship Tizen devices this year. This gives Tizen an immense amount of early momentum in the mobile phone space. In parallel, Intel is working to leverage Tizen for in-vehicle infotainment. The project also has broad industry support from operators and manufacturers through the Tizen Association.

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