New smartphone platforms coming

2013-03-24 22:09
Android vs Apple IOS

Android vs Apple IOS

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Washington - A handful of new smartphone platforms are expected to become available this year, challenging the stranglehold of the two market leaders, Google's Android and Apple's iOS.

Android and Apple account for more than 90% of the surging smartphone market, and third place is being contested by BlackBerry and Microsoft's Windows Phone.

But phones using operating systems based on the open-source platforms Linux and Mozilla's Firefox will be hitting the market this year, probably in emerging markets.

Among smartphone makers, "there is a consensus that there is room for a couple more operating systems," said Ramon Llamas, analyst with the research firm IDC.

"Maybe not globally, but in some markets which could be used as proving grounds."

An IDC survey showed Apple and Android accounted for 91.1% of all smartphones sold in 2012, but that new platforms are worth watching in a market with 46% growth last year.

The Mozilla Foundation, developer of the Firefox browser and a new mobile operating system, claims to have 17 operators on board and plans Firefox OS phones in Brazil, Colombia, Hungary, Mexico, Montenegro, Poland, Serbia, Spain and Venezuela.

The key player being watched, however, is Samsung, which is the biggest smartphone maker with some 40% of all Android phones but is planning new devices using Tizen, an operating system based on Linux.

The Tizen Association, which also includes France's Orange, Japan's NTT DoCoMo, China's Huawei and US-based Intel, say the firms "view openness as a key to raising the bar for user experience".

Relationship fruitful

Some analysts were surprised by Samsung's move, saying it's not clear if the South Korean giant is trying to distance itself from Google and Android, which is a free operating system but offers advertising possibilities to the Silicon Valley firm.

"I wonder about Samsung's motivation," said Roger Kay of Endpoint Technologies.

"To get out from Google's control might be part of it, but I'm not sure how rational that is. The partnership has been very fruitful for both companies, and it's hard to see where the negatives are."

But Aapo Markkanen, an analyst with ABI Research, said Samsung is trying to break free from Google and that Tizen could be the key for that.

"All signs are pointing to Samsung trying to pull off a Great OS Escape within the next year or two," Markkanen said in a blog post, adding that the platform "will be given a kick start with the software and service portfolio that Samsung has accumulated" along with "Samsung's gargantuan marketing budget".

Other Linux phone systems are also readying their entry.

Ubuntu, a Linux-based operating system promoted by British software firm Canonical, expects to have phones ready later this year. And Sailfish, another Linux variant from Finnish-based Jolla Mobile, has released its program for developers.

Analysts say smartphone makers are seeking to mimic the success of Apple by controlling both the hardware and software "ecosystem".

"We are seeing more desire to control the whole user experience," said Gerry Purdy, analyst and consultant with the firm Mobile Trax.

Applications

A major challenge for any new platform, however, will be developing the applications that make up the ecosystem. These are key attractions for users of the iPhone and Android devices.

Although some apps can be developed across platforms using HTML5, a programming language that can be adapted for different devices, analysts say these are inferior to "native" apps developed for a specific platform.

"You can provide a reasonable experience with HTML5 and the browser, but the native app is smoother, cleaner and more natural," Purdy said. "It's pretty obvious when you watch them side by side."

Even a powerful firm like Samsung will have a hard time putting together an app ecosystem that can compete with Apple's App Store and Google Play.

"There is some open space, but putting together an entire ecosystem and doing that where there are established incumbents is a pretty iffy proposition," Kay said.

Because of these obstacles, Llamas said progress for any new system will be "long and slow".

"None of these things will happen overnight. There has to be time for gestation, reception and evangelisation. And picking the markets will be important," he added.

Read more on:    samsung  |  us  |  technology  |  mobile

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
5 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

 
/News

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
Traffic
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.