5 Mobile Linux OSes that Dare to Compete with Android
Yesterday, I surveyed the latest mobile open source Linux projects and examined the challenges they face against Google, Apple, Microsoft and RIM. I also explored their potential advantages, including an alignment with HTML5 and a focus on emerging markets.
Today I take a closer look at Firefox OS, Open WebOS, Jolla’s Sailfish, Tizen and Ubuntu. Most of these projects are expected to ship in new devices in 2013. Smartphones are the initial focus for most, although tablets and other devices are also on tap for some.
Mozilla announced Boot to Gecko in July 2011, and in June 2012 re-launched it as Firefox OS. The operating system will run on firmware from Chinese manufacturing giants ZTE and TCL (Alcatel One Touch), and will be offered by as many as seven mobile carriers. So far, only Spain’s Telefonica has actually promised a phone — an entry-level model due in Brazil in early 2013 under its Vivo brand. Firefox OS will then spread to similarly low-cost phones from carriers including Deutsche Telekom, Telecom Italia and Sprint, says Mozilla.
On Sept. 27 in China, specs were leaked of ZTE’s first Firefox OS phone, said to be due in early 2013. The phone appears to be similar to its V788D, a modest ZTE Android phone with a 3.5-inch screen and a 1.5GHz CPU.
Like Tizen, Firefox OS includes APIs that support web-based applications using HTML5, giving it a potential leg up on app development. Yet, as revealed last month when Mozilla showed off a beta version, its browser-based design goes even further, building every function with HTML5. This should make it faster and easier to develop apps than native-app platforms such as Android, claims Mozilla.
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