Thursday, March 14, 2013

The world does not need another mobile operating system

There's a lot of excitement around mobile these days. It seems like everyone from the 7 year old down the block to 90 year old grandmothers are getting on the app bandwagon and busying themselves coding up some new hotness that they think will be a hit. Personally, I think that's great. Putting the power of app development in the hands of everyone is a fantastic way to guarantee that you get some freaking awesome (and horrible, sometimes) apps. It's a win-win for everyone.

With all the excitement going on in app development, you might be forgiven if you completely missed the bloodbath going on in mobile operating systems. Mobile operating systems seem to have become the 'casual app' of large mobile centric organizations. Mozilla, Samsung, Microsoft, Blackberry, Google, Apple, and Canonical, all have bellied up to the bar to put their latest OS offerings on the table.

And I think it's completely silly and a waste of time and resources.

The world does not need yet another mobile operating system. We have enough and they work well. We even have an open source system that could easily be customized to any companies liking should they so desire: Android. To think that the market needs another system on which to run their mobile devices, on which to write apps, is lunacy.  We're focused on the wrong thing.

Overall, mobile os's are pretty good. They're reliable, easy to use, secure, and easy to develop for. The problem doesn't like with the operating systems these days, the problems lie with the carriers.

Mobile network providers are a greedy bunch. They do everything they can to squeeze every single drop of money out of their customers as they can. They pack new phone so full of garbage that a user often has trouble distinguishing what is and what isn't safe to remove from their device. This is especially true in the United States where customers are often tethered to long, hard to get out of, contracts, but it's true in other parts of the world as well.

The mobile experience isn't going to be made better by putting Ubuntu or Tizan, or Android, on a phone. Carriers will simply load their crapware on these new phones and carry on without even a pause. The mobile experience will only get better when consumers reject the garbage their carriers are forcing on them and demand both application and network freedom. This isn't something a shiny new operating system can solve. It's a business problem.

Don't get me wrong, I applaud both Canonical and Mozilla for trying to bring a little bit more freedom to the mobile industry. But a new operating system simply isn't the way to do it and is a colossal waste of time and energy.

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