September 8, 2015

Top 5 Upcoming Linux-Based Smartphone Operating Systems

As today is the much anticipated day of the new iPhone 6S and 6S Plus unveiling I thought it would be interesting to take a look at the most anticipated smartphones based on the Linux operating system instead.

Ubuntu Phone

Of course when most people think of Linux-based phones the first thing that comes to their minds is Ubuntu. Ubuntu is in plans to create a touch-optimised interface which will work on not only smartphones and tablets but also TV’s. Not meant as a separate operating system, the intention here is to have one version of the Ubuntu Linux distribution. Ubuntu’s Unity is designed to automatically resize and adapt to the screen size of your device whether you’re using a PC, tablet, TV or phone. Essentially, Ubuntu’s vision is to create a full desktop operating system within a mobile operating system, meaning you could dock an Ubuntu phone and have access to a full Linux desktop running on that device.

Jolla Sailfish

A little history lesson for you: before joining the Windows movement, Nokia was in preparation of a Linux-based smartphone operating system called Maemo. Eventually merging with Intel’s Moblin project and renamed MeeGo, the Nokia N9 was the only MeeGo phone Nokia ever released. After ditching MeeGo and choosing instead to bet on Microsoft’s Windows Phone, many members of the MeeGo team left Nokia and formed a new company. Welcome Jolla. Linux fans rejoice as Sailfish, like MeeGo before it is essentially more of a standard Linux system with apps able to be created with Qt and you can even launch a terminal and install Linux package files. Better still, it even has some compatibility with Android apps.

Firefox OS

This is the new OS I am most excited about as I’ve been a big fan of Firefox for years. It’s almost as handy as Chrome but they seem to have a more ethical stance than Google on a lot of things in the Tech world. Based on the Firefox browser and Gecko rendering engine with every app using web technologies including HTML5 there’s a lot to be excited about. Mozilla is launching Firefox OS devices in developing markets first. I plan on cashing in my old phone as soon as one is available.

Samsung Tizen

Tizen I actually the umbrella of the Linux Foundation with both Samsung and Intel being on its Steering Committee. Basically a backup operating system for Samsung, Tizen looks almost identical to Galaxy phones. The problem with the Tizen OS is that it isn’t compatible with Android, meaning if or when Samsung chooses to run with its own operating system, they would need to convince Android app developers to create apps for Tizen.

Open webOS

Widely heralded as ahead of its time, Palm’s webOS, seen on the Palm Pre and Palm Pixi has a lot of history with HP acquiring the technology in 2010 only to change their minds about further developments and instead open-sourced much of its code as ‘WebOS Community Edition’, with the Open webOS project taking on the code and further developing it as a community project. Just 2 years ago LG licensed it to use on their smart TVs. While now solely on LG TV’s we’re hoping that this OS, originally intended for smartphones will soon see it’s time again

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