Smartphone operating system is an interesting domain. Currently, Google’s open source Android operating system and Apple’s iOS are dominating the smartphone industry, but more and more companies are coming up with their own smartphone operating system in order to compete with Google’s Android. Alibaba is one company which recently announced its own smartphone operating system, Aliyun, which is targeted at small to mid-sized Chinese phone manufacturers.
It’s a good thing that many companies are looking forward to take a share of that pie, and the most notable and anticipated mobile operating system that is under development right now is the Firefox OS by Mozilla. Mozilla Firefox is a free and open source web browser by Mozilla Foundation, and the group is looking forward to launch Firefox OS, a platform focusing around HTML5. With Firefox OS, Mozilla promises a new phone architecture which relies on the Web to enable HTML5 applications with complete access to core device APIs.
With Android already leading the market, the big question is will Firefox OS stand a chance? Well, according to the latest research report from Strategy Analytics, the answer is no. According to the report, Mozilla’s mobile operating system will have a hard time to gain momentum initially and they expect it to grab only 1% of the market in 2013, whereas Android is expected to grow even further and is expected to capture 67% of the market.
Now that’s a pretty disappointing figure. It should be noted that Mozilla has already joined hands with big shot companies like ZTE, Telefónica, Sprint Nextel, Deutsche Telekom, Etisalat, Smart, Telecom Italia and Telenor.
“We are trying to increase our efforts in coming up with our own operating system, while introducing products based on Android,” said ZTE Director of Corporate Branding & Communications David Dai Shu. “It’s all part of our wider plans to create a better balance of products using various operating systems. We won’t just rely on Android or Windows.”
Firefox OS is without doubt a great option for device manufacturers who are looking forward to diversity their device portfolio. It’s not that Firefox OS is going to fail miserably, but it’s very tough to establish a platform, whereas it is very easy to lose relevance as well. Just take a look at the state of Symbian.
“Overcoming Android will not be an easy task,” Strategy Analytics researcher Neil Mawston said.
Once upon a time, Symbian used to be market leader, but it took just two years for Android to dethrone Symbian and establish itself as a market leader. It is worth noting that with Firefox OS, Mozilla is targeting the low cost smartphone segment. This particular segment is evergreen and growing rapidly. Above 300 million sub $100 smartphone units are expected to be sold this year alone.
Firefox OS has an interface which is distinct enough to stand on its own, though it’s pretty evident that it has taken some amount of inspiration from Android and iOS. The platform uses HTML5 which is a markup language for the web, and it may not match the experience delivered by Android and iOS, though Mozilla states that it will be lighter and faster than Android nevertheless.