Sorry, this not like the old days were words like “hot” and “sex” would get you to the top of search results. And yet we’re talking about stripping to the bare bones to get dressed up in what might be the Emperor’s new clothes.
In the beginning, a mobile (camera) platform was created by a group of people that were unbound, that had no ties to the established software giants and were looking for independence. So they created Android which became an alternative operating system for mobile telephones. There were some other (former) cowboys that wanted to also ride the freedom train and so Google became involved in what would become gPhone. In 2005 they took over and in 2007 it became part of the Open Handset Alliance.
That created a buzz, developers were challenged to create new apps and the rest is now history. If your on a mobile device, then there’s over a 50% chance that you will be using an Android operated device. A massive succes from a massive company as well. A company that initially allowed phone makers to use Android “freely” but in a further stage was using that free software on their own hardware. Which isn’t for free. Now the nice people at google have a earned a lot and they are using it with more and more success. To the point where Google probably knows more about you than either NSA or your partner.
Apple, and to a far lesser extent, Microsoft/Nokia are eating away marketshare which, in turn, leads to a less comprehensive G-database. But the horror doesn’t stop there. Two other groups are eating, or are threatening to start eating, market share. By means of Android (And to illustrate that eating concept: They use forks.)
The major threat is Samsung led. Their own fork of Android on their own devices. Self designed Intel built chips, innovative touch screens, you name it. And of course they are owning and claiming many patents. Looking around me, Samsung probably owns 20% of the market. Great stuff but all of them are more or less tied to Android and Google. Which poses a risk to Samsung as Google change the Android game with benefits to their own hardware. One of the easy ways is to move some pretty important APIs from the operating system to software that only Google can use or license to others. (Licensing and open source go a long way actually!)
And there is the second group: A mixed bag of developers, investors, mavericks and many smart people with a drive to be independent. If that sounds familiar: You are right. And some of the names that are involved or evolved are pretty well known too: Ubuntu, Firefox, Meego, Nokia Symbian, Bada and of course Tizen.
For something completely different: Finnish start up Jolla that will introduce their Sailfish operated Jolla phone today. Their own hardware, their own software. A very minor player but then: So was a cupertino based company in the early 1980’s!
That ragband might succeed as many people are getting more and more worried about privacy. About being owned like a mine. Not a gold mine but a mine.
Samsung of course has hardware that needs software. Tizen could be their golden horse as it can be used not only on smartphones but also on smart TV’s, camera’s that are web connected, fridges, ships, cars etc. The list of what Samsung produces is impressive and it all could be connected. There would be a serious problem though, a problem that hinders Microsoft while it became the highlight of Apple: A store filled with apps. Apps that people want, need or crave.
Tizen is built in a way that it is relatively easy to re-build an Android app. That’s called “to port” and that porting is helped immensely because of HTML5. Why? Because in HTML5 a lot of elements are defined in such a way that it can be used platform independent. That makes writing an app much easier to do. Drawback? Your browser needs to be much smarter than you and me! And they exist, for almost any platform, either mobile, on your tablet or on your PC or Mac. To paraphrase Oracle: “The browser is the computer”.
And so developers from all around the globe are sweating and creating apps for you and me. Either independent or as part of a team, be it small or huge like the developer teams at Samsung. They are working to become independent to an extent that we have real choices, not basically two or three. Forks, knifes, spoons cannot hide there’s iOS, Android and a lot of small fry competition.
Senior Analyst Stijn Schuermans explains how Google is making it tough for ambitious rascals to simply fork Android and dump Google. Some of the graphics he used are in this article as well because it’s a very clear way to make it visible.
API’s and the Android System:
How to make them proprietary and thus make new apps “Gandroid only”. They are doing this because a lot of updates in the playstore are being done to your Android phone without most of us realizing it. Over the air, like a thief in the night it updates your system. No problem I hear you say: Secure, latest version, what’s the problem? That will be when one of your favourite apps is going nuts. Or doesn’t work any more. Because api’s have moved and your developer didn’t know it happened or hasn’t come up with a solution. Somehow I feel the apps bought through the playstore will suffer less than ones bought elsewhere. Information overload…
Android versions and the Google Play Services
Yes, you can have to much “friends”. It looks like the classic dilemma of the Apple (OS 9 – OS 10.6.8 and OS 10.9 ) and Microsoft (MS DOS – Win95 – XP etc.) No more backward compatibility, hail to the hardware.
How to rule the world
The basics and what Google seems to be doing.
In a way this could mean that at any given moment Google can decide to re-develop Android for it’s own purposes. You can either like it or run! And that most likely is to run back because your hardware doesn’t like any other OS, any other fork. Big mining is owning you.
What is the Tizen community doing?
Working on apps that will work when the new Tizen smartphone is launched early 2014. Every pop’n mom store will tell you that empty shelves don’t sell. So there are challenges, appbackers, contests and hackathons around the world. To re-create existing apps and to create apps that will stun the world and make the punters drool. And pay!
It also means that major apps (for me that’s basically skype and whatsapp so don’t count me in) should be available in a store filled to the brim with good (reliable, working, useable) apps. But also payment system that functions globally, with or without credit cards and hardware that really makes you want Tizen.
And the urge, the dare to be different.
Thank you for reading!