Mobile landscape: Ubuntu, Firefox OS

LandscapedLong-term I’m bullish on Android. Its everywhere, its like the multiple Linux distributions. I have a preference to Google-sanctioned devices (i.e. the Nexus series), but each and every Android device manufacturer has their own bells & whistles.

The mobile landscape is actively changing. I was in Paris when I watched the announcement that there would be an Ubuntu for phones. I was a little disappointed that the announcement was for the possibility with no manufacturers or no actual device being announced. You’d presume that’s what you would get with the countdown on the website, and all the hype built up around it. To add to my confusion, there still exists Ubuntu for Android, which has been around for quite some time with no one biting. I heard its vaguely opensource so you could run it on a device, but I’ve not seen much.

The idea is amazing (carrying your phone, plugging it in to see a full-featured desktop) and I can’t wait to see what happens in 2014. It seems like the developer environment is Qt/QML for a native feel, but you’ve also got HTML5. They’re going to leverage on the Ubuntu community. I just think the hype around this is being built too early.

However, what’s more exciting is Mozilla’s recent announcements. They have a Firefox OS developer preview phone announced. They tell you how to use Firefox OS today. There are also AppDays happening worldwide. And they have a phone coming soon as a partnership with Geeksphone & Telefonica of Spain. Here it seems clear that your HTML5 apps are going to rock (see the Firefox Marketplace). When I say soon, I’m saying next month, i.e. February 2013. I’ve signed up to buy one.

The mobile landscape is changing. Nokia was the king of phones with Symbian, and today they’re backing Windows Mobile. Most of the top manufacturers are building Android devices (opensource). There are many companies signed up to make Tizen devices in 2013 and beyond (opensource). Now you have opensource Ubuntu & Firefox OS. Apple may have started this modern trend but iOS device sales aren’t stellar (witness Apple’s recent stock drop). iOS to be fair is also built on opensource (itself its closed).

Year of the Linux desktop? Who needs that. You’ve already arrived at the years of opensource computing.