Though Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android rule the smartphone operating system roost, there are alternatives that continue to grow in popularity.
Samsung’s range of smartphones is perhaps the most exhaustive of any manufacturer, causing many of us to greet the launch of the likes of the Galaxy Young and Galaxy Fame with little more than a shrug. The recent announcement of its Samsung Z phone has changed that though, with the news making headlines around the world.
That’s because the Z is the first Samsung phone to ditch Google’s Android OS in favour of Tizen. Read on for more about Tizen, as well as some other relatively unknown smartphone operating systems that could be coming to a handset near you in the very near future.
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Already used to power Samsung’s latest generation of Gear smartwatches, Tizen has now made the leap to smartphones. The Samsung Z might be confirmed solely for Russia right now, but expect it (or a variation of it) to make its way to these shores by the year’s end. Tizen is Linux-based, with Samsung looking to use the OS as a means to break its dependence on Google’s Android. Tizen also benefits from being compatible with HTML5 apps, while even Android apps should work on Tizen with a few small tweaks.
Perhaps the most widely distributed of our chosen alternative operating systems, Firefox OS has already seen release on smartphones by the likes of LG, Huawei, ZTE and Alcatel. It too ia Linux-based, but has been built to make the best use of Mozilla’s Firefox web browser. It also has an adaptive app search feature that pulls in all apps relative to a keyword. Typing ‘Party’, for example, might bring up apps to make cards, find presents and also compile music playlists.
Ubuntu is yet another Linux-based operating system for mobiles. It already has a wide number of apps available for it and has features you’d expect of any good operating system, such as context sensitive settings and intelligent web searching (that combines results from Google, its own app store and even online retailers). Chinese company Meizu and Spanish company BQ are making the first Ubuntu phones, though there’s no UK launch date for either as yet.
Sailfish, like Tizen, is a dim and distant relation of the old MeeGo OS that first saw light of day on the Nokia N9. When Nokia abandoned the OS for Windows Phone, some of its developers formed a splinter firm, with Sailfish the result. Jolla has actually built a phone (appropriately named the ‘Jolla’) specifically designed for Sailfish and it’s available to order now for €349. It’s compatible with a range of bespoke apps and Android apps, with Jolla continuing work on the OS itself to expand its features.
Have you used a phone with any of the above operating systems? If so, let us know what you thought of the experience in the comments section below.