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Monday, 2 May 2016

Firefox OS, Ubuntu Touch and Windows 10 Mobile in 2016

On the Mobile World Congress 2013, a few OS was shown to the public to be the alternative to the dual giants at that time in Android and iOS. it was one of the highlight of that year MWC and after three years we will revisited these OS to see what have changed since.

It not a secret that Mobile segment was and still a two way fight between Apple and Google while others pick the crumbs. There were significant announcement on that year regarding mobile OS with few parties are joining the fray to be the alternative for the masses. We will look at 3 of the alternative and what happened to them now

Firefox OS

On MWC 2013, Mozilla has given a preview of the first ever devices that were powered by Firefox OS  in ZTE open and Alcatel One Touch Fire. Designed for developing markets, these devices will be available to consumer in Brazil, Columbia, Hungary, Mexico, Poland, Serbia and Venezuela but we could not tell how accurate it was or the device ever were available in those market.

Now it is a different story, Firefox OS for mobile is officially dead and support for devices sold would be available only until May this year. Mozilla officially announce it on their Developer Conference this week that did not send shock wave in the industry as the current development are still lagging with huge drawbacks.

In our short time using it, what we could say that it is still a very incomplete system and one would not be having an easy time jumping in to the Firefox OS bandwagon. HTML5 might be great in theory but having web version of normally used app isn't friendly enough for us. If Mozilla really want to move this forward to the future, a total revamp of the system is required that made Mozilla decision to scrap this project a correct one.

Our verdict : D-

Ubuntu Touch / Phone

Ubuntu Touch was the winner for "Best of MWC 2013 from CNET" by beating Firefox OS with a huge margin. The Linux distro mobile offering was seen as a complete system with a full working tablet on show during the event.

The biggest issue with Ubuntu touch is the limited manufacturer support with only a handful of device launch since then. Ubuntu Touch is still alive barely with most of the issue regarding apps are still lingering even if Ubuntu recently launch their most powerful device in the Meizu Pro 5 Ubuntu Phone.

Ubuntu Touch is sluggish to say the least and it need high spec device just to get by hence the recent release of the Meizu Pro 5 flagship device. It is unique in it own special way and the ability to use as desktop is a plus to anyone on the move.

Our verdict : C

Windows Phone / Mobile

On 2013, Microsoft and Nokia release their latest Windows Phone 8 (WP8) with better app integration and usability. fast forward to 2016 and the Windows Phone 8 are now replaced with Windows 10 Mobile that brings one OS platform for all Microsoft hardware.

There still some issue with the app support but Windows have been in number 3 behind Android and iOS for quite some time. That number 3 place would never be challenge now since other Mobile OS are either dying or being totally scrap.

This year will be the biggest turning point for Windows 10 Mobile since there are news of Microsoft also are raising the white flag because being third just doesn't cut it financially.

Our Verdict : B

Below is the common user requested app and how these Mobile OS alternative fare in giving users what they need.

Firefox OS Ubuntu Phone Windows 10 Mobile
Facebook Yes Yes (app & scope) Yes
Whatsapp No  (Loqui IM) No Yes
Instagram No  No Yes
Youtube Yes Yes (scope & 3rd party) Yes (a lot of 3rd party)
Twitter Yes Yes (app & scope) Yes

There are other Mobile OS such as Tizen, BB10 and Sailfish but those are either only having less than 3 devices or is already scrap (just like BB10) and replace with their Android counterpart. We always wish that there will be more option available other that Android / iOS moving forward in the future because options for users always the better way.

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