Apple’s (NASDAQ:AAPL) iOS and Google’s (NASDAQ:GOOG) Android have been dominant names in the smartphone operating system market for a while now. And while Microsoft’s (NASDAQ:MSFT) Windows Phone is beginning to make an impact, it still trails by a sizable distance. This year, though, the field could change drastically.
Android quickly outpaced iOS to become the number one global smartphone brand after several different manufacturers adopted the Google software. Windows Phone hasn’t quite had the same luck, even though Microsoft has also taken the same path by getting more than one manufacturer to embrace it. There is clearly some uncertainty for operating systems launching into the market. But, like sea turtles, if enough go in at once, some are bound to succeed.
And so enter Tizen, Firefox OS, and Sailfish OS.
Intel’s (NASDAQ:INTC) Tizen looks to be receiving one of the stronger backings from manufacturers. Samsung (SSNLF.PK) is rolling up one of its old operating systems into the new one, and could be sending out devices running Tizen by mid-summer. Intel is working closely with the Korean company on the launch.
Firefox has long been a popular web browser from Mozilla, and the company may be able to carry the same reputation to the mobile market with Firefox OS. The software has already found support from ZTE, which is manufacturing modestly priced devices that cost less than $100 to pair with it. It should be out in Europe and Latin America this summer. Mozilla appears to be quite interested in seeing the new operating system disrupt the status quo of the smartphone market.
Sailfish OS is a Linux-based operating system that is being developed by an old faction from Nokia (NYSE:NOK), which had earlier worked on the software MeeGo. The breakaway group formed a start-up called Jolla and has already released a free software development kit for Linux users. However, Sailfish OS may not be coming to the market as early as the others as there is little information on partnerships with manufacturers.
With three new operating systems ready to launch, and maybe more in the oven, it is possible that the current Google-Apple duopoly may be disrupted within the year.
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