Android and iOS have glamorized the mobile operating system market. Few people forget the fact that they are less than 4 years old. Mobile operating systems existed much before Android and iOS. Palm OS is the oldest and one of the longer running mobile operating system. Since Palm OS, as many as 22 mobile operating systems came into existence in the span of 15 years, 14 of which came into existence after 2007. Some lost their track midway, some were abandoned and some were reborn.
Intel has just given up on Meego and HP has given up on WebOS. We all know about Nokia’s burning platform and how close Symbian is to the gallows. That didn’t stop from new ones to rise. In fact, for every mobile OS going. Amazon has forked Android to power its upcoming tablet, and Baidu forked Android to launch its operating system Baidu Yi. Alibaba’s Aliyun is already available and Mozilla’s Boot2Gecko will come sometime next year.
Despite the recent losses of Meego, WebOS and Symbian, mobile OS is happier than ever.
The year 2012 would see the highest number of mobile operating systems operating ever. From now on, it’s not iOS vs Android or Android vs something else. With Aliyun and Baidu Yi entering the fray, we are now entering a very interesting phase in the mobile OS space. China is obviously a big market for anyone to ignore. With two new Chinese operating systems on the anvil, Google and Android’s hold will be challenged. For iOS to continue its explosion, it should come up with what Asia wants, a cheaper version of its devices. The resurrection of Microsoft in mobile space with Windows Mobile will only spice things up.
Availability of 15 mobile operating systems means one thing : no single OS is sitting pretty. Not iOS and especially not Google’s Android. But does the world really need 15 mobile operating systems?
PS : In a way Android is still a winner. The one who is really losing in this mobile game is Google.