Handset makers and carriers on quest for a third mobile platform to challenge Apple, Google

“Some of the world’s biggest handset makers and telecom carriers are embracing alternative mobile operating systems this year in a quest to become credible challengers to smartphones run by Apple Inc. and Google Inc.,” Yun-Hee Kim and Thomas Gryta report for The Wall Street Journal.

“These companies are hoping they can outgun attempts by Microsoft Corp. and Research In Motion Ltd. to emerge as a third alternative platform to the iPhone and Android devices, which have a virtual stranglehold on the market,” Kim and Gryta report. “Manufacturers such as Huawei Technologies Co., LG Electronics Inc. and ZTE Corp. are building phones for Mozilla’s Firefox OS due out this year with the support of several major carriers. The first mobile phone using Tizen, a system co-developed by Samsung Electronics Co. and Intel Corp., is slated to be unveiled in the third quarter.”

Kim and Gryta report, “Handset makers and telecom operators say diversification is needed to bring down the cost of handsets and subsidies. Some of them also fear that market leader Google is becoming too dominant. But any new mobile operating system faces an uphill battle against deep-pocketed early movers Google and Apple.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: It’s the ecosystem, dummies. And no one, including (let’s be more accurate: “early copier”) Google, has anything even remotely close to Apple’s array of services and content.


  1. The carriers may like the idea of an alternative operating system, but is there any sign that customers want an alternative ?

    What would the advantage of an alternative operating system be to the customers ? The explanation given in the article is lower prices, but Android handsets are already priced very low.
    The more plausible explanation is that it’s part of a power struggle, which the carriers have already lost and will not be winning back.

    1. As demonstrated by Android’s enormous marketshare, but much smaller usage share, most people buying smartphones aren’t using them for anything other than phones. They aren’t entrenched in the platform and therefor have no loyalty and can change at any time.

      Most customers don’t know what they want – unless they’re walking into an Apple Store – so whatever the salesforce is working hard to sell, is what that customer will walk out with.

  2. Could someone explain in better detail exactly what is gained by moving to a new, obscure, no-apps, no-services OS for a phone? Anyone gives a rat’s about a Firefox OS phone because WHY?

    Why exactly would NOT using Android make anything cheaper for a handset maker? The OS is FREE. There are no associated fees except having to get the damned thing to work on your specific hardware.

    I am a competition fanatic and rant constantly about Apple requiring competition. But are we talking about competing with Apple here, or are we really talking about cheap-ass phone set makers and carriers? Let them eat Symbian, if they want another free phone OS.

    In any case, I see nothing in the future for these handset makers and carriers but cheap crap alterna-phones being foisted on the public with subsequent public disapproval. They might as well buy Nokia or Blackberry.

    1. The big thing about Firefox OS is that it’s run by a nonprofit community. Every other major organization in the Internet technology is motivated by profit – and that shows the kind technology they produce (some more than others). By no means am I totally against capitalism – there’s definitely a place for it on the Internet – but the Internet is bigger than it, and it’s too too vital to humanity to be controlled just by a few corporations. Mozilla has consistently shown that it can innovate web technology in the ways that benefit the general public. I hope Firefox OS has the same positive effect on smart phones as Firefox has had on web browsers.

  3. Wait, why are we bellyaching about this? Any competition for Google is a good thing in my book, so long as it’s not Samsung. And even then, I would love to see Samsung and Google try to destroy each other.

    The enemy of Android should be our friend, because it means an alternative to that nightmarish platform. I don’t mind competition to iOS and Apple, but for the love of God, let it be somewhat ethical competition.

  4. That makes no sense at all. Consumers like what’s available, so why start off from scratch again. What the carriers really want is to be back in control or make more money. I thought Android was supposed to give them that. Maybe the carriers are looking for more product churn. Whatever… I don’t believe a new OS is the answer for consumers’ sake. I’m sure most consumers are satisfied with what they’re using now and there are other alternatives than just Android and iOS (Windows Phone OS and BlackBerry OS).

  5. It’s almost like these wireless carriers are being run by salespeople (cue Steve Jobs comment) rather than people who understand what their core competencies really are.

  6. Please let ALL of these up-and-comers get some traction. Let’s change the conversation from Apple vs. Android to Apple vs. all-the-other-cheap-crap. I know, that’s already what it is, but that’ll help get everyone on tha same page.

  7. I’m rooting for Blackberry and Windows Phone. I don’t see any one else managing to become a third platform other than maybe in local markets. Tizen will probably have some success in Asia but most likely not in Europe and US.

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