As you can tell from the title, yes, I do think that smartphones’ platforms at this stage, is getting more boring. Do you remember back in the day, when you buy a new phone, every device has their own OS and their own way of operating. Although it is a lot of work, buying a new phone before the iPhone days, is a very exciting experience. Even in the Windows Mobile days, with that one OS, OEMs explored various ways to make it their own, and although the experiences are similar, you always get excited. And then, comes the original iPhone.
Now, Steve Jobs and Apple did something wonderful here. The original iPhone shamelessly have all the features of Windows Mobile, but not like a PDA, the device is still a phone. With a new UI and the fact that it is a new experience, the iPhone received (and still) a (or many…) warm welcome in the market, with over 6 million units sold, which at the time (2007) is a huge success. So, Apple shaped the form factor for smartphone at least for the 2000s and the 2010s. Other platforms started to emerge. While RIM stood there and kept enjoy their success without the care that the iPhone would one day take over the smartphone industry. Google started to surface in the Smartphone world with Android while Microsoft had to start all over again with Windows Phone 7. But although the origin, the 3 platform is very different. Today, all of the three biggest platforms are quite similar.
Think about it, Windows Phone 8.1, Android L, iOS 8…? They are all similar, have virtual assistance, same notification position, even notification banners! I mean, there are similar gestures and things you can do on the three platforms. Two of them have at least 3 navigation buttons. One thing that’s needed to be clear up is that it’s not a bad thing, or is this the conversation about who copy who. This is more about 3 platforms that make me lose hope of having that experience again you know? Yes, an OS should be able to do what their competitor does. But the similar thing happens, when they do a whole bunch of catch up and forget about the innovation. Also, make me more depressing is that new platforms like BB10 and Sailfish OS or Ubuntu will die out because of lack of support, hardware or money, because although
the big 3 are dominating, they aren’t doing much.
What Sailfish, BB10 and Ubuntu brings to the table is new, and refreshing. While Jolla and Blackberry built their OS on gesture rather than capacitive buttons, Ubuntu brings new way to unify your PC and smartphone experiences. These are the new and refreshing things that will probably die out because of the conservative market that we have, and the lack of support that these new platforms are getting. I’ll say this, however. Getting to play with the Fire Phone brought back some of that excitement. The new Fire OS is quite refreshing and not at all Android. I mean, I know a gave a negative impression, but a solid phone with decent specification and consistence performance, that does say a lot about Amazon.
What am I saying here? For one thing, I do hope that the new OS get their chances to be shined in the world fill with similarities. What I really want is to have the 3 big OS differentiate themselves, with features or even UI wise, and make me feel that when I move to the new platform, I feel like I got something worthwhile in my using experience. So Google, Apple and Microsoft, would you take on the challenge of making something difference? And I do not mean appearance, because, well, if we have similar appearance, the smartphone world got itself a serious problem.