Proctele apps in the App Store

Proctele apps in the App Store
Click the picture to see Proctele apps in Apple's App Store

Thursday, April 25, 2013

New Mobile Operating Systems

Tizen OS, Firefox OS, Sailfish OS, Ubuntu Touch. These are the names of four new mobile OSes that have just been launched or are about to be. They all support touch interfaces.

Tizen OS is open source. Tizen runs Tizen-apps, web- and hybrid apps. Parts of Samsung's Bada OS, which is about to expire, will be added to Tizen.
Ubuntu Touch is open source. It currently runs on Nexus Android sets and it can run Ubuntu Touch-apps and web-apps. A good number of interesting games run on Ubuntu and then presumably on Ubuntu Touch too.
Sailfish was started by former Nokia employees. It runs Sailfish-apps, Android- and web-apps. The UI (user interface) can be customized to a high degree.
Firefox OS comes from the browser company. It can run Firefox-apps and web-apps. Of the four new OSes, Firefox OS is the one closest to launch.

One might ask what is the point of so many mobiles OSes. I think it has to do with the app-concept. There are different ideas of what an app should be. Some think Apple's proprietary app-concept is unnecessary and claim that web-apps written in HTML5 can do anything iOS-apps can do. 
Then there's Sailfish, which owes its existence to developments within Nokia, the demise of its Symbian OS and the MeeGo OS. Some Nokia employees thought there was more mileage left in MeeGo and built Sailfish.

The competition in mobile OSes that these OSes seem to promise, is likely to bring great consumer benefits. 

Cheap hardware already exists and will bring more phone makers. I can imagine Facebook as a phone maker and that they might adopt one of the new mobile OSes instead of Android or in addition to Android. Other likely phone makers are content owners, the ones that already have tablets.

I've tried a few web-apps and I don't think they are ready to take on Apple's iOS apps yet. In a few years they probably will, but that is several iPhone generations from now.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Facebook Home

I've been reading articles about Facebook's Home concept. Home will be available for download on Friday this week, and pre-installed on HTC First phones. Here are my thoughts.
Home is a new home screen for Android phones. After the phone has been started up Home takes over the home and lock screen and shows your FB feed. You still have access to the other apps on your Android, but the access goes through Home.
Home integrates some of the well-known messaging services like SMS and FB messages with the FB timeline, and hence one big advantage that Home offers its users, is integration of messaging in a Facebook device. It makes your phone FB-centric.
Home seems to be a great idea for the Facebook company. The user will think of his device as his Facebook. We'll soon be hearing "Oh dear, I left my FB on my desk!", instead of "Bugger, I left my mobile phone on my desk!". You'll think of most things you do on your smartphone in terms of FB and its user interface.
Everything you do on your FB phone will be known by Facebook, and that includes anything you do inside the other apps, including your banking app. That could mean FB will know what you own, earn and spend. It will know where your money is and how much you own, where you earn it and where you spend it. I'm speculating of course, but is there anything to stop them?
Facebook's revenue comes from advertising. To advertisers, customer information is the most valuable thing next to money. But is FB any less trustworthy than Google? Does Google spy less on Android users than will Facebook? I think Google knows less about its users, because they don't know the links between people as well as Facebook does. They would know more about its users, and as much as Facebook does, if Google+ would take off.
Would I want a phone with FB's Home? I'm not a great FB user, so my answer is definitely no. And in any case no.

Facebook writes: "Home is a completely new experience that let´s you see the world through people, not apps." That is not going to turn me into a Home fan. To me a smartphone is much more than FB, SMS or Email. It's about surfing the web, playing games, navigation, taking notes, dictionaries, music, film, camera, Twitter, RSS-feeds, todo, news; all those things that apps provide in all their diversity. To me Facebook is one app among many others.