If you're a big Apple or Android fan you may be asking yourself, “Is there anything else out there? Is this it?” Well, if history has taught us anything, change is certain. The question is what that change means: a new OS, a collaboration, or possibly elimination? I doubt that IOS or Android will go anywhere anytime soon. but still, we have seen a new operating system show up now and then, though it usually fizzles out shortly after its announcement.

Remember the Amazon Fire phone or the Linux smartphone? Or how about systems built on top of Android that are just renamed, like Oxygen that shows up with every year's new release of the One Plus Flagship? It's not the Flagship killer it was intended to be, but we see it time and time again.

So what will it take to truly challenge the two operating systems that run our smartphones, cars, homes, and entertainment systems? It could be the custom era. It's been around for some time. But with a stronger consumer demand for variety or convenience, we may just see a few worthy competitors that will have enough of a following like One plus to stick around. It's important to note that most of these changes are lately simply hardware with some tweaks under the hood on Android, the only open source option available to those developers willing to develop something unique on top of it.

The Challenge

Before we get into to what could be, let’s get some perspective on this. Their challenge is to penetrate a market with a new ecosystem, developed with relatively new coding languages by a small group of interested developers who may be working for peanuts against everyone else who is making top dollar. That’s a tall order, not to mention it has to have funding and have additional capabilities in support, app development, and hardware. This is why it is so much more attractive to do something over the top of Android or Linux. However, we're talking about an entirely new operating system or ecosystem, if you will. That's a big challenge and a big risk for any tech startup, because that is just the software; you still need companies that produce hardware to manufacture or design something that can support your new system.

Baby Steps

Currently, we are not seeing anything developed in the mainstream that has its own standalone OS. We're seeing some new companies emerge with ideas, though. It was just last month that Marques Brownlee or MKBHD from YouTube reported on the new smartphone from RED, which interestingly enough, he was invited to review at their headquarters.

The RED Hydrogen One takes a new approach with 2D and 3D holographic technology and what may be the only production type camera of its kind for professional production style videos or photos. It may be a niche, but as I mentioned in the beginning of this article, the custom age is here and, from my perspective, this smartphone looks to fill a niche for serious filmmakers or gamers.

Then you have the new Essential smartphone by Andy Rubin. If you're not familiar with who he is, this is the guy who invented Android. The essential smartphone will be running something called “Ambient OS”. Now this is still pure Android, with a new API built in or protocols, so let's just call a spade a spade, (it’s an API actually). The niche on this device is that it controls your home through a speaker, which I think is a fabulous idea, but it's still a niche at this point.

The Future OS

Now, Andy Rubin did touch on a few very important things in his interview at the 2017 coding conference, including interoperability and AI (Artificial Intelligence). This is where I believe that the future OS exists. Who knows? Maybe Playground, Andy’s company, is already working on it. A new OS or echo system has been tried over and over again, and maybe Andy has a great point with interoperability. But let’s just say in the future, Apple isn't interested in sharing or cooperating in any way. We are still back to square one. That’s OK, because like Andy, I think that the next OS is AI, and that system will not only change our choice at checkout, but change everything, including the two operating systems everyone is using today: IOS and Android.

AI is the buzz word right now on all social media platforms with respect to development. It's already coming to IOS, Android, Windows, OS X, Facebook, Instagram, and others. But what if something was developed entirely on its on in the form of a new echo system that does not rely on any of this? What if it's a brand new OS from the ground up? What then?

How the Future will look

Well, your guess is as good as mine, but remember, I'm pretty good at predicting changes, trends, and forecasts in mobile.

Artificial Intelligence is the future of the mobile ecosystem. Apple and Google, along with Facebook and a few other companies, have spent hundreds of millions of dollars already, It's logical that our machines will start to learn, quantify, and measure decisions based on your choices aboard its system, a new system that is able to extract your old information from your Android or Apple device and use that to build your profile into a new one. If I'm losing you, hang on. This will make sense in a minute.

Yes, imagine taking the old data and code from your Android or IOS history. Then our new ecosystem takes that information to program your ecosystem into a brand new interoperable platform that looks different, feels better, and looks exactly how you (or its AI) thinks you want it to look or be. This is what I believe Andy was talking about. II believe it will arrive sooner, not later. Who knows, this whole thing could look like the listening screen on Siri with nothing more than the system listening and then pulling up what you need right when you mention, or maybe even think about, it. It sounds like something out of a sci-fi movie. Remember Scottie from Star Trek, “Computer!” then a response. Get the picture? Maybe that new OS is just a wallpaper with a talking screen, like SIRI or Google Assistant, sounds simple right? This is just the beginning.

MJ Nale

Founder at Phonlab