Chris J Powell

Intel chips in Next Gen Smartphones, Firefox to enter the Mobile OS market and Will Windows8 be Microsoft's Swan Song

The world of Mobility is going through yet another transformation in the coming months.  The hardware seems to get better and better and the need for anything more than a  Tablet and SmartPhone are becoming harder and harder to justify.  For myself, while I love the fact that I can multitask and switch between reading a book, check TV Listings or playing games and surfing the web on either my iPad or SmartPhone is great but in every instance…it is not the same experience as I can have with my x86 based processor in my Desktop.


Intel has jumped into the fray with the release of their new Medfield chips that will go head to head with the ARM based processors that dominate the mobile space.  Intel is pinning its hopes on the latest design path of their “Atom” based processors that propelled Netbooks into the marketplace and will open up incredible new opportunities in the mobile space.  Google has announced that it will make Android available for x86 based systems and as for the development of Windows8 it may mean that there will not need to be an ARM version of Windows produced at all, dramatically reducing the development time of Microsoft’s next Gen OS on SmartPhones and Tablets.


The Mobile space has gone from crowded with 7 potentially viable options at the opening of 2011 (iOS from Apple, Android from Google, Windows Phone 7 from Microsoft, Symbian and Meebo from Nokia, WebOS from Palm/HP and Blackberry OS from RIM) but because of failures and blunders…there is really only two choices heading into 2012 iOS and Android but the addition of x86 chipsets could open up huge potential for a True Open Handset market…this is exciting!


Firefox to enter the Mobile OS Space


The parent of the popular Firefox Internet Browser, Mozilla is said to be developing a Mobile OS that could enter the market in early 2012.   Known as Boot 2 Gecko or B2G this new OS takes a spin on the wild side similar to what the Chrome Browser did when it hit the ground running with a Cloud Based OS in 2011.


Mozilla is not going to build the complete OS but is forming the basis of a strong platform and catering directly to Carriers who can build a SmartPhone that is unique to their customers.  From the B2G FAQ page it would appear that Mozilla will be the keepers of the base code but as an Open Source Project there could be 100’s of potential Forks that allow a “Lite” SmartPhone for those who really will never use the full features of an iPhone or Android SuperPhone.


According to the development Roadmap, B2G will be loosely based on the Android core stack (Linux Kernel, libc and a few other base items) but will not run Android Apps and will be focused almost entirely on the OpenWeb concept using HTML5 and RTC (Real Time Communications) to power this new Mobile OS.


According to the Roadmap, things are on track for a Developer’s Release in Q1 of 2012 with a release of the product in Q2 of 2012.  This is an aggressive strategy and I for one will be keeping my eye on this.


Will Windows8 be Microsoft’s Swan Song


Having now played with the Developer’s release of Microsoft’s upcoming new OS – Windows8 for about 6 weeks now I can honestly say that I am COMPLETELY underwhelmed.  Yes stability is an issue…but it is a developers release so I can give them a nod on this but my biggest struggle is Metro.


For the Desktop / Laptop market the User Interface JUST SUCKS.  I can see the win for a Tablet or a Touchscreen AIO (All in One) but I just can not get past the clunkiness and bad judgement of a company that so completely dominates that space.  There are Billions of Desktops and Laptops out there that will not be completely replaced with a Tablet and while we may be entering into the Post PC era…I don’t think that Microsoft will even get on base with this new OS until there is a complete shift away from Desktops and Laptops.


In the world of Linux, new User Interfaces have caused a lot of headaches (Ubuntu Linux with the push of its Unity Desktop, Gnome and KDE both building “tablet like” interfaces, etc) the fundamental shift in how we interact with our computers will be far to hard for most users to make the transition.


Now I get that computing is much more mobile and with unique products that would allow a Tablet to be “docked” into a Workstation environment…ok there may be potential but Microsoft relies not on the consumer space but on the Business User to keep itself afloat and with that I just don’t see how Microsoft will be able to maintain its market dominance with this OS.  It is still early and this may just be wishful thinking but with Windows8 I predict even more of a switch away from Microsoft and this will be the beginning of the end for the company.


With 2011 coming to an end, 2012 definitely looks to be an interesting year for Technology.




Chris J Powell



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