Thursday, July 19, 2012

Jolla And MeeGo Have Me Excited

I like Google. I really do. I think that there have been moments in their history where they could have done better —censorship issues in China being one of them— but overall, they are a vastly superior company to other tech heavyweights like Apple, Microsoft, and Intel. That said, I still yearn for an OS that isn't Android.

Android is something of a mess. Many geeks don't understand the actual problem of fragmentation in the OS because they've never experienced it. Many of them are usually at the cutting edge, sporting a cell phone that is either cutting edge or at least current-gen. For those who don't have the money, time on their contract, or like me, simply prefer to buy unlocked cell phones, fragmentation is a major problem.

For example, the Sony Ericsson Xperia X10/X10 Mini/X8, Pro, and other phones were pretty big successes for Sony. They are technically Android phones, but they barely run the OS. Getting them to run at all smoothly requires rooting and a custom ROM using the newest version of Android.

Making matters worse is the immense amount of noise being generated by the manufacturers and carriers. Carriers mandate locks on the phone and un-deletable software, while manufacturers muddy the waters with custom versions of Android that frequently are inferior to the stock Android interface. Google's answer to this problem is the Nexus line of "pure" Android devices, and I think that it's a pretty good answer.

But, what if I don't want the Nexus? What if I want the HTC One X. If I get it unlocked, it's either the super-expensive international version that doesn't run on AT&T's high-speed network, or it's simply an AT&T phone with all of the same junk that's on the locked AT&T phone... it just costs more. In this regard, both Windows Phone and iPhone are superior, since locked or unlocked, it doesn't matter. It's the same phone.

I yearn for an OS and phone that isn't victim to all of the noise, noise, noise, noise from the carriers and manufacturers. Similarly, I yearn for a well-made platform that isn't reliant on a major corporation. That's a difficult thing. Linux has been around for well over a decade and still isn't a significant replacement for Windows or MacOS. Open source can work, but it's always easier to have a major presence behind any initiative.

Jolla and MeeGo have all of the work done by Nokia, and MeeGo specifically still has support from large numbers of hardware companies who are keen to avoid an OS duopoly of iOS and Android. MeeGo also has the support of geeks who would like an OS over which they have more control. Because while Android is open and tweakable, it is still Google's baby, and they raise it as they see fit.

I hope that MeeGo catches on. I'll totally make an app or two for it.

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