Ubuntu Phone OS vs. Mozilla Firefox OS

Posted by jun auza On 5/30/2014
The Android vs. iOS battle is still on. With iOS 7 and its new UI, Apple surely got the upper hand in the design arena. Also, with features like fingerprint scanner, the iPhone line of products is getting stronger and stronger each year. Despite Android's soaring popularity, iOS still remains the first choice for many developers thanks to a huge user base that includes a lot of enterprise crowd. However, that doesn't mean that Android is the underdog. In fact, Android is battling iOS neck-to-neck in many arenas and it is just a matter of time when Android becomes the dominant phone OS.


That said, despite the continued dominance of Android and iOS in the smartphone market, new players are emerging that serve as credible threat to Google and Apple's legacy. One of the biggest threats, of course, is Windows Phone. With their recently unveiled Cortana, a Siri-like assistant, Windows 8 seems like an OS that is poised for success thanks to Microsoft's existing user base on the desktop. Other minor players are also emerging; however, the ones most people are watching out for are Ubuntu Phone OS and Mozilla Firefox OS. These two operating systems, which offer completely different approaches to mobile computing, are almost ready to cause a disruption in the mobile market. But which one is the better of the two? Well, let's find out. 


Features:

Ubuntu Phone OS brings the same features of the desktop to the mobile. This means that all your favorite scopes, lenses, and Dash are there on your phone. With fast search, rapid multitasking and a content-first approach, Ubuntu OS is nothing like what other traditional phone operating systems offer. Ubuntu desktop users would be happy to find their beloved Launcher on the left side of the screen. Also, what makes Ubuntu Phone OS more special is that it focuses heavily on search. This means that anything you want, whether it is a song or a contact, simply searching for it yields the right results.

Firefox OS, on the other hand, takes a different approach by focusing on bringing the web into your phone. Targeted at entry-level smartphones, Firefox OS is much suited for low-end configurations. Feature-wise, the open-source operating system is nowhere close to what Android and iOS offer. Or, for the matter of fact, it's not even close to what Ubuntu OS offers. What's common between Ubuntu and Firefox, though, is that search takes a heavy priority in both the cases. Mozilla's approach is more geared towards turning a website into an app so that users can get the best features of a smartphone without paying a hefty price for it.

Comparing the two, there's no doubt that Ubuntu Phone OS is a clear winner in this department. In every aspect, it has simply more to offer.


User Interface:

The sliding UI of Ubuntu Phone OS is simply fabulous. Basically you can slide from any edge of the mobile screen to use the needed functionality. Scopes, wallpapers, and other UI elements adhere more or less to the flat design trends making them look really gorgeous. In other words, even for die-hard iOS users, Ubuntu Phone OS is a treat to look at. 


Mozilla Firefox OS takes a different approach in terms of design. It's simple, easy to use, yet, nowhere near Ubuntu. Once again, UI is an area where Ubuntu has been dominating even biggies like Android and iOS so it's no wonder that Firefox OS will take the beating here. 



Applications:

Theoretically, Firefox OS is the winner here as it relies mostly on web applications. But most people who own smartphones want to experience native applications. And, that is exactly where Ubuntu Phone OS has the upper hand. Though Firefox OS does support native applications, many developers are already flocking towards Ubuntu due to its ability to allow users to run the same application across all devices. So, if you are someone who lives for the apps, stick to Android, or move to Ubuntu if it gets some moderate success. However, if you plan to go for Firefox OS be prepared to leave the app-lover in you slightly disappointed. 


Conclusion:

Though it's difficult to compare two operating systems that are targeted at different users, Mozilla's Firefox OS still feels half-baked compared to what Ubuntu offers. While Canonical is focused on making a full-fledged mobile OS that goes head-to-head against Android and iOS, Firefox's approach is towards making smartphones more affordable. Initial reviews of Firefox OS have been really underwhelming so it will take about a year for us to see both operating systems in the hands of its end users. Finally, it would be a great idea to wait till both operating systems get enough exposure and that would be somewhere around April 2015 where both Ubuntu and Firefox would have (hopefully) reached enough stability to be used on a broader scale.

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