Why The Next Dominant Mobile Operating System May Not Be In A Smartphone

map of the world in coloured shades of blue

For today's blog entry, we're playing in the sandpit. Toying with ideas and imagining what might happen. Yours truly is acting a role: today, it's either visionary, or crackpot, or a little of both, and perhaps some other traits too. There's a lot more freedom in the realms of eccentric ideas. Most importantly, it's fun, so I hope you too can share in this amusing experiment.

The Mobile Operating System (OS) Problem

To continue the trend of innovation and provide better competition, arguably, the world badly needs a third mobile Operating System — though not necessarily for smart phones. The solution might involve a helping hand.

Google Android And Apple IOS Smart Phone Domination

At the time of writing, Google Android and Apple IOS, between them, claim about 96 percent of the mobile OS market, say market research firm, IDC. That's a big chunk of dominance! Unassailable? Perhaps.

Windows Phone, Blackberry, and others claim the remaining 4 percent: surely insufficient for continuing product life cycle. Nevertheless, variety and choice add color to the world, so we wish them well.

So without doubt, some say that a third mobile operating system that helps reduce the dominance of the two leaders is badly needed. Yet, I suspect, that today, both Google Android and Apple IOS now have such a tight grip on market place, that just coming up with another mobile OS probably won't be sufficient to dislodge the leaders from prime position.

Why: perhaps most people are sufficiently happy with what is currently available. To change, or switch, in sufficient numbers, something amazing must surely take place.

A Future Mobile OS — Perhaps — With A Difference

The answer — perhaps — is something not marketed as a smartphone, but which meets and massively exceeds what the best of today's Android and iPhones already provide.

So our new imaginary technology device will be incredibly powerful by comparison, and may include some or all of the following features. Our new, yet to be invented device may:

  • Ensure that smart phone capability will form only a part of what this device can do. So it's much more than a smartphone, and way more than a mobile OS.
  • Emulate the best features of what current Apple iPhones and Google Android phones provide, then improve on them in a big way. Why: what comes next has to be better in order to overcome user inertia.
  • Have real time, instant language translation covering most or all active languages on Earth.
  • Almost certainly provide a speech option for commands, in addition to the more conventional typed input.
  • Use Artificial Intelligence (AI) that becomes bonded to the owner of the device through fingerprint, iris, facial scan, or DNA sampling (perhaps by sweat or skin mosture or saliva sensing).
  • Over time, our new device learns more about its user in a personal way. This AI feature actually changes and personalizes the OS to each individual. Your device knows when you're sad, happy, cold, hungry, thirsty, have a headache, showing signs of being seriously ill, and more. For each situation, your device offers suggestions: how to fix the problem; guidance on what to do next. Or simply how to make your day better. And so on.
  • Have a warm, attractive, catchy name, that make sense and is familiar to most people the world over, and has positive associations. The market will be worldwide — and in time, beyond. So any name has make sure no huge mistakes appear when translated into other languages. Demonstrable respect and consideration for other cultures can drive greater sales.
  • Be physically flexible (to reduce breakage risk). Yes, you can bend it.
  • Waterproof up to a depth of 50 meters (even that might be too much to start with).
  • Be transparent, or partially transparent, yet offer the option to instantly switch to an opaque, or mirrored surface on choice.
  • Be carried with us, so will be light in weight, portable, yet possess incredibly powerful computing muscle.
  • Use multiple technologies embedded into the device: web, phone, TV, email, Text messaging, body health monitoring, all the usual functionality of apps that we have come to rely on.
  • Include a key element devoted to monitoring the personal health of the user through touch, breath sensing, sweat sensing, saliva and optional / voluntary blood sampling.
  • Be available for a nominal price, so cost of access is not a barrier for mass use, with profits being made on a continuous, never ending stream of content consumption.
  • Optionally showcase true holographic and 3D technology.
  • Somehow allow for projecting a screen / user interface onto any wall or white or light colored surface. The power demands have suddenly shot up. However, the more efficient batteries of tomorrow, may make such leading edge innovations workable. With laser guided screen projection as a key feature, suddenly, the small mobile screen becomes large. iPads, PCs, Apple Macs, and so on, instantly lose the larger screen size advantage.
  • And more.

Time To Name Our New Device: Playing With Brand Names

So, no problem with our ambitious feature list above: today's relentless march of technological miracles brought about by remarkably talented engineers, scientists, artists, marketers, create the future, one step at a time, and at some point, that future happens tomorrow.

What can we call our wonder device, yet to be invented? What about:

  • Minime (that's "mini me" — should be fun for language translation). This is my first idea brainstorm attempt: you can laugh: I did.
  • AZ (symbolizing A to Z: a play on "everything"). The brand name version could be: MYAZ (pronounced "MY-a-zee") — but perhaps that doesn't sound sufficiently easy or simple. The problem here, perhaps, is that AZ only really works for English variations.
  • H or Helper — a simple, accurate, all-encompassing, descriptive single letter, word, or name for a revolutionary technology brand device, with a supremely human touch, that also, as a common use word, can't so easily be trademarked or owned by any one party. Though distinct brand names tend to create greater benefits for their creators.
    The wonderful Google Translate suggests to us that there is a name for the word "Helper" in every language listed. Not surprising: in all of human history, how often do we need a helping hand; someone to assist, a hint, tip, or technique. With a simple brand name like  "Helper", the ability to make mobile phone calls becomes absorbed into something that is capable of so much more.

So since we're all in my playpen sand pit, today, my vote goes to "Helper": the more I hear it, think about the possibilities, the more I like it. The entire device is about helping people everywhere in ways that are significant, measurable, meaningful. Truly life-changing would be a concise, fair description.

While incredibly appreciative, and yes, grateful for the best that today's technology offers us — there are far too many wonderful devices and software apps to list here — in the spirit of looking over the hill to the next valley, I for one, am relishing the day "Helper" — or its equivalent — becomes available. I hope you will too.

Nevertheless, I know I'm biased. So arguably, none of the above amusing device names are wonderful, imaginative, enticing are they? My excuse: right now, I'm playing — for serious consideration, I would need to spend far longer on "name games" to come up with some better ideas. I've turned the problem over to my subconscious, so may expect some better answers in time. Or, I might come back to "Helper". If you too like such challenges, now it's your turn.

Going Beyond The Smart Phone

So who knows: perhaps the only way to break the dominant Google / Apple monopoly is to create something so extraordinary and marketed in such a way that the device doesn't initially, directly compete with existing mobile OS technologies, but in a sense, makes them seem outdated, irrelevant?

Something so powerful, so breathtaking, so appealing, that the mobile OS world is changed forever.

While the above ideas may seem too far removed for a "next mobile OS", the pace of change seems to be increasing, not slowing down. Perhaps today's technology is poised on the edge of a remarkable tipping point. So we shall see, and commend the change makers, the innovators, the risk takers, and hope they redeem matching profits. For by sharing in such new inventions, we can all become richer, better. 

And of course, our fictional, as yet-to-be-invented device could be created by Apple or Google themselves — why not? In addition, Microsoft or Amazon too have a past track record of delivering surprise and delight.

Or perhaps, the blueprints of an idea may be crafted by someone or some people working in their parents' basement or garage. Exciting times!

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