2013 is going to be an interesting year in mobile. While mobile platforms like Android and iOS have their feet planted firmly, the rest of

2013: BlackBerry 10, Windows Phone, Tizen, and Sailfish

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2013 is going to be an interesting year in mobile. While mobile platforms like Android and iOS have their feet planted firmly, the rest of the competition will have to slug it out for some serious stake in the market. By “the rest of the competition”, I mean the following platforms: BlackBerry 10, Windows Phone, Tizen, and Sailfish. Here is a rundown of how things stand with each of these smartphone platforms.

Blackberry 10

BlackBerry 10
By end of January 2013, RIM will be outing their new BlackBerry 10 platform and two smartphones. If what we have seen is anything to go by, BlackBerry 10 is looking to be awesome. BlackBerry has an almost cult-like following, weakened as that following may be. I haven’t owned a BlackBerry in months, but I have my eye on the N-series device for its hardware QWERTY keyboard. But it will be no easy fight for RIM. They need to get their boxing gloves on and swing heavily.

Windows Phone

Lumia 920
Microsoft’s new baby is still having a bit of a struggling gaining a firm foothold in the smartphone market despite Nokia’s involvement. However, it is still early days, and it won’t be as easy for Windows Phone as it would have been had other platforms not showed up. Now, Windows Phone has to go head-to-had against at least three strong contenders first before we can even begin to talk of squaring against iOS and Android.

Part of the problem is that some Windows Phone makers have interests elsewhere – Android and Tizen, for example. Still, Windows Phone has a champion, a weakened one too, in Nokia. Oh, and Windows Phone already has a two-three month head-start. Will that count in the long run?


Tizen is the product of the alliance between Intel and Samsung after Nokia dumped MeeGo. Intel got Samsung to replace Nokia on the project and it got re-christened “Tizen”. Samsung have announced that they will be launching multiple Tizen devices this year. That is huge, because they have the muscles and clout to convert a significant number of their smartphone base from Android (and probably Bada too) to Tizen. Yes; Tizen is Samsung’s insurance against Android. The Koreans are smart enough to know that someday they may need to part ways with Google and control the end-to-end experience of their smartphones.

Samsung has plans to sell 390 million smartphones this year. If just 10 million of those are Tizen smartphones…. do the math. Bang!


Nokia N950 running Sailfish OS
Incidentally, Sailfish is also an offspring of MeeGo. A small team of ex-Nokia guys formed a company named Jolla and are pushing on with MeeGo, but have named their OS, Sailfish. Sailfish may be owned by a new, small company, but the brains behind it appear smart. They have formed an alliance with D.Phone – China’s largest retailer for mobile phones. Anyone who knows how massive the Chinese market is, knows that it is good sense to get a firm footing in China before spending elsewhere. Clearly, Jolla is smarter than Nokia on this score. Nokia gave up the Chinese market (and others) for the US market, a huge mistake, if you ask me. It is this smart move by Jolla that makes them a contender at all.


I love the variety that the mobile market will throw at consumers in 2013. Personally, I am sick and tired of the lack of options in the market now. If you want anything exciting, it is either you buy an iPhone or a droid. Sheeesh. For now, these are the contenders in the smartphone space. Ubuntu won’t be ready till next year. Firefox OS isn’t ready to fly either. What of Bada? Bada OS is doing quite fine, despite its relatively low profile. But I expect that Samsung will let it go at some point in time.

It is also interesting to note that of the contenders listed in this article, two (Sailfish and Tizen) are Linux-based. Add those to Android and it is clear that Linux is set to dominate computing. Linux may have lost the desktop war, but mobile computing and the future of computing as a whole seem to belong to Linux.

I am happy to see this greater variety, after all, “the more, the merrier”.

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  1. How about Firefox OS? We’re expecting some devices Firefox OS running devices to land this year also. Isn’t it a worthy contender?
    This mobile OS ecosystem is getting saturated. Too many options. If only all these linux based OSes can merge and join forces, their collective might would have a better chance at putting a dent in the top dogs

  2. The proliferation of OSes is not designed to profit the consumers.

    it is all about protecting feathering the nests of the proponents. Me. myself. mine

    At this rate, Facebook will also develop its own OS (or buy). HTC, ZTE, and, and,……

    then the confusion will be complete!

    At the end of the day, the particular OS a device runs is (/should) not be the main focus; it is the ecosystem behind it and the UX that count.

    Imagine what would happen if every Novelist decides to first research and produce his own paper and printing ink first, before publishing.

  3. EyeBeeKay,

    Wait o! Is there anyone who really believes that ANY business/company acts in the interests of consumers? Who is that naive? Please, park!

  4. I think have seen enough of WP8, and just hoping it gets better cos i can make it my main phone for now.

    I am interested in seeing BB10 esp the qwerty device.

    That Tizen logo is somehow, JUJU like, lol

    Hope Tizen and Sailfish phones will get to us here.

  5. Certainly no business out there has the interest of consumers at heart, it is all about profit but this proliferation of OSes though still not designed to benefit consumers, will ultimately benefit consumers when the market forces set in.

    We know what is happening in the Android ecosystem, it even seriously affected Microsoft’s iOS-ish implementation of Windows Phone 7.X and forced them to ease up on their initial hardware and software limitations in the follow-up iteration that resulted to Windows Phone 8.

    And yes, there’s still things like Apple trying to block the sales of competing platforms through court injunctions, Google denying competing Microsoft mobile platforms access to some of its services that causes overall poor experience for Windows Phone devices and Microsoft’s extortion schemes from Android manufacturers, but consumers are still the ones to benefit from the more ethical(?) competitive practices that go on in the consumer markets as seen within the ecosystem or the situation where Apple is compelled by the success of Android devices on bigger screens to produce a 4″ iPhone.

  6. Okay I’ve checked out most of the os above other than firefox, for me i’m enthusiastic about ubuntu os or the concept behind it but thats not in at least not until 2014. What’s really got my attention is sailfish os i’m itching for it to come out, i just can’t wait

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