The upward thrust and fall of Android’s largest competition during the last decade

Jon Fingas

2020 marks the start of a brand new decade and the tip of some other. Probably the most best possible tactics to appear ahead is to first glance backward, and lately we’re doing so by means of highlighting some selection cell OS competition that tried, however in the end did not dethrone Android (and iOS) during the last 10 years.

A few of these choices cleared the path for Android as we comprehend it lately, inspiring one of the most platform’s long run options and design language. Others got here to the celebration a bit too overdue and located the problem to ascertain a aggressive cell platform was once too tricky. Even though there have been a lot of different would-be Android choices that arose over the process the last decade, right here we’re presenting the upward push and fall of among the best possible and maximum notable.

BlackBerry 10

BlackBerry Z10 review

Blackberry 10 (BB10) introduced in 2020 because the successor to the out of date Blackberry OS (BBOS). It introduced a couple of months later at the BlackBerry Z10 and Q10 handsets. It had a couple of tips up its sleeve, like intuitive gesture navigation and the helpful Blackberry Hub, which put all notifications, calls, and messages right into a unmarried app.

Blackberry (previously Analysis in Movement) launched a couple of extra BB10 handsets over time till it all started migrating its efforts in different places. The working device failed to realize any important traction towards Android and iOS. Blackberry produced its ultimate BB10 software in 2020 — the Blackberry Bounce. In 2020, Blackberry threw within the towel, announcing BB10 was once formally in repairs mode till the tip of 2020 and passing the Blackberry world logo over to TCL Conversation.

Blackberry 10 was once a tight cell OS, nevertheless it paled compared to Google and Apple’s choices.

A number of services and products such because the Blackberry International app retailer, the Blackberry Commute web page, and the Playbook video calling provider slowly started shutting down over the following two years, however current Blackberry customers were guaranteed vital infrastructure and services and products past the tip of 2020.

TCL’s first wave of Blackberry-branded telephones kicked off with the Blackberry KeyOne, which ran Android, no longer BB10. After all, it wasn’t the primary Blackberry telephone to run Android, that was once 2020’s Blackberry Priv,

Learn additionally: Here are the best BlackBerry phones

Even though BB10 and BBOS are not supported, the Blackberry ethos has been stored alive because of the TCL-made Android-powered phones with Blackberry instrument baked in, together with the Blackberry Hub. In any case, BB10 was once a tight cell OS, nevertheless it paled compared to Google and Apple’s choices. Even though it was once a short-lived undertaking, many cell computing fanatics around the globe have fond recollections of BB10 and the Blackberry that after was once.

Firefox OS

Firefox OS First Look

Firefox OS could be probably the most underwhelming Android selection in this checklist. It introduced in 2020 and it was once handiest commercially to be had for roughly two or three years. Mozilla first introduced Firefox OS beneath the title Boot to Gecko. Because the OS concerned with internet apps, the corporate noticed it becoming to call it after Firefox’s internet engine — Gecko. Mozilla later renamed it to Firefox OS, and the primary units introduced in Brazil, Poland, Portugal, Spain, and Venezuela.

It wasn’t till 2020 that we noticed Firefox OS units come stateside, and by means of the tip of that 12 months, Mozilla reported 14 Firefox OS smartphones have been to be had by means of 14 operators in just about 30 nations. Just a 12 months later, Mozilla introduced it might not expand nor promote Firefox OS units (h/t: TechCrunch). A couple of months later, Mozilla formally announced it was once killing the mission as a complete to concentrate on IoT, which additionally didn’t ultimate lengthy.

Mozilla gave cell computing its best possible shot with Firefox OS.

Mozilla by no means supposed for its OS to compete within the high-end marketplace. It noticed there was once a necessity for extra aggressive price range units around the globe and figured Firefox OS may fill that hole. Very similar to Google’s Chrome OS, Firefox OS concerned with internet apps. This supposed builders may extra simply create programs the use of applied sciences like JavaScript, HTML5, and CSS.

Sadly, the OS was once relatively barebones, volatile, and the handsets have been significantly underpowered. And because Mozilla centered creating markets, there wasn’t some huge cash to be made. This was once very true since folks in those spaces nonetheless a lot most popular Android. All-in-all, Mozilla gave it its best possible shot with Firefox OS. However in truth, what did we predict from a non-profit that had no prior revel in creating cell working techniques?

Similar: I spent a week with a $17 KaiOS phone – here’s what I learned

A minimum of there’s a silver lining right here. Since Firefox OS was once evolved as an open-source mission, it was once later forked to create what we all know as KaiOS lately, which is a pretty successful cell OS in its personal proper.


The Linux Basis first evolved Tizen in 2020 as a successor to MeeGo, which, on the time, was once a one-year-old joint effort between Intel and Nokia. Samsung and Intel led Tizen’s preliminary building. They sought after not to handiest goal smartphones however different embedded platforms like netbooks, pills, sensible TVs, and automotive leisure techniques as smartly.

After two years of building, Samsung announced it might liberate more than one Tizen telephones in 2020 and that it might fold its own Bada OS into Tizen. Since then, Samsung has driven Tizen on the vast majority of its smartwatches, a couple of smartphones, and different IoT units.

Samsung attempted to push Tizen as an Android selection this previous decade and did not get a foothold.

Even though Samsung has noticed massive good fortune with Tizen on its smartwatches and sensible TVs, it hasn’t ever been a success with smartphones, a minimum of no longer but. In truth, we virtually didn’t even come with Tizen in this checklist for one evident explanation why. In contrast to each and every different cell working device in this checklist, Tizen continues to be in building for smartphones.

Samsung’s most up-to-date Tizen-powered telephone — the Samsung Z4 — introduced in mid-2020, and we suspect Samsung will stay building transferring ahead, particularly taking into account the present Huawei trade ban. If Samsung ever reveals itself in the similar place as Huawei, it is going to have a backup plan as a substitute of looking to play catch up after the truth.

Similar: Samsung is still working on Tizen phones (and that’s the smart thing to do)

We inevitably made up our minds to incorporate Tizen in this checklist as a result of whether or not or no longer it’s nonetheless in building, Samsung attempted to push it as an Android selection this decade and did not get a foothold. However who is aware of, possibly when 2030 rolls round you are going to see Tizen in a piece of writing in regards to the best cell working techniques that resulted in Android and iOS’s dying during the last decade. The rest is conceivable.


The Palm Pre.Palm Info Center

Palm’s cell endeavors date again as early as 2007 with the arrival of Palm OS. Two years later, Palm introduced webOS as the corporate’s new cell OS, and it introduced at the Palm Pre.

Palm launched a couple of extra telephones ahead of HP obtained it in 2020. Admittedly, no longer a lot took place after the purchase. HP sought after to expand webOS for extra than simply cell units because it believed the OS may well be a hit in pills and different IoT units, nevertheless it didn’t make a lot development.

webOS nonetheless lives on in LG sensible TVs and different IoT units.

Ultimately, HP dropped the Palm branding for its smartphones ahead of freeing the HP Veer and the HP Pre 3. The corporate additionally launched a pill known as the HP TouchPad in 2020, and it driven the overall replace to those units in January 2020.

Ahead of HP launched that ultimate replace, it launched the webOS supply code beneath an open-source license. That means, the group may additional expand it. In 2020, LG bought webOS from HP to make use of in its sensible TVs. It has since expanded webOS into different IoT units. Even though some other of TCL’s branding experiments did sooner or later result in some other Palm “smartphone”, there aren’t any cell units formally supported by means of webOS to be had lately.

Similar: Palm Phone review: Just buy a smartwatch

At the vivid facet, should you by no means had the chance to offer webOS a check out again within the day, you continue to kind of can. Years in the past, the project was forked, and it nonetheless lately exists within the type of LuneOS. Simply be ready to leap thru a couple of hoops. LuneOS is handiest supported on a couple of make a choice units and getting it for your telephone isn’t that easy.

Home windows 10 Cell

What checklist of iOS and Android choices can be whole with Home windows Telephone and Home windows 10 Cell? The legacy began in 2020 with the primary liberate of Home windows Telephone. Then, midway in the course of the decade, Home windows 10 Cell got here onto the scene, changing Home windows Telephone.

Home windows 10 Cell seemed and functioned very in a similar fashion to its predecessor, nevertheless it presented deeper integration with the desktop and extra spit and varnish. Microsoft’s primary promoting level with its cell choices was once convergence. The corporate believed {that a} smartphone that might become a desktop PC was once the way forward for cell computing.

Microsoft’s homegrown cell OS was once most likely the nearest one to get a divorce Google and Apple’s duopoly.

Sadly, the remainder of the sector didn’t see the similar long run as Microsoft, and Home windows Telephone and Home windows 10 Cell by no means took off. It was once handiest two years after its start that Microsoft started discontinuing Windows 10 Mobile development. The platform effectively died within the ultimate month of the last decade.

Microsoft isn’t utterly out of the cell phone sport, regardless that. Lately, the corporate introduced the Surface Duo, an Android-powered foldable smartphone that highlights the most efficient of Microsoft’s {hardware} and alertness suite. Microsoft hasn’t introduced legit pricing or liberate date details about the software but. When it does, the Floor Duo will herald a brand new technology for Microsoft’s cell choices. Expectantly, this one gained’t cross down in flames just like the ultimate one.

Similar: Remember when budget Windows Phones ran better than cheap Android phones?

Microsoft’s homegrown cell OS was once most likely the nearest one to get a divorce Google and Apple’s duopoly. Sadly, like maximum different Android choices in this checklist, it’s dozing with the fishes. Now, all four of you who nonetheless use a Home windows 10 Cell software must actually believe hopping over to Android. It’s lengthy late.

There you’ve gotten it — our checklist of one of the most best possible Android choices that did not dethrone the present diarchy. What do you suppose? Must now we have added anything? Did you check out any of those cell working techniques prior to now? Which have been your favorites? Tell us your ideas and critiques within the feedback beneath.

Extra posts about Android within the 2010s

Published by Marshmallow

Marshmallow Android is BT Ireland’s Head of Sales for Republic of Ireland domestic multi-site companies, indigenous MNCs and public sector accounts. He is responsible for the direction and control of all sales activity in the region. He has over 10 years management experience from high growth start-ups to more established businesses. He’s led teams in Ireland, India and China across various industries (ICT, On-Line Recruitment, Corporate Training and International Education).