Sailfish OS Alternatives to Android and iOS

The duopoly of Android and iOS dominates the world of mobile operating systems, leaving little chance for other platforms to make a substantial influence. This dominance has been linked to a mix of consumer patterns and the closed nature of ARM-powered devices.

This dominance is comparable to the “duopoly” of Windows and macOS on personal computers, which has similarly proven to be a powerful market force despite many available alternatives. However, the dominance of Android and iOS in the mobile industry has degraded into tyranny, with customers having no viable choices. However, this may be read as people rejecting having many options in that market.

Another issue that has led to the mobile business becoming a duopoly is the closed nature of devices that employ ARM processors. Because ARM devices often have locked bootloaders and require a specific system image to run, it is difficult to create a generic kernel that would work on any device. This has made it difficult to design alternative operating systems that can run on various devices.

Despite these obstacles, it is apparent that mobile operating systems not based on iOS or Android are being developed. This article will describe 10 alternatives to Android and iOS, highlighting their features, capabilities, and why they could be worth considering as an alternative to the market’s major competitors. 

Some of the systems we will discuss are freely available, while others are not, and they are not all compatible with existing mobile devices. It is important to note that Android ROMs have been excluded from this list since they are still the Google system that has been customized according to the developers’ standards and aims. Of course, some of the platforms we’ll list support the execution of Android-compliant applications.

Alternatives to Android and iOS

1. Sailfish OS

Sailfish OS is a Linux operating system that utilizes Wayland as its graphics display technology. Its graphical user interface is designed with Qt, the same technology used by the KDE project. It is the continuation of another Linux-based operating system named MeeGo, which Nokia and Intel primarily developed. 

Sailfish OS was pre-installed on the Jolla Phone when it debuted in 2013, and it has since evolved into an independent system that favours Sony’s Xperia devices. Sailfish OS is a secure operating system that can run some Android apps. Vanha Rauma (4.4) is the latest version, published in March 2022.

2. Ubuntu Touch

Canonical’s ambitious Ubuntu Touch project, one of the centrepieces of its convergence strategy, was abandoned in favour of servers and IoT. The project has been carried on by UBPorts, a non-profit organization that does its utmost to keep it going. Ubuntu Touch is presently using the Ubuntu 20.04 technology foundation. Despite its modest development, it is one of the most intriguing possibilities in the market.

3. PostmarketOS

PostmarketOS is a project that aims to extend the useful life of smartphones by delivering a lightweight and efficient operating system. It runs Alpine Linux and makes use of the Wayland display server. Although the project is still in its early stages, it already supports many devices and has a growing developer community.

However, like the other systems described here, it does not support many devices. To be secure, you should get a device from PINE64, a tiny business with a long history of delivering ARM-based products on Linux.

4. Firefox OS

Mozilla’s Firefox OS was an open-source mobile operating system based on the Linux kernel that used the Gecko rendering engine for its web-based user interface. Its goal was to create an open-web alternative to Android and iOS, concentrating on online apps and HTML5 technology. The project was abandoned in 2016, but a small group of developers is still working on it.

5. PureOS

Purism, a non-profit organization in the United States, created the PureOS operating system. It is a free, open-source operating system that can be downloaded and installed. It is strongly intertwined with the company’s products, notably the Librem 5 smartphone.

PureOS’s capacity to be a concurrent system, which means it can adapt to mobile and desktop environments, is one of its important advantages. This enables a consistent experience across several devices, making it a versatile alternative for Android and iOS users. Furthermore, PureOS prioritizes privacy, with features and tools built in to secure users’ data and information.

6. /e/OS

/e/OS (also called eelo) is a mobile operating system designed to be a more privacy-conscious and user-friendly alternative to Android and iOS. It is built on the Linux kernel, which provides the operating system with a reliable and secure basis. eelo makes use of the MicroG project, which provides interoperability with Google services, making the transfer from Android or iOS easier.

One of eelo’s distinguishing traits is its emphasis on privacy. It has privacy options that allow users to govern and secure their data and information. Furthermore, eelo offers a custom app store that curates and promotes apps that protect users’ privacy.

7. Plasma Mobile

Plasma Mobile is a mobile operating system developed by the KDE community. It runs the Linux kernel and employs the Plasma desktop environment. Plasma Mobile is designed to provide a seamless experience between desktop and mobile devices, focusing on customization and privacy. It includes features such as an app launcher, a notifications centre, and support for many applications.

8. Tizen

The Linux Foundation and Samsung collaborated to create a mobile operating system called Tizen. It runs on the Linux kernel and uses the WebKit rendering engine. Tizen is intended to be an open-source and adaptable alternative to Android and iOS, emphasizing a uniform user experience across various devices. It has a modern user interface, support for many apps and services, and compatibility with multiple hardware platforms.

9. Replicant

Replicant is an Android-based free and open-source mobile operating system. It is intended to be a full-featured and privacy-conscious alternative to Android’s proprietary version. Replicant contains features such as compatibility for several hardware platforms, app and service support, and a focus on user freedom and privacy.

10. Mobian

Mobian is a Debian derivative meant to operate on mobile phones. It currently supports only a few devices, including the OnePlus 6, Librem 5, PinePhone, PineTab, PineBook Pro, and x86 64. It has a graphical interface called Phosh, created by Purism to adapt GNOME technology for mobile devices, and it interacts with Wayland via a proprietary component called Phoc. Mobian’s major purpose is to deliver a standard Linux distribution to the mobile device market, which is a difficult challenge.

Conclusion

While Android and iOS dominate the mobile operating system market, several alternative systems offer unique features and capabilities. From privacy-focused systems like Librem 5 and eelo to web-based systems like Tizen, various options are available for those looking for an alternative to the Android and iOS duopoly. Each of these systems has its strengths and weaknesses, and it’s worth taking the time to research and compare them to find the one that best fits your needs.

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