What I Want From My Next Mobile OS

With the recent big announcements from Google, HP and Nokia, I’ve been left wondering what my next phone will be. In the end, I believe people will be buying into an ecosystem of devices. With HP’s tight integration between phone and tablet, and plans to bring it’s webOS to PCs and laptops in the near future, it’s clear that they want you to own HP throughout your gadgety collection. I love the look of the integration they’ve got going in webOS, but I’m not loving the idea of sticking with one manufacturer.

I love my MacBook, and I can’t imagine switching from Mac. So that would suggest iPhone might be the best option, in the hope that the next generation MacBooks and iPhone perhaps use NFC/Bluetooth to communicate, and offer a similar experience to webOS. But I’m bored of iOS. It’s become nothing more than a sea of icons to me, with no life outside of each individual application. Maybe I should pick up a Windows Phone 7 running Nokia, for the high build quality, coupled with an OS that is quite unique, and intrigues me somewhat. Windows Phone 7 is still in it’s infancy, so it’s hard to tell yet how that will pan out.

So, I want a UI that lives and breathes and gives me feedback throughout, integration with the other devices in my computing ecosystem, the developer support needed to sustain a modern mobile OS, and without being locked down to a single manufacturer. Android covers the UI and developer support, with a growing number of manufacturers to boot. At the moment it’s lacking that integration that I crave. That integration that I crave and lust for just isn’t there sadly. Perhaps Google are working on this behind closed doors. But one thing is pretty much certain – somebody will bring that integration through the Market. webOS to me, as a web developer with a high interest in mobile apps, seems to be the obvious choice, and if they were to bring out a 7” tablet alongside the Pre 3, I’d consider making the move. That said, webOS for tablets just seems to be the phone OS blown up big screen, much like the iPad. Android 3.0 Honeycomb shines through there. It’s properly built for a tablet, with it’s UI reworked from the ground up.

The perfect solution to me: Google, Apple, Microsoft and HP (along with whoever else wants to chime in) develop a set of protocols for cross device communication. Imagine a world where my Pre 3 can communicate with my Motorola Xoom and MacBook (my perfect setup – I think, although I’d rather a 7” tablet) with ease, and if swap out my Pre 3 for a Nokia Windows Phone 7 device and all works the same. Think of it, on each device a default program for handling a particular notification event, say an SMS. An SMS comes into my phone, pushes a notification to any connected device, which then launches the default action for that event, which may or may not know how to respond to it. I think all the manufacturers win in this scenario, because consumers wouldn’t feel apprehensive about changing platform.

Sadly, I can’t see this happening. Apple are already separating themselves by using AirPlay instead of embracing DLNA, and I can see further differentiation. I still hold hope that something can be done to alleviate the incompatibility, but I highly doubt a perfect solution.