Friday Four: Things To Note About Apple, Microsoft and Google’s New OS

Posted by · February 17, 2012 11:06 am

Whether it’s for our mobile phone or our desktop, it seems we can’t turn a corner without a new operating system being updated or released.  Over the past few weeks, rumors have been swirling about Windows 8 and yesterday, information leaked about Android 5.0 (a.k.a- Jelly Bean); but then Apple trumped them all with the unveiling of OS X Mountain Lion.  Here are four things worth noting about Apple, Microsoft and Google’s plans for their respective operating systems:

  • Device convergence may force brand loyalty– With the release of their new OSes, both Microsoft and Apple are hoping to inextricably link their hardware and software.  This means that while you can buy a Macbook Air running OS X Mountain Lion and keep using your Amazon Kindle Fire and HTC Incredible, you won’t get to enjoy all the benefits you would be able to take advantage of (ex: iCloud, Notification Center, Messages and syncing with Apple TV) were you to own exclusively Apple devices that sync with one another.  Microsoft is also hoping to make the case for convergence and brand loyalty but may have a tougher time since Windows 8 devices have yet to be released and Windows 7/Windows Phone 7 failed to wow consumers.  However, the company is already pushing single sign on and device syncing through Windows Live with Windows 8, so it appears they are ready to go toe-to-toe with Apple and thus potentially force all of us to purchase all of our devices from one company or another.
  •  Facebook is getting boxed out– We all know that there’s bad blood between Facebook and Google, but despite rumors that Facebook and Apple are mending their once broken relationship, the exclusion of Facebook integration from OS X Mountain Lion—and the inclusion of Twitter—seems to indicate that strife still exists between the two companies.  Don’t get me wrong, I hardly feel sorry for Facebook.  People will still flock to the site with or without OS integration.  To me, however, this opens up an opportunity for an even larger partnership between Microsoft and Facebook (the two are already in bed together with Skype and Bing).  And since Microsoft would do well to differentiate Windows 8 from Apple’s OSes anyhow,  perhaps a Facebook partnership (though I can’t think exactly what that would look like) would be one piece of the differentiation puzzle.  Or perhaps they could do a dual boot with Android 5.0.
  • Jelly Bean could end Android fragmentation– Google’s play in the convergence race is still a bit unclear. I’ve already discussed some of the implications of Chrome for Android; but a few Chromebooks side, Google’s OS is hardly a major player in the laptop/desktop arena.  Then again, before Google works on their PC-based OS, perhaps they should develop a consistent UI for their mobile one; and that’s rumored to be what they are doing with Android 5.0 (Jelly Bean).  Digitimes reported yesterday that the impending release of Windows 8 has forced Google to move up the launch of Android 5.0 to Q2.  (Yes, I’m still waiting for Android 4.0 on my mobile phone too.)  Rumor has it that Android 5.0 will make Chrome work as a product, porting Chrome OS to mobile devices and syncing it between different devices.  In addition, Chrome could become the exclusive style of Android apps, thus ending fragmentation among different versions of the mobile OS.
  • This will (potentially) make all of our lives easier– Regardless of whether you’re an Apple Fangirl or are waiting with baited breath for the Windows 8 release, the bottom line is that convergence will make all of our computing lives easier.  Having the ability to sync documents, music, videos and applications between devices (without having to use third party apps like Dropbox or email a document to ourselves) is something that I personally can’t wait for.  And if it means purchasing a few new devices, well, I’m due for any upgrade anyhow.