Realistically, how likely are you to switch to an entirely new platform?

Anna Scantlin
Contributing Editor from  Kansas City, MO
| Published: November 30, 2013

It's hard to imagine something that isn't there, but when I start to think about the four different main platforms that we have, along with a few others that are trickling in, I do sometimes wonder if there will ever be another smartphone platform that will come in and actually become viable competition. Between the two obvious giants that we already have, Android and iOS, the other two platforms, Windows and BlackBerry (who aren't making much headway) it would seem like even the idea of a new platform is completely out of the question.

But I think I'm open and ready for new ideas.

I mean really, I have been for a while now. As much as I like Android and iOS (which at times might seem like I don't like either one of them, but realistically I am fond of both) I feel like there is room for a third option somewhere. While I'm not trying to throw Windows Phone under the bus here, they've been around for some time now and their app store is still considerably less appealing than both iOS and Android. BlackBerry is also now in a very questionable place, and honestly I don't know where they're going to end up at this point. The odds aren't looking good in their favor, but who knows? They might bounce back, someday, somehow. 

But there have been other platforms released besides these four, and none of them have really done that well. Once upon a time there was webOS, which I have fond memories of but I suppose when pitted against any other platform today it obviously wouldn't look as good - but it's also important to keep in mind that it didn't have as much time to develop. I think had webOS kept going, it might have become something worth looking at today. At least, that's what I would like to think. Obviously at this point we will never know.

Even then, it's not like we don't have new platforms that have come out recently. We have Firefox OS, which is great, but their main target wasn't to aim for the sky with the big wigs - they just wanted to provide an alternative smartphone, particularly to markets that don't have the means to go for something as fancy as iOS or even flagship Androids. 

I do have high hopes for Jolla's Sailfish OS, which was just recently released over in Europe. So far this is the only platform out there right now that looks like it could one day be competitive with the other four (three?) platforms, but right now it's still too early to tell. They have the bearings to be a competitive platform, but whether they can keep building up in the right direction, and more importantly whether we are ready to let them in as a contender, is the big question.

Lastly, we have the possibilities of Ubuntu coming out with an OS sometime in the future, and there's also talks of Samsung branching off to make Tizen. As of right now, however, that's just speculation. 

Like I said, I'm fine with what we have available to us now. But what we have available to us seems to be dwindling. After all, with only four major platforms to begin with, and with one possibly heading the way of the Dodo, I feel like there should be something to replace it. If nothing else, four is a good solid number to have when it comes to platform options. Even if BlackBerry doesn't end up sticking around, I feel like a replacement would be in order.

But now comes the real question we want answered: Would we really want to switch platforms if it was given to us? I suppose it depends on how well the platform was made. I think we realize by now that it needs a good app store (think quality, not quantity) to at least get it started, a good UI and would probably need to look good. It would also need to offer something that the other platforms don't in order to make it stand out. I think if a platform like that came out, I would definitely consider giving it a switch. 

What about you, readers? Would you be interested in jumping over to a completely new platform? What would you want to see in a new platform in order to switch?

Image via Engadget