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26 April 2013

Yet Another New Mobile OS Is Coming This Year

Mozilla, the company behind the Firefox browser, has been working on a mobile operating system. Firefox OS will be available on smartphones starting in June. Devices running the OS won’t appear in the US until 2014, but regardless, it’s worth asking: how many different mobile operating systems can the market support?

Besides the obvious giants Apple’s iOS and Google’s  Android) there’s BlackBerry’s  BB10 and Microsoft’s Windows Phone. Other challengers are waiting in the wings: Linux-based Ubuntu for phones and Tizen -- a mobile OS some believe Samsung could use to challenge Google.

That leaves out the mobile operating systems that existed before and have since died off, most notably, Palm’s WebOS. Hewlett-Packard spent $1.2 billion to acquire Palm in 2010, mostly for its mobile operating system.

In 2011, HP suddenly pulled the plug on its WebOS efforts. In recent months, the company has adopted Android for its Slate 7 tablet, and Windows 8 for its ElitePad enterprise offering.