Might Europe develop its personal cellular working system?

Not too long ago, we requested if it was doable for Europe to have a dominant smartphone once more. The reply was easy: no, not until there’s some form of miracle.

The explanation behind that is multifaceted, however the core level is that as a result of Asia hosts the vast majority of the world’s cellular manufacturing amenities, it’s borderline unattainable for European firms to create a ok cellphone at a low sufficient value to succeed.

However, right here at TNW, we had one other query: may Europe launch its personal cellular working system?

Why do we’d like a European cellular OS?

On first inspection, it’s a wonderful thought. A European working system may wrestle a few of the energy again from Silicon Valley behemoths iOS and Android. Additionally, it wouldn’t require using factories or uncooked supplies, because the software program could possibly be developed within the continent itself.

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Then let’s not neglect that Europe has been on the forefront of digital privateness regulation, with initiatives just like the GDPR and strict data-scraping laws imposing residents’ rights in opposition to data-hungry US tech giants.

A European cellular working system, then, could possibly be used to make sure privateness on the highest stage for folks and prolong a component of management over the tech ecosystem. That latter level is especially essential, as a result of not solely do Apple and Google have management over the apps that seem on their platforms, additionally they take large income cuts from publishers. That’s a staggering quantity of energy and earnings — all of which the EU may make use of.

However… is a European OS even doable?

To search out out, I acquired in contact with a number of specialists. Certainly one of them was Jan Stryjak, an affiliate director at Counterpoint Research. He leads the analyst agency’s analysis in Europe, and has over 13 years of expertise within the telecommunications, media, and tech industries.

The very first thing he informed me was that there was no area available on the market for a brand new European — or some other, for that matter — cellular working system. “Two is sufficient,” he says, referring to iOS and Android. There have been makes an attempt prior to now to make Home windows a 3rd dominant cellular OS, however these failed. Whereas Windows Mobile and Symbian had their days within the solar, Android and iOS edged each out.

“It doesn’t work,” Stryjak tells me about the potential for one other working system becoming a member of Apple and Google’s cellular working techniques. Effectively, there goes that dream.

After I pressed Stryjak additional on the probabilities for such a factor, the one potential he noticed was one thing for “the actually area of interest tech inhabitants who care about privateness.”

Let’s speak in regards to the third choice 

This matter of privateness is one thing I mentioned with Wayne Huang, VP of Product Operations at Fairphone. His firm creates units that purpose to be sustainable and local weather impartial, with the purpose of constructing repairable units that give energy again to the buyer.

Certainly one of Fairphone’s core buyer segments is exactly the tech area of interest that cares about privateness. After I requested him how this feature was expressed on their units, Huang pointed me in direction of Fairphone’s partnership with the /e/ Foundation, particularly its Linux-based /e/OS cellular working system. 

The innards of a Fairphone, which shows how easily repairable the components can be.