Just when you became comfortable with the concept of a smartphone or tablet having an operating system (OS) which allowed you to run downloaded apps, all of a sudden on the cyber horizon of planet Mobile a new hybridized concoction rears its strange and puzzling head: The Apperating System! What this phantasmagorical creature actually is becomes somewhat difficult to define due to its extensive range of functions but essentially it’s an assimilating entity which positions itself between the OS and your apps and modifies both. Is it an OS skin? Is it an app integrator? Is it a platform layer? It’s all of the above and more.
An Apperating System renders a device’s GUI unrecognizable
Facebook Home and Kindle Fire are but two types of Apperating Systems for Android currently on the market. What both do is to preserve compatibility with Android apps while providing the graphical user interface (GUI) with enough modifications that it becomes essentially unrecognizable and thoroughly integrated with whatever style and functional intent the provider of the Apperating System wants the user to experience. However, Android is not the only OS to be given the Apperating System treatment as even Apple’s infamously buttoned down shut tight iOS has had platform layers developed for it which change the essential Apple-ality of the iPhone and iPad to something quite different and unlike any other experience to issue from the Cupertino fruit company.
Amazon’s Kindle Fire flushes Google’s apps
The mobile market is showing a marked Appetite for Apperating Systems (may the pun Lords forgive me) and the issuers of said systems are rubbing their hands in glee due to their newly found ability to jettison any or all of their competitors’ built-in functionalities replacing them with their own specific brand’s. Amazon has profited greatly by flushing Google’s digital store, email client, and browser from Kindle Fire and replacing them with Amazon-branded duplicates. After all, you buy a Kindle Fire from Amazon and they are reserving the right to have you place orders for your online content from them, not to go over to the Googleplex in order to do your byte shopping. Now you know why it is widely reported that the Kindle Fire costs Amazon more to manufacture than it sells for. It’s a small price to pay for the company in order to have the user embroiled in an Amazon product web that is difficult if not outright impossible to escape from.
Facebook Home gets you even when your device is locked
Facebook Home adopts a similar approach in burying the majority of Android apps as well as the very Android-edness of the entire Google-borne smartphone and tablet GUI experience, replacing it with the familiar F symbol which appears everywhere and on everything. When you use the Facebook Home Apperating System the grasp of The Hooded Zuck reaches you everywhere, coating your screen with Facebook advertisements and the varied content that they are pushing, and even displaying that content when your phone or tablet is locked. That in essence is the primary goal of creating an Apperating System: It turns your mobile device into a brand-specific system which reflects your entire digital life through the prism of Facebook, Amazon, et al.
Do No Evil does not equal Make No Money
The Android business model for Google is set up in such a way that the extensive R&D that is performed in Mountain View by squadrons of engineers is amortized by the advertising revenue generated by the proprietary apps such as Chrome, Google Search, Google Maps, Gmail, and the rest of the Google family. Once an Apperating System effectively erases all of these functions from a user’s device, Google is placed into the position of a philanthropic uncle which is giving valuable assets away and receiving nothing in returns. And as we all know, the philosophy of Do No Evil does not overlap into the altruism of Make No Money.
Will Google be pushed so far that they will retaliate with an Apperating System lockout? Will Apple further tighten its already airtight sandbox and restore iOS sanctity? Stay tuned as the Apperating System melodrama continues!