Mobile hardware and Operating Systems


The title of the post might be misleading because its about Generic Hardware.

‘Generic Hardware’ - the term might make you think, ‘What’s he talking about?’. Well, this is something I always was thinking about. So, let me give an analogy on the software side and then move on to the hardware part.


We have technologies that were designed based on some specifications which many others can benefit from. For instance, HTML was designed based on some specifications so that every browser knows how to read it and respond to it. Just imagine if HTML wasn’t designed in the way it was and everyone created their own version, it would’ve been a issue. I don’t say it would be a show stopping issue because we will end up spending more time tying up dependencies and making things inter operable.

The web was meant to be free, open and common to the people, so that everyone can communicate through a common platform (leave aside the translating stuffs happening behind :slight_smile: ). The best analogy I can give is the web apps written in many languages like python, ruby, java, javascript, etc., can to talk to each other either using xml, json or whatever things you know (API’s - does that ring a bell :slight_smile: ). The analogy I thought of is, OS’s -> web apps and the API’s -> hardware.

Don’t get me wrong here, because I am not saying anything about monopolizing technological innovation or anything like that and that’s not my intension. I am just trying to share my views on it.


So, when it comes to hardware part; vendors of Operating Systems create them in a way such that it runs on different hardware architectures like Intel, AMD, Power PC, etc. For mobile platforms the vendors customize their OS to run on those resource constrained environments. Do the OS vendors have premium access to the hardware stuff and dominate them? (smells fishy :smiley:)

The problem we face is installing our preferred OS on our mobile phones that we own. Are the manufactures purposely limiting our abilities in doing that or something else? Its like if I buy a motorbike and face some problems or do some modifications I can’t got a mechanic shop, rather reach the manufacturer. Its just for an example and don’t take it as such :wink:

Lets take our Android mobiles as an example. We see lot of geeky stuffs like rooting, custom OS, Cyanogenmod, Replicant, etc., and lots of How to’s on them. But are those available to all the existing Android Phones. We see some custom OS’s that can run perfectly on one phone and not the other, even if they did they tend to cause some major issues.

All that a CPU needs are machine instructions to work on.

We can’t solely blame the mobile manufacturer because, various parts of the mobile like its CPU, wireless hardware, camera, etc., comes from different vendors. I say this because the issues might be due to lack of proper drivers for GPU’s, input devices and accessing other crucial hardware API’s. I can put it across like,

We own the phone but we don’t

My point is, if the mobile phones and the various supporting hardware in it are manufactured with some generic and open standards, then whatever the OS may be can be developed in such a way that it can run quite effectively with lesser tweaks.

I would really like you guys to share your views and point out if something is not right.

–Happy Reading–


Perfect and I enjoyed reading your post. :wink:


The best example to support your post is that android os was ported to run on x86 architectures


@vms20591 Really a good post, I have a doubt, I tried to put Android 4.4.4 Kitkat in my 2.3.6 Gingerbread Device, but my hardware configuration is not supporting that Version. What is the Problem behind this. Is that a Hardware Configuration Problem or any other dependency Problem?

Jelly-Bean version is supporting very low Hardware configuration Mobiles Like Micromax, canvas etc., but that same version is not supporting in Samsung galaxy Y. Approximately the hardware configuration of samsung is higher that the micromax. Please don’t consider the ROM customization like XDA developers, i am just asking about the original OS porting and installation.


@anand The problem is that samsung cares only about its high end devices. They don’t spend time to think about its low end devices. So they don’t even care to port their os to match the low configuration.


Ha ha… Politics @aravinthk :wink:


In my opinion the lack of Open Standards among hardware manufactures are the fundamental problem, if that is addressed, even serious environmental issues, will get addressed. A simple explanation on how electronics on the whole is damaging earth and its species.

There were few projects like Phoneblocks and Projectara came up some time back, in which there were solutions for hardware life time and open standards. Projectara a Google’s initiative is expected to be released on 2015 first quarter.

Once these projects come alive, the problems like, use and throw hardware, short life span, high cost, privacy, and even health related issues caused by harmful radiations might get addressed for good.

Will projects like Phoneblocks and Projectara create monopoly? certainly not, they will push the competition to next level, imagine what are the advantages of 1000 of companies compete in the place of 10 companies. Due to patents, starting a hardware company becomes impossible unless you are Tesla kind of genius ;).


Phoneblocks is a concept whereas Projectara is an almost finished project. Eventhough Google does a lot of privacy concerning stuff i really i like the fact that they have worked on Projectara. Here is an video which i thought would interest people


here is another tablet trying to do the same.


@samdraz Jolla tablet is powerd by a Opensource OS(UI is Proprietary)called Sailfish 2.0 and it’s expected in May-2015, It’s a regular tablet with High specification within a budget price. We are Looking for the Standard Software and Hardware, that should be upgrade for the future use not replaceable. Please checkout Projectara and Phoneblocks. :smile:


@anand , ui is still undecided , yet most of it avaible from nemo project.