History of Mobile Operating Systems

BlackBerry OS

The first firmware for this OS was released in 1999 for BlackBerry 850 pager. Then the operating system got a new turn of development: it was used for the BlackBerry 5000 and 6000 series models, which were designed to work with mobile Internet as well.

The big screen, QWERTY-keyboard, convenient address book, access to e-mail and fax made these phones popular among the business audience. With the help of BlackBerry gadgets it was possible to remotely use corporate CRM-systems and synchronize e-mail before the era of smartphones.

The operating system continued to develop together with the mobile market: the share of phones, communicators and then BlackBerry smartphones in the U.S. was growing rapidly. The BlackBerry OS was characterized by increased security requirements and protection against viruses, fast camera response and a convenient media player.

Barack Obama used his BlackBerry phone during his campaign and as president, which made the brand even more popular. In 2009, Research In Motion, a BlackBerry manufacturer, was named the fastest growing company in the world. But soon the Blackberry OS for QWERTY-keyboard smartphones began to lose popularity: new players in the form of iOS and Android came to the market.

At the beginning of 2012, a new product – BlackBerry 10 – was released, with the help of which the company tried to catch up with the rapidly advancing competitors. The OS was developed on the basis of the microkernel operating system QNX – UNIX-like real-time OS.

Most of the OS components worked on small tasks, and the developers could disable unnecessary functions without changing the kernel. A unique feature of BlackBerry 10 was its gesture control without a home button. To return to the home screen, a pile up from the bottom of the screen was used. A few years later, Apple applied this idea to the iPhone X.

Due to the controversy within Research In Motion, the first BlackBerry 10 smartphone was only released in 2013, when iOS and Android had already become the undisputed market leaders.

After several years of agony, in 2016, the company announced that its Chinese partners would manufacture smartphones, while BlackBerry itself would produce software. In February 2018, the BlackBerry Travel website was closed down, and in March 2018, the video call service Playbook was closed.

Since May 2018, users can no longer buy apps from App World. The previously installed applications will be available for download until the end of 2019.

Firefox OS

Firefox OS is a system for smartphones and tablets with open source code. From 2011 to 2015 it was developed by Mozilla on the basis of free web engine Gecko. The main differences between the system – low hardware requirements and support for HTML5 – made the OS similar to Google Chrome.

The main feature of this operating system is maximum openness, which gives a huge advantage to developers. Another innovation is the ban on tracking user data.

The first version appeared in 2013: Spanish mobile operator Telefonica developed two smartphones, Peak and Keon, with Firefox OS on board.

Firefox OS had its own app store called Marketplace, but in terms of the number of applications the new OS lost Apple Store and Google Play. In Firefox OS, three desktops were available to the user, which could not be removed or changed.

On the first screen was a keyword search widget. The developers decided to equate the applications with mobile versions of the sites, so not only the applications but also web links to the relevant pages were displayed in the search results.

As a result, neither users nor developers did not appreciate the new operating system: gadgets on Firefox OS could not compete with Android and iOS, and at the end of 2015 Mozilla finally refused to further develop the operating system.


In the mid-2000s, Samsung began to develop its own OS to compete with Symbian, the platform on which Nokia phones reigned at the time.

The new system was named Bada (in Korean – the “ocean”) and began its journey in the mobile market in 2010. Samsung’s goal at that time was to create affordable, affordable phones that would be as popular as Nokia, but would have the characteristics of smartphones.

The first version of the system was underdeveloped, and Samsung Apps’ own store included only 3000 applications. However, a number of important programs like Skype were missing.

The second version of the OS, released in 2011, has undergone a number of positive changes: for example, a friendly interface and the ability to postpone the sending of SMS. The new version added support for multitasking, push notifications, voice control and NFC support. Visually, Bada 2.0 was very similar to Android.

Sales were very successful: for example, in the first quarter of 2012, devices on OV Bada (mostly Samsung Wave phones) were in fifth place in the market after Android, iOS, Symbian and BlackBerry. But soon Samsung decided to create a new OS with even greater potential, and in 2013 Bada was merged with the new Tizen operating system.


The LiMo Foundation, an alliance of major telecom companies, and the Linux Foundation, a non-profit consortium that develops the Linux operating system, have teamed up to create the Tizen operating system. Work on the open source platform based on the Linux kernel began in 2011. In 2012, the LiMo Foundation was renamed the Tizen Association in honor of the new operating system.

The first smartphone on the Tizen – the device for developers RD-210 – in 2012 was released by Samsung. A year later, the Tizen app store, called the TizenStore, was also introduced. Commercial gadgets were launched later: in 2015, Samsung introduced a low-cost Z1 SM-Z130H/DS smartphone that supports two SIM cards. Then the company released models Z2 and Z3. The last device of the line, Samsung Z4, was released in 2017.

The system worked on the Linux kernel, and the interface resembled Android. All drivers for Tizen were written from scratch, increasing the speed of the OS. The operating system was originally conceived as a universal operating system: for example, were released versions of the OS for car audio systems, TVs and home appliances.

Subsequently, Samsung experts decided to abandon the development of Tizen for smartphones and switch to improving the OS for other devices. The Tizen operating system still exists and works on PCs, car entertainment systems, smart watches and Smart TV.

Sammie J. Sheppard

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