An effective operating system (OS) is the fundamental foundation for any piece of consumer technology. If it works well, we should hardly notice it's there. The OS is what makes technology fit for purpose, and what allows any device or service to do what it is designed for. Ideally, it should be seamless, intuitive, flexible and easy to navigate.
Operating systems such as Android lie not only behind our phones, tablets and PCs, but also our credit card transactions, supermarket checkouts and many more features of everyday life. In the future, these systems will become even more ubiquitous. This is why they desperately need updating and why continuing with a world strictly divided between a number of different, self-sufficient and incompatible operating systems isn't going to work for much longer.
Increasingly, our work, leisure and everyday activities take place online. Yet most of the established operating systems that we use date back to the pre-internet era. Systems such as Windows are primarily designed to run software on your desktop computer, and even Android is rooted in an era of mobile development that prioritized software updates over internet connectivity. However, with cloud computing, 5G and the Internet of Things (IoT) just around the corner or here already, almost all of our digital activity is, or will be, carried out online.
We now work remotely on the cloud from a range of different devices, play games online using LuckyLand slots bonus codes, and use voice-activated virtual assistants to control our household devices. Tomorrow's OS will need to encompass all of these activities. It will no longer be about just running one particular device, be it a phone or a PC, but about managing a whole ecosystem.
How mobile changed everything
In the mobile era, we are always connected to the internet, generally via our phones. Now that our smartphones are our default computers and the way that most of us go online, the idea that desktop mode should dominate how an OS works is very much outdated. In addition, we are no longer always using the internet via a screen, as internet technology will be increasingly voice-enabled.
With today's technology, there's no reason why your phone, desktop, kitchen appliances and TV shouldn't all be running on the same system, allowing you to move effortlessly from one device to the next, or managing them all via voice commands to the same virtual assistant. It makes sense, so why isn't it happening? Because all of our devices are running on different proprietary OS, and compatibility is generally an afterthought, if it is encouraged at all.
Android is at least one step ahead of other operating systems in this regard, because it is famously open source and customizable. In theory, it can be installed on almost any device, from a phone to a PC to a coffee machine. There are already versions of Android designed for wearable technology (Wear OS), televisions (Android TV) and smart devices (Android Things).
Meanwhile, Google's companion OS, Chrome, is based on the idea of reinventing the PC as essentially a central web browser. It functions as the main point of connection with the internet, where the real work is done via apps and the cloud. Google's new prototype OS, Fuchsia, seems to be an integrated combination of features from both Android and Chrome.
Blockchain technology may well underpin any truly integrated OS for a fully connected future. The IoT may still be in the teething process, with unreliable connections and security issues arising from the use of non-secure software. Much of this is caused by the use of a one-off application programming interface (API) to link up different devices and systems, a way of working that is remarkably inefficient and unreliable.
If we are going to have our phones, refrigerators, cars, municipal traffic control, supermarket chains and more all communicating with each other on a regular basis, then it is essential that they are all running on the same OS so that they can be smoothly and safely integrated. A future where driverless cars, drone delivery systems and smart appliances can operate together in harmony on a large scale cannot be achieved if we continue to use multiple centralized databases that can only be accessed by each one's owner.
Blockchain can be used to capture data from each of these points, storing it safely in a fully accessible but secure network of information. This is the best way to leverage the full potential of IoT and mass home automation.
The core principles that will inform tomorrow's OS are already being discussed by the industry's key players. What remains to be seen is which one will come up with the OS that will ultimately come to dominate. The idea that "there can be only one" may seem overly dramatic, but we have gone past the point where having several competing systems drives innovation and can be seen as a positive thing. Over the next decade, the different operating systems will increasingly find that they are tripping over each other as it is no longer possible for users to happily stick to one OS brand.
Working for you
The OS that wins out will have machine-learning AI at its core, not as an add-on. It will learn from the user's actions, effectively customizing itself to suit how it is used. It will be self-updating, without interrupting what you're doing, and will have clear separation, or sandboxing, of apps and programs from the main OS for enhanced security.
An OS should automatically find the best available internet connection wherever you are and smoothly switch you over to it. It will enable AI-enhanced cloud connection and will let users interact in multiple ways, from keyboard and mouse to touchscreen, voice and even eye control. It will be ultimately adaptable, and will connect our phones, tablets, desktop PCs, wearable tech and home appliances seamlessly.
This is the future: an OS that will help you to run your whole world, not just selected devices. In responding to your needs, this OS will help you to take control of how you live your life.