MO­BILE OP­ER­AT­ING SYS­TEMS GRAD­U­ATE TO THE BIG SCREEN

Here’s wish­ing Fire­fox OS, Tizen, and We­bOS ev­ery suc­cess in their TV fu­tures.

HWM (Singapore) - - THINK - by NgChongSeng

The two things TV man­u­fac­tur­ers tra­di­tion­ally com­peted on - pic­ture qual­ity and de­sign - were largely driven by the hard­ware en­gi­neer­ing depart­ment. Sure, soft­ware en­gi­neer­ing still hap­pened, but its work was rarely thrust to the fore by the mar­ket­ing depart­ment. Af­ter all, “hard” fea­tures like new pixel ma­tri­ces, curved screens, and voice con­trols all make for bet­ter tent-pole fea­tures in the brochures than say, a pretty on­screen menu or fast in­put switch­ing.

But as TVs be­came more pow­er­ful and home en­ter­tain­ment more com­plex, TV mak­ers also be­gan the race to tick as many check­boxes as pos­si­ble in the fea­tures list. Wire­less stream­ing, web brows­ing, screen mir­ror­ing, voice in­ter­ac­tion, so­cial me­dia sup­port - you name it. The re­sults, more of­ten than not, were con­vo­luted, clunky, and down­right ugly user in­ter­faces. TV mak­ers will not ad­mit it, but their smart TV cre­ations have bru­tally ex­posed their in­ept­ness in UI and UX de­signs.

Af­ter years of quick fixes that even­tu­ally led nowhere, TV man­u­fac­tur­ers are now turn­ing to mo­bile op­er­at­ing sys­tems en masse. LG led the charge with We­bOS in 2014, and at this year’s CES, the com­pany wheeled out its lat­est We­bOS 2.0-pow­ered TVs. Not to be out­done, cross-town ri­val Sam­sung an­nounced that Tizen OS will be the foun­da­tion of its smart TV plat­form mov­ing for­ward. Across the Sea of Ja­pan, Pana­sonic has em­braced Mozilla’s Fire­fox OS; and Sharp and Sony have jumped on­board Google’s An­droid TV sys­tem. Yes, TV mak­ers may still screw it all up in the name of dif­fer­en­ti­a­tion, but I’ve high hopes that be­cause of the mo­bile roots of th­ese OSes, the smart TV ex­pe­ri­ence (from boot times and menu nav­i­ga­tion, to multi-tasking and de­vice in­ter­op­er­abil­ity) will take a huge step for­ward from now on.

"AF­TER YEARS OF QUICK FIXES THAT EVEN­TU­ALLY LED NOWHERE, TV MAN­U­FAC­TUR­ERS ARE NOW TURN­ING TO MO­BILE OP­ER­AT­ING SYS­TEMS EN MASSE.”

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