A Cloud-Based Smartphone OS?

With more and more applications moving to cloud-based deployment, and the cloud making up a massive volume of data that users utilize daily, it’s not surprising that an OS developer would begin looking at a cloud-based OS for smartphones. CloudMosa has announced the development of Puffin OS which claims to be a minimalistic smartphone operating system designed to run mostly on the cloud. The OS also features a stripped-down version that operates without a connection to the cloud.

Tapping into the Low-End Phone Market

Google has noticed that it’s standard iteration of Android along with all the bells and whistles doesn’t run too well on lower-end smartphones. To address this, the company previously released Android One in 2014 and later on, Android Go in 2017. These OS revisions aimed to offer Android functionality but without much of the overhead. The stripped-down version of the OS performed better on handsets that didn’t have the technological capabilities of its higher-end relatives.

Puffin OS aims directly at this subgroup of users. CloudMosa intends this particular OS to be more accessible and hopes it gains popularity in places where there isn’t as much connectivity. The company states that the OS should run in a serviceable state even with a 2.5G internet connection, making it perfect for developing nations that may not have advanced to the widespread use of 3G tech as yet.

When the phone is offline, however, only the bare functions of the handset will work. Web-based applications won’t run offline, at least until the Progressive Web Apps standard provides the functionality. The most significant hurdle to adoption is the cost. While Android doesn’t usually require providers to pay periodically to ensure their use of the OS, because of the cloud-based architecture of Puffin OS, CloudMosa intends to charge a monthly fee for maintenance of the cloud. Practically, it makes sense, but phone providers in developing countries may be unwilling to pay the extended cost. However, passing it on to customers might result in low adoption because of continued costs and incompatibility with local pricing models.