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Exploring elastOS|10 MIN. READ

Exploring elastOS: What’s Ahead

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As both the flagship product and home of the Elastos ecosystem, elastOS is fast becoming Elastos’ foremost means to on-board new users and developers alike. In this article, we distill the challenges presently faced by elastOS and its role as a standalone hub for the Elastos ecosystem. We also highlight the effective strategies the Elastos Foundation’s decentralized network of developer teams – in particular – Trinity Tech Ltd. – are employing to work with external organizations – not against them. Meaningful adoption inevitably involves getting elastOS into as many hands – and therefore, onto as many devices – as possible, as it continues to adopt original dApps, augment new features, more fully connect to Elastos’ Platform Services, and grow into its role as the heart of the Elastos ecosystem.

The Challenges Confronting elastOS

In its current form, elastOS resembles a native application: it contains an array of square launcher icons arranged in the same grid that has become the standard home screen display of the world’s prominent mobile OSs: Android and iOS. Here’s where challenges arise:

  • Independent of the intentions of Elastos’ developer teams, comparable visual presentations pose elastOS as a potential competitor to the industry-leaders that have pioneered the mobile OS: Google and Apple. 
  • In addition, elastOS contains a built-in dApp Store, which may be interpreted as a source of further competition by native platforms, whose policies and business motivations naturally preclude competitors from publishing in their App Stores.
  • Plain and simple, no business would like to see others using their platform to secure new clients.
  • Thus: elastOS finds itself in a challenging predicament, where strategic self-presentation and relationship management are fast becoming priorities on par with the likes of integral development objectives.

 

Where We Are

  • At present, elastOS has successfully launched its Android version on the Google Play Store, which is a major milestone for the project. 
  • Trinity Tech Ltd. is undergoing the process to publish an iOS version on Apple’s App Store. The major challenge presented by Apple is that its vetting process for new applications is notoriously intensive relative to that of Google, and elastOS may be unpalatable to Apple for the reasons previously mentioned. 
  • Although Google has initially given elastOS the proverbial green light, its perspective on elastOS may evolve in the future as elastOS accrues a robust and rapidly growing user base and developers begin to populate its dApp Store.
  • With this foresight, the Elastos Foundation has adopted the prerogative of adjusting elastOS’ presentation and certain peripheral elements of its interface so as to ensure its long-term standing with the prominent App Stores where it must be published.

 

What We’re Doing

  • First and foremost, the Elastos Foundation’s teams will focus on minimizing the number of built-in dApps in elastOS. 
    • This is an effective alteration that will allow us to present elastOS as being neutral, rather than pushing a suite of dApps on top of pre-existing platforms. 
  • In addition, any references to a dApp Store will be removed, so as to avoid implying direct competition with preexisting App Stores. 
    • Further references to “dApp Installation” and “dApp Uninstallation” will also be removed for this purpose.
  • From here, elastOS will transition from the standard dApp-grid that characterizes native OSs to a browser-based format where users can access web pages. 
    • In reality, the difference between web pages and dApps, which are both essentially composed of loaded html and JS files, is that dApps are permanently hosted on a device and leverage enhanced capabilities from plugins.
    • Uninstalled dApps will be accessed through external links such as: elastos://app?id=org.my.app. 
    • If not previously installed, links will prompt direct downloads from the dApp store automatically. If previously installed, links will prompt the dApps to be opened and run.
    • For the end user, the process will be similar to opening a website, where he or she will see a loading bar while the link is loading.
  • At present, dApps have a few more capabilities through plugins – namely, using pure Elastos features like DID, Hive, and Carrier. In the future, elastOS’s plugin permission system will be strengthened to ensure that users are clearly aware of the roles and actions each dApp performs. 
    • With these changes, users will be making real choices, rather than the standard “click on accept all” that is common in present-day, native Apps.
    • By conferring greater rights to users, this mechanism will support elastOS’ campaign to earn and maintain a place in native App Stores.
  • Of course, populating the elastOS user base is not only a matter of availability – it is also about delivering an experience users will enjoy and return to time and time again. In our second release, we are bringing the most seamless user experience yet:
    • Fewer clicks, more closely integrated core services, and a truly intuitive layout.
    • Starting from a desktop screen, a dropdown menu gives users access to core services and dApps alike – all just 2 clicks away.
    • Notifications show what’s going on in each application at a glance, so users can keep their desktops neat and clean.
    • To smooth the user experience even further, we’re bringing out a fresh set of widgets to give users a heads up on all the goings-on immediately upon opening elastOS. This feature will not be available in the next upgrade, but is planned for a little farther out. 

 

The Next Fork in the Road

Of course, while the conversion from a standard dApp-grid to a neutral browser will play a major role in addressing App Store publication criteria, it will present a new challenge to the Elastos ecosystem concerning adoption:

  • With elastOS in browser format, new users may not find a great breadth of dApps inside elastOS upon first launch.
  • Such a transformation will require elastOS to develop innovative ways for users to find and become acquainted with elastOS’ core features.
  • As user experience is a top priority for Trinity Tech, the team will draw on social sharing to stimulate the proliferation of elastOS’ dApps.
    • Users will be able to find dApps through external links received through native chat Apps, social networks, blogs, and other social outlets. 
  • However, as the Elastos ecosystem begins to deliver high-impact dApps that solve real world problems – killers dApps, so to speak – dApp-marketing will not present a problem because dApps will be shared.
  • In the interim, elastOS also has plans to facilitate the dApp-discovery process with innovative features such as “Discover,” which allows users to identify and access dApps used by friends in their DID profiles, 
    • Plans also include ways to easily share dApps inside elastOS chat dApps and notifications.
  • iOS is scheduled to release in the near future along with a new Android version. Both versions will release simultaneously and both will include an upgraded design of the elastOS app.

While they present unique obstacles in the near term, the aforementioned challenges are prompting changes which align with elastOS’s long-term objectives: to become more neutral, provide less dApps in exchange for more runtime features, and to simply serve as a facilitator for developers and teams that want to build great dApps in the Elastos ecosystem. By addressing our relationships with Apple and Google sooner rather than later, and by aligning our visions with their policies, we direct both elastOS and the Elastos ecosystem as a whole onto a path that is both revolutionary and viable. Only with an approach that balances our core principles with pragmatism can our vision for a Modern Internet come to fruition as we continue to build one of the most exciting platforms in blockchain.

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