When its time to buy a new mobile device(smartphone or tablet PC), there are 2 things that you need to consider before making the selection. One is the device details such as the aesthetic look of the product, its performance details, hardware features included such as the type of ports present, type of camera and brand name. The second important detail to consider is the type of mobile operating system used by the device.
List of Major Mobile Operating System
Android OS is a Linux based operating system developed for use in mobile devices such as smartphone and tablet PCs. After Google bought the original developers of Android OS, Android Inc in 2005, they currently own Android OS and release it as open source under Apache license. One of the major advantages of Android is the huge developer communities who regularly updates and create apps using a customized version of Java.
Android OS is updated regularly, each time fixing bugs and adding new features. The latest version is 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich is released on Oct 19th, 2011. As on Feb 2012, 850,000 Android devices are activated every day and 450,000 apps are available for Android devices.
4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich
Advantages of Android OS:
- Open Source Platform supported by a wide range of mobile device manufacturer
- Easy access to a lot of free and premium apps that support Android OS
- Multitasking – Android OS is capable of running many applications at the same time
- Easy notification of any SMS, email or RSS reader alert
- The widgetized home screen allows easy access to settings quickly and easily
- The continuous development in looks and features might soon leave other mobile OS far behind in the long run.
- Great for programmers who would like to mess with Linux Kernal for making changes in OS.
Disadvantages of Android OS:
- Very unstable and prone to crashes compared to other Mobile OS
- Being open source, a large number of apps are created by developers. Some of these apps might have bugs which can be exploited by hackers or viral infections.
- To log on as administrator for making advanced changes, you need to know Linux commands.
- Continuous updates on the OS might want you to upgrade to the latest which is called rooting. Rooting needs to be done carefully or else you might end up with a piece of brick in hand.
- Most of the Apps require an internet connection for functioning which sometimes is a disadvantage. For eg, an app for dictionary should have an inbuilt dictionary which allows it to function even when there is no internet connection
- Poor battery backup
iOS is Apple’s mobile operating system. It was developed for iPhone, but later extended support for iPad and Apple TV. iOS root comes from Mac OS X, hence it is UNIX based OS. Like other OS, iOS is frequently updated starting from iOS version 4.0 and the latest is iOS version 5.1. As of March 2012, 550,000 iOS apps are available in Apple store.
Advantages of iOS:
- Very stable and secure OS for mobile phones
- Maybe the most loved interface for any mobile OS in the market. Beautifully designed desktop and app icons which go hand to hand with the stunning looks of Apple devices.
- Fewer bugs and secure OS because of high standardization followed when developing apps or updates
- High support for latest web standards
- Good support for cloud storage.
- Easy access to free and premium apps from Apple store
Disadvantages of iOS:
- iOS only support Apple Hardware
- Very costly
Windows Mobile is the mobile Operating System developed by Microsoft for mobile devices. This comes with a metro interface and integrates operating system and 3rd part services to work with the device where it is installed. This is definitely a mobile OS to look out for the future. Windows phone like other OS also keeps updating regularly and is now running on windows phone version 7.10.
Microsoft has partnered with some big names such as Nokia, HTC, Samsung, LG etc for using Microsoft Phone. Windows phone now supports 25 languages and it allows selling and buying the application in 35 countries. Already windows phone 7 has received numerous recognitions from the technical community for the user-friendly interface, easiness to use and touchscreen response precision.
BlackBerry OS is a proprietary mobile OS, for its BlackBerry line of mobile devices and developed by Research In Motion (popularly known as RIM).
Blackberry was once the undeniable ruler when it comes to mobile OS. But because of stiff competition from Android and iOS, they lost a considerable share of the mobile market. Blackberry OS also have different versions. A lot of apps developed in the market are compatible with Blackberry OS. Blackberry manufacturers are currently working on some major changes which hopefully increase their popularity and get back their share of mobile devices market.
Advantage of Blackberry OS
- Great business phone infrastructure
- Free BBM messaging service
Disadvantage of Blackberry OS
- Fewer apps present in the market for Blackberry OS
webOS is a Linux based mobile Operating System used by HP(Hewlett Packard) on their mobile device. The OS was once owned by Palm and later bought by HP. webOS is considered one of the best platforms in the mobile OS category. Unfortunately, they are overrun in this market by other big players.
Symbian is a Linux based mobile OS currently used only Nokia on their smartphones. It has been used by many major handset manufacturers including BenQ, Fujitsu, LG, Mitsubishi, Motorola, Nokia, Samsung, Sharp, and Sony Ericsson. Current Symbian-based devices are being made by Fujitsu, Nokia, Samsung, Sharp, and Sony Ericsson.
Nokia recently decided to concentrate more on Windows Phone OS rather than Symbian OS in their future editions. Even though Symbian lost a huge portion of the market, they are still a power to reckon with. Hopefully, they might come back with major changes and upgrades for a better platform to attract more users.
There are other mobile Operating System in the market now including Samsung Bada, Meego and a soon to be released Baidu Yi from Baidu, the largest search engine in China. Their share in the mobile OS market is negligible to some extent, but surely a force to reckon with in the future.
Let’s end this topic with the market share for each of these Mobile Operating System. These are stats from Feb 2012 and will be updated regularly.
Android OS – 58.8
Apple iOS – 32.2
Windows Phone – 0.5
Blackberry OS – 6.7
Symbian OS – 1.4