Remember when life was so simple and mobile phones were just used to call and text people? Well, those days are gone. Nowadays, mobile phones can take the place of so many appliances and gadgets. They serve as your organizer, web browser, calculator, music player, video recorder, video game platform and a lot more.
However, if you’re still old school and you simply want a phone for calls and text, you might feel more than a bit confused when the salesperson starts talking about mobile phone operating systems. Operating what? Well, think of mobile phones as mini computers, because technically, that’s what they are now. In the same way that desktop computers and laptops have operating systems, the functions of a mobile phone have become so diverse that they now require an operating system to hold everything together.
An operating system is the managing software that oversees all applications and functions that run on your mobile phone. Even back then, our mobile phones already possessed an operating system, but nobody paid attention to it because phone functions were limited to calls, texts, phone book entries and jotting down important reminders. As more applications are being made for mobile phones, the harder it is to manage the resources, from allocating sufficient memory to store the apps, to having the necessary hardware required to deploy them.
Each operating system works in a similar fashion, but there are minor differences depending on which system your phone has. Some people are very particular about what operating system their phone has, and it greatly influences their decision when it comes to buying phones. Some operating systems are open sourced, meaning you can downloading anything you want on it, while other operating systems will have a set list of software that you can download on the phone.
There are three main players when it comes to mobile phone operating systems: Apple, Google and Microsoft.
- Android – This is the mobile operating system designed by Google. Powered using the Linux kernel, the Android uses an open source operating model. Because of this, app developers can freely use the source code to develop new applications without being subjected to limitations. This freedom has made Android the top player among mobile operating systems.
- Windows Phone – This operating system was developed by Microsoft around 2010 in a move to keep up with its competition, Android and iOS. Known for creating software that caters to desktop computers, Microsoft realised that its products were lagging behind because more and more users are going mobile. Eventually, Windows Phone replaced Microsoft’s old mobile platform model, with emphasis on easy navigation and interactivity.
- iOS – Apple’s multi-tasking operating system, the iOS, is used to run all Apple products. It doesn’t matter if you’re using an iPad, iTouch or iPhone – it’s all run by the iOS. Since Apple also produces a lot of software, the company doesn’t allow the download and usage of third-party programs on their devices. This means that if you’re using an Apple device, you can only use software that’s been approved or designed by the company.
While this may sound like a bunch of technical nonsense, knowing the basics when it comes to operating systems can make a difference. Remember, find an operating system that complements your lifestyle. For example, if you love to download apps regardless of their manufacturer, better stick with a mobile OS that allows third-party software downloads.