An Introduction to Modern Mobile Operating Systems

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An Introduction To Modern Mobile Operating Systems
by Haroon Q Raja on May 14, 2011
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Over the past decade, smartphones have taken the world by storm and recently, tablets have entered into the arena as well. These mobile devices are having a significant impact on our lives and are in fact redefining the way we access information and communicate with others. This is due to not only the hardware but the specialized software that these devices run and most importantly, their operating systems. In what follows, we will take an informative tour of modern mobile operating systems, their different types and usage across smartphone and tablet platforms. Just like a PC can run different operating systems (like Windows, Linux, BSD etc.) or different versions of the same operating system (like Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7 etc.), most smartphones can also run different versions of the operating system they were made for and in exceptional cases, they might even be able to run operating systems they weren’t made for. In general however, an Android phone will only run a version of Android while an iPhone will only run an iOS version. To give you an idea of what we will be covering in this guide, here is the table of contents: * Manufacturer-built proprietary operating systems

* Apple iOS
* RIM BlackBerry OS
1. HP WebOS
1. Third party proprietary operating systems
2. Microsoft Windows Phone 7
3. Microsoft Windows Mobile
2. Free & open source operating systems
4. Android
5. MeeGo
6. Symbian
3. Which smartphone OS is the best
Manufacturer-built Proprietary Operating Systems
Some device manufacturers use their own proprietary operating system for their phones and tablets. A good example is Apple, with iOS being the operating system developed by them for their iPod Touch, iPhone and iPad devices. Other examples include RIM who use their proprietary BlackBerry OS for all BlackBerry phones and tablets, and HP, using their proprietary Palm Web OS for their Palm series of smartphones and tablets. A characteristic of such operating systems is that they have a very consistent look and feel across all devices that they run on, the way Mac OS X appears and behaves the same way on a Macbook Pro as it does on an iMac or a Macbook Air. Let’s now take a look at some popular operating systems in this category. - Apple iOS

iOS is the operating system used by Apple in all variants of iPod Touch, iPhone and iPad. While smartphones have been around since the 90’s, it was Apple that successfully managed convincing masses to switch to them with the release of the first iPhone in 2007 running the first version of iOS. At the time of its release, iOS wasn’t even capable of performing what most other smartphones operating systems had been doing for almost a decade – things such as true multitasking, data connection tethering, task switching, Bluetooth pairing, PC-like application installation using installer files, and dozens others – yet the first iPhone was received with immense enthusiasm by the masses, perhaps for not knowing any better. The key to this success lay in an interface we would call ‘idiot-friendly’ that was targeted primarily at the least smart users to enable them to use a smartphone that was only a pseudo-smartphone back then. Other factors contributing to the success of iOS included smooth graphics, consistent user interface elements across apps, built-in iPod application, iTunes integration, an App Store for buying and installing apps and perhaps most importantly, a multi-touch finger-friendly capacitive touch screen that eliminated the use of a stylus while offering finger based gestures such as pinch-to-zoom, twist-to-rotate etc. These, coupled with the similarity with the hugely popular iPod Touch, resulted in the iPhone...
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