With a slew of smartphones being released every week, people are left confused with choice as to which is the right one for them. Though smartphones are manufactured by various manufacturers from all parts of the world, their user groups are divided by the OS they run on. So the choice of the user usually trickles down to the choice of their favoured OS.
The main contenders in the OS arena are iOS, Android, and Blackberry OS. Even though Windows and Symbian have been around for some time, they haven’t been doing that well in the smartphone world. Microsoft has been trying to play catch up with their Windows Phone 7.5 better known as Mango, but not with much luck though.
Even though most of the features and function are similar in most of these OS’s, there are some key features and functions that differentiate them from each other. Here are some of the highlights.
iOS has been around since the launch of the first iPhone back in 2007. Unlike its main competitor Android, iOS is strictly restricted to devices from the Apple stable. This has caused apple to be bumped off to the second place as far as market volume by OS installed on devices is concerned. Apple recently launched its latest iteration of the iOS, the iOS 6, with more than 200 new features from its previous version.
iOS has always been a better at most things compared to its peers. The iOS UI is a lot more user friendly and smoother in feel and operation. And apple updates its iOS across most of its current line of iPhones and even the older iPhones get a release, with a few features missing due to hardware limitations. But the highlight of the Apple camp has been their App Store — it is way ahead as far as quality and quantity of apps are concerned.
In spite of this the Apple camp has been facing the ire of app developers for the penchant to reject apps from the App Store without giving a valid reason. Another drawback is its heavy dependence on iTunes, even though some functions can be accessed through third party plugins and applications. But in all it looks like iOS is leading the pack.
The current leader by volume, Android has been keeping up pace with iOS. Android is an Open Source OS launched by Google in 2007. Unlike iOS, Android is used by most members of the Open Handset Alliance group. The latest version of the Android OS called Jelly Bean (Android 4.1.2) comes with huge UI improvements over its predecessors among other features. Android OS had been known to lag since its launch and Google had initiated Project Butter along with Jelly Bean in order to improve this problem, and so far the results seem good. Android has been know to be the better OS at multitasking.
Android from the beginning has been clouded by battery performance issues. Another problem Android faces is the non availability of updates across its hardware vendors and compatibility with older phones. There were also concerns about the ability of Google Play to keep up with the iTunes App Store, but Android has been doing a good job at this and soon will be catching up with Apple. Looks like Android is here to stay unlike some of its older peers.
Blackberry OS was developed by Research In Motion (RIM) for its line of BlackBerry smartphones. Blackberry has been the favored OS of the corporate world since it debuted way back in 1999. Blackberry OS is famous for its Push Email technology and Data Management. But the glory days of Blackberry are long gone and it is struggling to play catch up with Android and iOS. Even though they are still liked by the corporate world, regular users don’t find it much attractive. There hasn’t been any serious improvement as far as the OS is concerned other than tweaks to existing features. And introduction of touch and higher resolution support hasn’t done much to improve its lackluster multimedia performance. The BlackBerry App Store is also way behind its peers as far as quality and quantity are concerned. Looks like old age is catching up with BlackBerry. Unless the currently in development BlackBerry 10 OS can be a game changer when it launches in 2013, BlackBerry’s glory days are long gone.
There isn’t much to say about Mango & Symbian. They will remain trailing behind, trying to catch up in the race. Microsoft might be have a better chance with the launch of Windows Phone 8, but with its unavailability for Windows Phone 7 devices we will have to wait and see how it will perform in the race. For now iOS and Android remain the top contenders.