A wide range of smart phones is available in the market, but picking one of them is really a big deal. Factors like budget, carrier, hardware and operating system also affect the decision. Today, there are three giants in the arena of smartphone; they are namely Apple, Google and Microsoft. Apple offers its smart phone with iOS (latest version iOS 6), Microsoft with Windows Phone (latest version 8) and Google with Android (latest versions 4.1 Jelly Bean). Apart from mobile operating systems, they all have their own app stores to encourage mobile application developers building software for these platforms. The question is—which is the best smartphone OS, and which one has more influence over mobile application development firms? Let us begin a comparison among the titans in the global smart phone domain.
Android vs. iOS vs.Windows Phone
Google introduced Android in 2008, and today it is No. 1 smart phone OS in the world. The reason why it today powers more than 70% smart phones is its openness. Google makes Android available for free to all those mobile manufacturers who want to use it as their core software.
With many options, Android is the flaxiest interface of the available operating systems. It can be set up to meet specific requirements that are suitable to specific hardware and software. It has Google’s search bar at the top for quick web search. The middle button lets user access to the complete list of apps available on a phone. Users can easily place an app icon from this place to home screens. They have more than one home screen which can be decorated with widgets and apps. On the top it has notification bar to show different notifications.
Google recently announced that the Play Store has more than 700,000 apps for Android powered smart phones, phablets, tablets, and tab-cum-laptop PCs (convertible tablets). Users can explore both paid and free apps on the app store. Android application developers can also publish their apps after paying one-time membership fee.
Play store can be accessed with Google account credentials. Google Play can also be explored for other types of contents such as movies, music, TV show books and magazine.
It allows mobile manufacturers to bring an affordable range of smart devices. It is helpful for mobile developers as they can easily run their high-level customized apps on this platform.
Android is free from hardware limitations. Mobile manufacturers can use the OS according to the availability of hardware. With hundreds of Android powered devices, Google’s own Android powered devices are Nexus 4, Nexus 7 and Nexus 10.
Who should have it?
It is recommended to those users who heavily rely on Google-ecosystem’ products/services like Gmail, Google Drive, Google Calendar and Google Maps. Google Maps is one of the most accurate map services.
iOS 6 is Apple’s own mobile OS. It powers iPhones, iPads and iPod touches. With less than 20 percent market share, it is the second top selling smart phone OS. There is a big gap between sales figures of Android powered smart phones and iPhones.
Its interface is quite simple. Apple added new features but the interface has been relatively unchanged since the first iPhone. There are minor additions such as folders and notifications but rest of the interface is still the same. Unlike Android, all installed apps show up on the home screen. The apps can be organized in folders and searched via Spotlight search feature. It does not show updates on the home screen like Android and Windows Phone devices do.
The App Store
All apps that you want on your iOS devices are available on Apple’s official app store. It too has more than 700,000 apps. Apple follows a strict process of approving the apps thus only quality apps are available on the iPhone’s app store. iTunes also offers movies, music, TV shows, podcasts, books and audiobooks.
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The key attraction of an iPhone device is its OS. If you are an iPhone owner, your device will surely get upgrades, whereas it does not happen with Android powered devices that are manufactured by different companies. There are a handful of Android powered devices that timely get upgrades. Siri, the voice assistant is also an attraction of latest models like 4S and 5. Hardware
iOS is a close source operating system. It only runs on Apple’s mobile devices including, iPhone, iPad and iPod touch.
Who should have it?
The device attracts those users who want a straightforward interface. Most of the Mac users also prefer to buy iPhone and other iOS powered devices.
Windows Phone 8
Microsoft has recently launched a new generation of mobile operating system known as Windows Phone. The latest version is 8. The company is launching Windows Phone powered devices with association of other mobile manufacturers; however it only had 2% of market share in the last quarter. For now, Windows Phone has seriously fallen back in the smart phone race.
The interface of Windows Phone 8 is somewhat different than iOS and Android. Instead of icons, the screen show up brightly colored squares and rectangles. They are known as tiles, and they show up all the information a user needs. Swiping it to left lets user find an alphabetical list of apps installed in the device. User can tap and hold an app to pin it on the start screen. The size and placement of tiles can also be changed. User can also display his personalized information on the lock screen.
The Windows Store
When it comes to the number of apps, Windows Phone 8 hardly stands anywhere. But Microsoft is attracting mobile developers to build for its platforms. The underlying framework is shared with Windows 8 in order to simplify the app development for the platform. It comes with some preinstalled apps, but users can easily delete them.
It is easy to understand Windows phones because most people have already used Windows Desktop. It provides information in an easiest manner. Parents can create a separate profile to keep their kids away from various stuffs. Working with office document is also much easier.
For now Microsoft does not manufacture smart phones. A handful of companies, such as Nokia, HTC and Samsung are manufacturing Windows 8 phones. The new OS will also not be upgraded in Windows Phone 7 powered devices.
Who should have it?
Windows Phone 8 can be the best device for users with Windows 8 on a PC. It can also attract those users who want to customize the interface. It can attract those who heavily use Microsoft Office.