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Essay: Mobile operating systems compared to each other and to computer OS

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  • Subject area(s): Information technology essays
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  • Published: June 24, 2021*
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  • Mobile operating systems compared to each other and to computer OS
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BACKGROUND

Advancement in technology has changed the way we communicate. Smartphones and tablets have been a major part of daily life these days. For many years, the generation of a mobile phone is represented by the letter ‘G’. We start with 0G to the latest advancement which is 4G and maybe moving forward to 5G soon. 0G (1946-1980) consist of big size mobile phone devices, mainly were having voice call feature only. The next generation is 1G (1979-1990), which have cell phones that function on AMPS (Advance Mobile Phone System). From the year 1991 to 2003, the next generation that was widely used is 2G. The features included in this generation was voice, SMS and circuit switched data features. Next generation was known as 3G which consist of a major upgrade; broadband data. The extravagant feature brings along a new revolution of a phone, smartphones. We can see that many different type and brand of smartphones and tablets are available on the market today which causes competition that led us to the rapid advancement of the mobile generation. This has brought us to the latest generation, 4G, which has a faster data transfer rate on mobile. At this speed, data transfer is just as fast as it is when using a broadband connection.

INTRODUCTION

A mobile operating system (mobile OS) is a blooming software development that allows mobile devices such as smartphones to run programs and use applications. The underlying structure of mobile OS can be experienced when the device is switched on. Upon starting, there will usually be the brand logo of the device shown on the screen. Once the device is on, a screen will present information and provide access to the applications on the device, simply by clicking on icons on the screen.

Since the mobile OS software is a multi-billion industry, there is quite a number of mobile device operating system such as Google Android, Apple iOS, Nokia’s Symbian, Microsoft’s Windows Phone OS. Company such as Microsoft has also developed Microsoft’s Windows 8. This operating system has a dual function of desktop OS and mobile operating system, which in my opinion, is revolutionary for this industry.

In general, most mobile OS only allows a little flexibility on their tied down, very specific hardware. However, most user who needs to unlock restricted applications can do so by jailbreaking or rooting their devices. This allows access to features that were not allowed in the version that was not jailbroken. So, there are different mobile OS and versions of mobile OS that suits different needs of users.

DISCUSSION

In this section, we will discuss the different mobile operating systems. Popular mobile OS that flourishes in the technology industry includes iOS, Android and Windows Phone. First of all, we will discuss in great extent about iOS. iOS is a mobile OS invented and developed by Apple Inc. for its hardware. The devices that use this software are also developed by Apple Inc. namely iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch and iPod touch. iOS have major updates annually and the current version is iOS 10. About 1.8GB of the memory of the device is taken by the latest version of iOS 10.

The iOS Software Development Kit (SDK) contains the tools and interfaces expected to build, install, run, and test local applications that show up on an iOS gadget\’s Home screen. Local applications are constructed utilizing the iOS framework structures and Objective-C language and run specifically on iOS.

The iOS architecture is layered. At the most elevated level, iOS goes about as an intermediary between the basic equipment and the applications you make. Applications do not converse with the underlying hardware directly. Rather, they speak with the equipment through an arrangement of all around characterized framework interfaces. These interfaces make it simple to compose applications that work reliably on gadgets having distinctive equipment abilities.

The usage of iOS advances can be seen as an arrangement of layers, which appear in Figure 1. Lower layers contain fundamental services and technologies whereas higher level layers expand upon the lower layers and give more refined services and technologies.

Figure 1: Layers of iOS platform

Being a closed-source platform, iOS devices does not share the same feature with other devices. Most common function in the device such as web browser, mail app, video call and text messaging are applications developed by Apple Inc. exclusive for their users. Therefore, switching from an older version of Apple device to a newer one, for example, does not affect user experience in using the common application and therefore making the transition from different devices easier for the user.

With the latest invention of iPhone 7 and 7 Plus, a new feature has been released which is the 3D Touch that changes the way user interact with the device. 3D Touch detects different pressure applied on the screen which allows a more responsive interaction with the user. This feature is useful for quick shortcuts on mobile device, which is similar to right-click on desktop OS.

Other features in most Apple devices are fingerprint lock and Apple Pay, allowing user to unlock their phone and make payment using their fingerprint and device. This is a convenient new way that adds functions to smartphones. Mobile device can now replace wallet after the introduction of Wallet applications on Apple devices. All tickets and passport details can be stored in this application. User experience of a mobile device is improved with the introduction of this feature.

Android is a mobile OS developed by Google, designed for mobile device based on Linux kernel. The latest version of Android is Android 7.1 Nougat. Android is an open-source platform which allows many developers to use it as a platform to build applications. Applications on Android are often written in Java programming language. Android gives user customisation to their own device which makes it great at providing user experience according to what a user need. Android got its greatest plan overhaul in 2014, with the presentation of Lollipop 5.0. This brought a radical new \’Material Design\’ look and grope that wrenched the quantity of liveliness and modified practically every part to give it that additional piece of gleam.

Microsoft developed Windows Phone as a closed-source platform. It started out in the year 2004 under the name “Photon” but the project was later on cancelled. Later in the year 2008, Microsoft started to work on a new mobile OS which was later released on 2009. Windows Phone is primarily delivered by a phone company Nokia in their smartphones range. The main advantage of Windows Phone is the synchronisation of the device with a Windows laptop which is highly compatible making it easier for a user to create a personal workspace. Windows 10 Mobile offers an indistinguishable centre from Windows 10 itself. The fundamental preferred standpoint of this is it\’s ability to make all inclusive applications that work in both the desktop and mobile environment. The organization additionally put some work into making it less demanding to port applications from Android and iOS to Windows 10 Mobile.

Apple iOS and Windows Phone are better compared to Android in term of security mainly because Android is an open-source platform whereas the other two are not. Having a closed-platform means that the mobile OS has very little malware written for it. Therefore, malware writers cannot easily break into the system. Security issues that arise with Android OS are mainly because of the low number of users opting to use the latest version of the mobile OS. However, there are still a very low number of malware reports received on both Apple iOS and Windows Phone.

Statistics from DoHS report shows that 44 percent of Android user are still on ‘Gingerbread’ which is a two-year-old version of Android. On the contrast, four months after iOS 10 is released, 75 percent of the iOS user are reported actively using this version of operating system. Version updates of a software should be a priority in order to provide the most of a software for the user. However, user of a mid-range price of Android device might not be able to update to the latest version of Android due to incompatibility of RAM or device capacity.

Mobile OS are expected to have multi-tasking feature. Whether this being an in-app feature or the feature of the phone itself, much user relies on multi-tasking when it comes to daily use. Android OS has a Quick Switch feature that enables its user to jump back instantly to a previously used app with a double tap of the Recent button. Two apps can also be run simultaneously side by side when the phone is in landscape through the Recent menu. This gives a better interface to Android OS user.

Built-in applications additionally have a major effect to how the operating system functions. Numerous Android OEMs prepare their own particular applications, however, Google\’s suite of centre applications – Gmail, Calendar, Photos, Maps – are all incredible. They are very much coordinated, smooth looking and work without fail. You can likewise get them all, aside from Photos, in case user are running iOS.

Apple’s default applications for iOS are astonishing in configuration terms, however, they\’re a decent decision in case you\’re intensely tied into Apple’s biological system. Notes will synchronize back to your Mac, you can pillar Map headings to your telephone and tap out an iMessage (free messaging application amongst iOS and OS X gadgets) on your desktop. Not at all like on Android, you can\’t set which applications are your default.

The contrast between a mobile operating system (OS) and a desktop OS needs to do with how individual tech organizations have taken off different renditions of the operating systems that supply the principal environments for conventional software applications and in addition new mobile applications.

Mobile and desktop OS have been produced in various routes and for various employments. Desktop OS are more established and more well known to bigger group of users. Through the last 20 or 30 years, the straightforward idea of a computer working framework has been consistently built on and improvised. Through this time, Microsoft Windows and Apple’s Mac OS have risen as the two prevailing working framework outlines. There have additionally been some open-source working frameworks intended for conventional PCs as contrasting options to Microsoft or Apple authorized working frameworks. These incorporate Linux, FreeBSD, OpenBSD and GNU.

A major difference between mobile OS and computer OS is absent of power cable and the necessity of the mobile OS to be portable and fits in hand. This makes the fundamental built of device and the user interface to be very different. For example, no mouse and keyboard are present on mobile OS despite being able to connect to one via Bluetooth, which means an on screen keyboard should be provided. Later on, due to user being used to touch screen devices, some laptop running on Windows OS were build with touch screen features and stylus pen included for few models. Windows OS was also updated to have an on-screen keyboard. This has changed the user interface of a computer, making it functions even without getting input from the actual keyboard of the device.

Windows OS has major update starting from Windows 8. A tile-based home screen is the homepage of Windows laptop which looks similar to the one on Windows Phone. The interface which is familiar on Windows Phone makes it easier for the user of both Windows Phone and Windows laptop to synchronise applications in both of their devices. Windows 10 on a desktop has also introduced Cortana, an artificial intelligence that has the ability to recognise command by voice. A similar feature is seen earlier in Android’s OK Google and iOS’s Siri. This shows that desktop OS has adapted to feature which was first seen in Mobile OS for a better user experience.

Fundamental hardware on mobile OS devices is also much simpler than desktop OS. Software on mobile OS are highly optimized to run on much slower hardware and take up less space compared to desktop OS. The portability of both operating systems is also significantly different. For example, Linux/Windows work on x86 and 64, but Android functions solely on ARM.

CONCLUSION

Since 50 years ago, technology has taken a turn on a number of great inventions. Revolution of mobile device begins from the day it was bulky and used only for making calls. Today, smartphones have thousands of different functions that aids in our daily life to the point that we cannot live without it. In future, innovation of mobile OS should move towards recognising user’s habit on different time of the day and tailored accordingly to it. Mapping data are also expected to be better in the future. With the introduction of Virtual Reality, we are expected to be able to see stunning details from a different part of the world in the comfort of our own home. 3D-Mapping technology is also expected to be improvised with zoom-in feature and real-time pictures. The introduction of another operating system that can be synchronised with mobile OS and desktop OS should also be expected to provide a better user experience on using mobile device. For example, having a house operated by a mobile OS would be one of the greatest inventions of the future that would make life more systematic. Therefore, it is important to get to know the features in the current mobile OS in order to predict what user will need in near future.

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