Mobile Operating System 101


With each day, smartphones are becoming more and more like mini computers. Before, all mobile phones could do was make calls and send/receive texts. Now, you can look for directions, check emails, shop, play video games and take part in video conferences using your mobile phone.

Most people know what a mobile operating system does, but they don’t know it’s exact definition. Basically, it’s the software that runs all operations and processes inside your mobile device. Think of it as the brain of your mobile phone. Your mobile phone has applications installed plus resources to make it run. It’s the operating system’s job to manage the resources so that your apps run when you need them to.

Mobile operating systems are important for developers because they use it as a platform to develop applications for mobile phones. Because of mobile operating systems, it is now easier to create and build apps for mobile phones, which is why there are now apps for virtually anything.

Your Phone’s Mobile Operating System

Believe it or not, a lot of seasoned users put mobile operating systems as a top driving factor when it comes to purchasing handsets. Not only does your phone’s functionality depend on your mobile operating system, but it also gives you customisation options with regards to style and look.

When purchasing a handset, you can see the operating system on the box itself, and again on the user manual. Operating systems for mobile phones, like those on computers, can be upgraded. It is generally recommended to have auto-updates on your mobile phone so you can receive fixes and updates for your operating system. It is the best way to stay secured from vulnerabilities and loopholes that could lead to identity theft and viruses.

Common Mobile Operating Systems

There are a lot of mobile operating systems in the market. Below are the top three players of the industry:

  • iOS – Mobile operating system developed by Apple. You’ll find this operating system on all Apple devices like the iPad, iPod and iPhone. Apple, as a company, has strict policies regarding their operating systems. Apple devices will run only using its own iOS, and all apps found in the Apple store are programs developed by either Apple or credited developers.

  • Windows Phone – Windows’ first foray into the mobile operating system industry was a failure, after its original Windows phone failed to compete with Android and Apple. Now, Windows Phone operating system is one of the top operating systems for mobile phones. User experience is the key with Windows Phone, and all features are organised for easy navigation and searching.

  • Android – Google-owned Android is powered through the Linux Kernel. Android is extremely popular, especially with the younger generation, because of its open source policy. This means that developers are free to use the operating system to develop apps, which is also made available to all Android users. Android users enjoy from a plethora of free apps because of this system.