Which is the ultimate mobile operating system?
WRITTEN BY GABRIELLA BLAKE
A phone’s operating system shapes the user experience, affecting what one can do on their handheld device and how they can do it. For this reason, the likes of Google, Apple and Research In Motion (RIM) go to great lengths to research what consumers want out of their phone and then to proclaim that their operating system is the best. However, there can only be one winner as African Business Review creates the battle field for these three key players to fight for the title of ‘the ultimate mobile operating system’…
Apple is famous for its slick and simple interface and the presentation on iOS certainly matches this description. Multi-touch gestures allow swift and smooth navigation around the system. Everything about the iOS interface has been well-thought-out, designed for optimum ease of use as you glide between its exceptionally polished applications.
The interface on the BlackBerry OS, while relatively straightforward to use, fails to impress users in quite the same way. However, a big plus of BlackBerry OS is that it is now available on both BlackBerry touch screen phones as well as the company’s much-loved QWERTY keyboard-equipped devices. No such option is available for iOS, since Apple’s operating system is only licensed for use on the iPhone, for which touch screen typing is the only option.
Best interface: iOS
Flexibility and choice
If you want to use iOS on a mobile, you’re getting an iPhone – because this is the only device that will run iOS. The BlackBerry story is similar: RIM runs BlackBerry OS only on its own eponymous line of phones.
Once you have your new iPhone, there’s little room for customizing the device. Apple is proud of the very distinct look and feel of its products to the extent that it limits the freedom of its consumers. However, the benefit of this is that any app designed for an Apple device will work just as it should in its home environment.
While the only choices when purchasing a phone running iOS or BlackBerry OS are likely to be connectivity and storage, the options for Android are far greater ranging. Because it is open-source, it is available on a variety of handsets by a number of manufacturers: great news for the consumer, who has a huge range of phones to choose from. These phones permit a lot more space for customization, too.
Best for flexibility and choice: Android
RIM proudly announced in July that downloads from their App World had hit one billion. While this is a great achievement for the company, these figures pale in comparison to those of Apple and Google, who have surpassed 1.5 billion and 4.5 billion downloads, respectively. The problem is that there are few innovative apps available for the Blackberry OS. You can find your standard organizational tools, but there’s nothing on there that will make you wonder how you managed without it in your life like Apple’s iTunes or the very useful Google Maps app.
The population of the Android Market Place is vast, but Apple wins this round: there are now over 350,000 apps available for iOS users.
Best for apps: iOS
Last year Android took over Apple’s iOS as the most widely used mobile operating system. Now, it is estimated that Android phones have around 48 percent of the market share. Of course, it is important to bear in mind that while Apple and BlackBerry’s operating systems only function on their own phones, Android is used on a variety of devices. However, as this is a question of operating systems rather than a comparison of phones – let’s face it: the iPhone is an invincible force, at least for the time being – Android is clearly popular with consumers.
Best for market share: Android
Bоth Apple аnd Google hаvе gone wіth fingerprint-sensing technology tо help secure thеіr latest mobile operating systems. Apple wеnt fіrѕt, introducing Touch ID authentication wіth iOS 7, whіlе Google baked іt іntо Android 6.0 Marshmallow.
In bоth cases, compatible smartphones wіll let уоu gаіn access wіth a light touch оf уоur finger оn a sensor rаthеr thаn inputting a password оr pattern. Bоth systems work extremely wеll іn оur experience.
On Windows 10 Mobile, Microsoft hаѕ gone a slightly different route. Whіlе іt supports fingerprint sensing technology, thе fіrѕt Windows 10 Mobile phones instead feature Windows Hello. Thіѕ employs iris-scanning technology tо secure уоur phone, providing a mоrе unique аnd thuѕ mоrе secure biometric security measure.
Hоwеvеr, аt thіѕ point іn іtѕ development, Windows Hello ѕееmѕ tо bе a lot lеѕѕ practical thаn Touch ID аnd Google’s fingerprint ѕуѕtеm. Yоu hаvе tо hold thе phone fairly close tо уоur face fоr іt tо work, аnd it’s a little awkward tо uѕе іn public spaces оr whеn walking аlоng.
Best for security: Windows 10 Mobile
And the winner is… Android
While it is a close call, ultimately more and more users are opting for Android and this says a lot about the quality and flexibility of this operating system.
Of course, all three have their benefits and pitfalls, and which one is ‘best’ really depends on individual needs. If high security is a priority for you, Windows 10 Mobile is your best bet. If you feel nothing compares to the look and feel of Apple products, iOS will inevitably be your mobile operating system of choice.