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A guide to mobile phone operating systems

Mobile smartphones are essentially small handheld computers; just as PCs and laptop computers need operating systems, a smartphone needs an operating system (OS) to run apps, control the interface, browse the Internet and drive multimedia features etc.

operating system

There are two kinds of mobile operating systems: open-source (the great advantage being that there are no restrictions on what can be downloaded or who develops for it) and closed-source (restricting what can be run on the phone but offering specifically developed features such as with Apple iOS).

Leading mobile OS providers

For your business mobile phone you want a reliable, user-friendly system with a clear interface and the right range of features. Currently, the best known systems for you to choose from are:

  • iOS: runs the entire Apple range (iPhones, iPads and iPods), offering thousands of apps designed for Apple devices, as well as Safari Web browser and touch screen technology.
  • Android: Google’s OS, Android is the fastest growing on the market today thanks to its relaxed licensing and open-source design. It provides good multitasking capacity, customisable homescreens and fast access through menus.
  • Microsoft Windows Phone: this user-friendly, tile-based system has a mobile optimised version of Internet Explorer, push support for business email, customisable design and the ability to group photos and documents in easily accessible locations called hubs.
  • Bada: this Samsung OS is closed-source. Its popularity is rapidly growing thanks to excellent efficiency, multitasking, Web browsing, content management and focus on personalisation.
  • BlackBerry OS: has excellent functionality with quick access to messaging, support for multiple email accounts and an intelligent keyboard.
  • Symbian: Nokia’s OS is a reliable system used on cheaper handsets, making Nokia smartphones affordable as well as easy to use. Higher-end Nokia handsets use Windows OS.
  • WebOS: considered by many to be the best mobile operating system on the market in terms of functionality. Developed by Linux and used by HP, it delivers multitasking and creative app development across smartphones, tablets, PCs and even printers.
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