A mobile operating system, also called a mobile OS, is an operating system that is specifically designed to run on mobile devices such as mobile phones, smartphones, PDAs, tablet computers and other handheld devices.
Much like the Linux or Windows operating system controls your desktop or laptop computer, a mobile operating system is the software platform on top of which other programs can run on mobile devices. The operating system is responsible for determining the functions and features available on your devices, such as thumbwheel, keyboards, WAP, synchronization with applications, email, text messaging and more. The mobile OS will also determine which third-party applications (mobile apps) can be used on your device.
Types of Mobile Operating Systems
When you purchase a mobile device the manufacturer will have chosen the operating system for that specific device. Often, you will want to learn about the mobile operating system before you purchase a device to ensure compatibility and support for the mobile applications you want to use.
Here are the most popular mobile OS:
It’s no doubt the most popular OS these days. It was initially developed by Android Inc., now in hands of Google. A large number of its flavors are available which are named in a cool alphabetical order starting from – Android Alpha, Beta, Cupcake, Donut, Eclair, Froyo, Gingerbread, Honeycomb, Ice Cream Sandwich, Jellybean, KitKat, Lollipop, Marshmallow, Nougat, Oreo.
It is ranked to be the second most widely used OS, developed and maintained by Apple.
Windows: Windows is surely a leading desktop OS, but it is somehow unable to spread its hands over the mobile market that wide.
Symbian was the most popular OS of its time, long before Android came. It came with the Nokia phones which ruled the world for decades like a boss. No doubt there is still a word of Nokia in the people’s hearts till now even after so many years after its departure that came due to the trust they developed among people. (I still use my Symbian Nokia phone and just works fine even after 8 years of service, I can bet, you won’t this kind of quality with any other brand of this century)
It also went quite popular in the early days. Came bundled with only Blackberry phones leads it to limited reach.
Windows Mobile OS:
Windows Mobile is Microsoft’s mobile operating system used in smartphones and mobile devices – with or without touchscreens. The Mobile OS is based on the Windows CE 5.2 kernel. In 2010 Microsoft announced a new smartphone platform called Windows Phone 7.
These were the most popular ones. Other few names are mentioned below, just for the sake of completeness.
Bada is a proprietary Samsung mobile OS that was first launched in 2010. The Samsung Wave was the first smartphone to use this mobile OS.
A joint open-source mobile operating system that is the result of merging two products based on open source technologies: Maemo (Nokia) and Moblin (Intel). MeeGo is a mobile OS designed to work on several devices including smartphones, netbooks, tablets, in-vehicle information systems and various devices using Intel Atom and ARMv7 architectures.
The Palm OS is a proprietary mobile operating system (PDA operating system) that was originally released in 1996 on the Pilot 1000 handheld. Newer versions of the Palm OS have added support for expansion ports, new processors, external memory cards, improved security and support for ARM processors and smartphones. Palm OS 5 was extended to provide support for a broad range of screen resolutions, wireless connections, and enhanced multimedia capabilities and is called Garnet OS.
WebOS is a mobile operating system that runs on the Linux kernel. WebOS was initially developed by Palm as the successor of its Palm OS mobile operating system. It is a proprietary Mobile OS which was eventually acquired by HP and now referred to as webOS (lower-case w) in HP literature. HP has also announced plans for a version of webOS to run within the Microsoft Windows operating system and to be installed on all HP desktop and notebook computers in 2012.
What Does a Mobile Operating System Do?
When you first start up a mobile device, you typically see a screen of icons or tiles. They are placed there by the operating system. Without an OS, the device wouldn’t even start. The mobile operating system is a set of data and programs that runs on a mobile device. It manages the hardware and makes it possible for smartphones, tablets, and wearables to run apps. A mobile OS also manages mobile multimedia functions, mobile and internet connectivity, the touch screen, Bluetooth connectivity, GPS navigation, cameras, speech recognition, and more in a mobile device. Most operating systems are not interchangeable among devices. If you have an Apple iOS phone, you can’t load the Android OS on it and vice versa.
A mobile operating system (OS) is software that runs on a mobile device. It makes it possible for apps to run on smartphones etc. Some types of OS include Android, Blackberry, Apple iOS, Symbian, Microsoft Windows Mobile OS. All these mobile operating systems provide a foundation to build applications to run on it to perform daily tasks, such as email, phone, games, access information on the internet, and of course take pictures and videos.