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A comparison of mobile operating systems

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When choosing a smartphone, the operating system (OS) is one of the most important parameters. To help you decide which one to choose, this article offers an overview of the available operating systems and their strengths and weaknesses.

When choosing a smartphone, the operating system (OS) is one of the most important parameters. To help you decide which one to choose, this article offers an overview of the available operating systems, their strengths and weaknesses. 

Android logo Android

Android OS, developed by Google, is the most widely used operating system for mobile devices. It is available on a wide range of smartphones, from budget handsets to flagship models.

Basic characteristics

Android OS is an open-source operating system and has virtually unlimited customisation options - some adjustments can be made using the default settings, while the majority of modifications are downloadable from the Google Play app store.

You can easily modify the graphical interface as well as the phone's controls. The system's openness, however, also means it is more susceptible to attack by malicious software. As a result, it is recommended to use antivirus software and to be cautious when browsing the Web or installing applications from unknown sources.

Applications menu

There's no need to worry about a lack of digital content on Android. Google Play currently offers approximately 2.2 million applications and games, many of which are available for free.

Integrated Google services

Android phones come with pre-installed Google applications, such as Gmail, Google Drive, Chrome, Google Maps, Google+, and many others.

Screenshots

Grafické rozhraní OS Android

  • Premium options, highly customisable
  • A wide range of available models
  • Broad compatibility with a wide range of accessories
     
  • Integration with Google services
  • Cheaper phones don't always run smoothly
  • Many pre-installed applications cannot be uninstalled
  • Frequent inability to upgrade to a newer version of the OS

iOS logo iOS

Inextricably linked with the iPhone, Apple's iOS operating system is characterised by attention to detail and an emphasis on simplicity. iOS is based on a proven design that dates back to the first iPhone.

Basic characteristics

iOS is a closed-source operating system. This minimises the risk of attack from malicious software, making it safer than competing open-source options. On the other hand, it also means you cannot make major changes to the appearance or functionality of the system. It should be noted, however, that the existing settings are more than satisfactory for most users. If you are looking for a platform that allows you to modify the system and make significant changes to the interface, select Android OS.

Applications menu

The Apple AppStore currently has around two million applications and games ready for download - a similar amount to that available on Android's Google Play. 

Integrated Apple services

iOS offers close integration with a range of Apple services, such as iMessage, FaceTime, iCloud, iTunes, etc.

Screenshots

Grafické rozhraní iOS

  • Perfectly tuned and smooth-running OS
  • Simple and intuitive operation
  • Always up to date thanks to regular system upgrades
  • Integration with Apple services
  • Available only on Apple iPhones
  • More expensive equipment and accessories
  • A closed-source system, which some may find limiting

Windows Phone logo Windows Phone

The Windows Phone OS is an adapted version of the well-known Windows OS for PCs. Microsoft's vision is to unify the look and feel of Windows operating systems across all platforms. 

Basic characteristics

While Android and iOS offer visually similar layouts, Microsoft went a different route, copying the well-known tiled design from the regular Windows operating systems. As a result, those who are accustomed to Android or iOS will take a few days to get used to Windows Phone. Nevertheless, Windows Phone is a simple and intuative operating system that is ideal for first-time buyers and elderly users.

Like iOS, Windows Phone is a closed-source operating system, meaning it offers limited scope for customisation but compensates for this with a lower risk of attack from malware.

Applications menu

The Windows Phone Store (formerly Windows Phone Marketplace) has over 600,000 avialable applications. While this may seem a lot, it is considerably less than on competing Android and iOS platforms. 

Integrated Microsoft services

Windows Phone gives you access to well-known Microsoft applications on your smartphone, such as the Microsoft Office suite, Onedrive and Skype.

Screenshots

Grafické rozhraní Windows Phone

  • Clear layout
  • Integration with well-known Windows programs
  • Runs smoothly even on low-end phones
  • Suitable for first-time buyers and elderly users
  • Limited range of applications in the Windows Phone Store
  • Limited choice between phones
  • Android and iOS users may find it hard to adapt to its layout

Blackberry 10 logo BlackBerry 10

BlackBerry OS closes the quartet of the most widely used mobile operating systems, although its market share is currently only about 1%.

Basic characteristics

BlackBerry is well known for providing secure communications solutions to numerous corporate customers worldwide via the BlackBerry Enterprise Server (BES). For pesonal use, the BlackBerry Internet Service (BIS) is slowly making way for the new BlackBerry 10 operating system.

Like Android and iOS, BlackBerry 10 is a closed-source operating system. The phone menus and graphical interface do not differ significantly from Android and iOS operating systems. BlackBerry 10 also uses a number of gestures that help you interact with the device simply and efficiently. To access the Internet and synchronise e-mails, you no longer need to use the Blackberry Internet Service, as data tariffs from other operators are sufficient.

Applications menu

BlackBerry OS also has its own application store – BlackBerry World – with over 200 thousand applications available. In addition, you can officially use the Amazon AppStore, which has approximately 600,000 applications. It is also possible to install and run applications designed for OS Android (APK) on BlackBerry 10.

Integrated services

Blackberry Hub acts acts as a unified inbox, bringing together messages from all accounts, be it SMS, e-mails or private messages on Facebook or Twitter. Blackberry Messenger (BBM) enables you to make video calls or send unlimited long messages among users with Android OS, iOS or Windows Phone. The only condition is that the recipient also has BBM installed.

Screenshots

Grafické rozhraní Blackberry 10

  • Focus on business and personal communications
  • Support for a full keyboard
  • Highly secure platform for business use
  • Gesture control simplifies operation
  • Less popular than other mobile platforms
  • Occasional problems with the use of Android apps (APK)
  • Limited range of available phones
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