Mobile Operating Systems
What is a mobile phone operating system?
Long gone are the days when mobile phones were just a device to make phone calls and occasional texts. Now they are handheld computers, where we can send emails, play games, watch the news and make video calls to loved ones. More commonly, these are known as 'smartphones'.
We have operating systems to run our desktop computers and laptops, and smartphones use them too, to introduce advanced functions to a mobile phone that were only available on our computers before.
Functionality is a big selling point for the smartphone - there were more than 500 million smartphone worldwide and it's their operating systems that define what functions they can carry out and how the phone manages its memory.
It is also a platform so developers can create applications or 'apps' (software programs developed for smartphones that can carry out specific functions).
There are hundreds of thousands of apps available and they are constantly being developed - each with their own purpose. For instance, you may download a weather app that tells you the current temperature or chances of rain in your city, a news app or widget that sends the latest headlines straight to your device's homescreen, or a game to simply pass the time.
What different kinds of smartphone operating systems are there?
Some are open source software, which means there are no restrictions on what you can download on it, or who can develop its software (there are often a 'community' of developers) - it is entirely customisable, whilst others are restricted in the types of software permitted to run on the device.
Some of the best-known mobile operating systems include:
The Apple iOS is not allowed to be used in third party systems, so you will only be able to use it on products made by Apple. It comes with the Safari web browser for internet use, an iPod application for playing music and Apple's Mail for...