As I had promised earlier, I am posting my article which came in my college's IEEE magazine "Interface", giving just an introduction to the various Mobile operating systems which are revolutionising our lives today.
Conversation \ˌkɒnvəˈseɪʃən \ , noun:
is the verbalization of concepts involving abstractions and concrete objects which make up the world we live in.
It is this need for communication of our ideas and exchange of thoughts that necessitated the invention of all the communication technology that has developed in the recent world. Now, as that goal has been reached to a comfortable level, we humans – unsatisfied as we are with all those we have and enjoy – are looking to achieve more with the present technology and also create new tools. To be able to talk to anyone, at any time, without the mediator of the human messenger and without the messenger’s attendant delays, is a thoroughly modern triumph of human engineering.
Today, cell phones have taken over our life completely. Almost all of us have cellphones / mobiles / handhelds whatever you prefer calling them...whether we are at home, work or just about anywhere....we feel that something is amiss without them.There are so many varieties/colors/brands of these all over the world! Some have the basic features, while others come with camera, video, email facility, GPS, text messaging, mini TV with OTA streaming support, weather alerts, chatting etc.... A fashion accessory, a travel companion, your business aide and an entertainer - mobile phones have won the heart of people from all walks of life and have undergone a complete makeover with its different facets and different meanings.
In 1983, Motorola introduced DynaTAC, now considered the first truly mobile telephone, and by the end of that year, the first commercial cellular phone systems were being used in Chicago and in the Baltimore/Washington, D.C. Area of the United States.
A Mobile operating system is the operating system that controls a mobile device including the wireless versions of broadband and local connectivity, mobile multimedia formats, and different input methods. Now lets have a look at the major operating systems designed for “mobiles” , which actually threaten to change the definition of Mobile Communication Systems.
Android from OHA
(Released in 2008)
Android has yet to own even a small part of the phone market because of its recent release date. Android is a software platform and operating system for mobile devices, based on the Linux kernel, developed by Google and later the Open Handset Alliance and allows developers to write managed code in the Java language, controlling the device via Google-developed Java libraries. Applications written in C and other languages can be compiled to ARM native code and run, but this development path isn't officially supported by Google. Thee Open Handset Alliance(OHA) is a business alliance of 47 firms including HTC, Intel, Motorola, Qualcomm, Samsung, LG and Nvidia to develop open standards for mobile devices. This OS already has a cult following among programmers eager to develop apps as it is flexible, Open Source(not fully though) and allows full control of the available hardware.
The first commercially available phone running Android is the T-Mobile G1 (also known as the HTC Dream). It became available on October 22, 2008.
BlackBerry OS from RIM (15.2% Market Share Sales Q3 2008)
(Released in 1999)
BlackBerry OS is the proprietary software platform made by Research In Motion(RIM) for their BlackBerry line of handhelds. It makes heavy use of the device's specialized input devices, particularly the thumb-wheel, though new touchscreen devices have also made their entry to this highly competitive market. This OS is focused on easy operation and was originally designed for business. Using Blackberry Enterprise Server (BES), Blackberry devices can integrate into enterprises to make email and other PIM(Personal Information Management) data available wireless to business users. Recently it has seen a surge in third-party applications and has been improved to offer full multimedia support. The new BlackbBerry Storm is a good example for the platform's evolution, shedding the customary QWERTY keyboard and sporting a brand new touchscreen interface.
On 18 Dec 2008, RIM announced the number of BlackBerry subscribers has reached approximately 21 million.
iPhone OS from Apple Inc. (17.3% Market Share Sales Q3 2008)
(Released in 2007)
The iPhone uses an operating system called iPhone OS, which is derived from Mac OS X. It uses the Darwin foundation Third party applications were not officially supported until the release of iPhone OS 2.0 on July 11th 2008. Before this,"jail-breaking" allowed third party applications to be installed, and this method is still available. But as of February, 2009, there are over 20,000 applications officially available for the iPhone and over 500 million have been downloaded from the App Store. It has been nicknamed as the hype-Phone because of its extensive media coverage and the fad factor continued from the iPod/iMac line
The iPhone OS's user interface is based on the concept of direct manipulation, using multi-touch gestures. Interface control elements consist of sliders, switches, and buttons. Interaction with the OS includes gestures such as swiping, tapping, pinching, and reverse pinching. Additionally, using internal accelerometers, rotating the device on its y-axis alters the screen orientation in some applications. This has made it very popular in the multimedia arena with many new games taking advantage of these revolutionary but now common features.
Apple claimed in Oct 2008 that it had crossed 10 million user mark. Apple is planning to release version 3 of their iPhone OS.
Symbian OS from Symbian Ltd. (46.6% Market Share Sales Q3 2008)
(Released in 2000)
Developed by Symbian Limited(formed as a partnership between Ericsson, Nokia, Motorola and Psion on June 24, 1998), the Symbian OS was designed specifically to run on mobile devices. It is a descendant of Psion's EPOC and runs exclusively on ARM processors. There are a number of Symbian platforms designed to suit a variety of phone form factors, namely UIQ, Series 60, Series 80 and Series 90. UIQ and Series 60 are the most commonly used. Series 60 is primarily developed by Nokia, but also used by Samsung. UIQ is primarily developed and used by Sony Ericsson. The first Symbian phone was the Ericsson R380 running on Symbian OS v5.
In June 24, 2008 Nokia announced plans to acquire full ownership of Symbian and start the Symbian Foundation, which will be an independent force for the future development of Symbian OS. They stated that Symbian OS will become open source in the first half of 2009.
Palm webOS is an embedded operating system developed by Palm, Inc. for smartphones, and was introduced to the public at the Consumer Electronics Show(CES) in Las Vegas on January 8, 2009. This is
Windows Phone from Microsoft (13.6% Market Share Sales Q3 2008)
(Released in 2000)
Developed by software giant Microsoft, Windows Phone is a compact version of the popular Microsoft Windows operating system with a suite of basic applications for mobile devices based on the Microsoft Win32 API. Devices that run Windows Phone include Pocket PCs, Smartphones, Portable Media Centers, and on-board computers for certain automobiles.It is similar to desktop versions of Windows, feature-wise and aesthetically. Additionally, third-party software development is mighty good for Windows Phone. The first release was as Pocket PC 2000 and latest version is Windows Phone 6.5, with almost every new version bringing a drastic change to the user interface. It was previously known as Windows Mobile(WinMo in short).
Microsoft licenses Windows Phone( or Mobile) to four out of the world's five largest mobile phone manufacturers, with Nokia being the other. The main advantage is that it ran on a host of phones from different hardware vendors like HTC, Motorola, HP, Dell, O2, i-mate, Qtek etc., with different versions only for touchscreen and for keyboard-input devices. Another advantage is that it is easily customisable and was easy for developers to port programs from the desktop platform to the mobile platform as it shared a similar API. MS sold 18 million WinMo phones in 2008.
All of the above devices are revolutionary in terms of the technology packed into a pocket device. The convergence of communication, business, internet, entertainment and mutimedia in such a small device is a wonderful example of the technology humans have developed. Lets see what the future has in store for us.