An Operating System serves as a fundamental software component in computerized systems, providing control over essential operations of the device, such as computers, smartphones, PDAs, and more. It acts as a foundation for managing various tasks and allows users to install and run third-party applications, commonly referred to as apps, thereby expanding the device’s functionality.
Windows by Microsoft, MacOS by Apple, and different distributions of Linux are widely recognized computer operating systems, each with its own popularity.
When it comes to mobile devices like smartphones and tablets, the leading operating systems are Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android, both of which continue to experience growth. Following them in the rankings are RIM’s BlackBerry OS and Microsoft’s Windows Mobile. Symbian now holds a distant fifth place, whereas not too long ago, it was the most prevalent mobile operating system.
Symbian, once the dominant operating system, gradually lost its market share as touch-operated smartphones became popular. Its downfall can be attributed to its failure to provide an intuitive touch user interface. Similarly, Microsoft’s Windows Mobile was a strong player years ago, offering the first touchscreen smartphone experience with PocketPCs powered by their operating system.
In more recent times, Blackberry phones have transitioned to using the Android operating system with added Blackberry security features.
On October 8th, 2017, Microsoft announced that while they would continue to support the Windows Mobile platform, they would no longer develop new features for it.
Today, mobile devices with robust operating systems are referred to as smartphones, offering users a diverse selection of applications ranging from games and productivity apps to communication and social media apps, as well as digital maps, among others.
The presence of standardized operating system platforms enables a consistent user interface and experience across devices from various hardware manufacturers. However, Android smartphone manufacturers often customize the user experience, resulting in slightly modified versions of the stock Android user interface.
While the dominant players in the market are well-established, there have been numerous mobile operating system projects that have emerged over the years. These include Palm’s webOS, Samsung’s Bada OS, Nokia’s Maemo OS and MeeGo OS, LiMo OS, Tizen, BlackBerry’s Playbook OS, as well as more recent additions like Jolla’s Sailfish OS and Mozilla’s Firefox OS.