Mobile Market Madness

The smartphone market as of lately is crazy. So many choices are available, all offerring something unique. Some might say that all smartphones are created equal, but that isn’t typically the case. As far as smartphones are concerned, there are three primary types. These types are defined by the operating system that the phone uses. The big three contenders are iPhones running iOS, phones using Google’s Android platform, and the newly emerging Windows phones using Microsoft’s Windows Phone 8.  Each platform will be discussed below with focus on user interfaces, applications, and features.

Anyone who has seen or used all three mobile phone operating systems can tell you that they are in fact quite different. Both the iPhone and Android are application focused. If you want your phone to do something, there is probably an app for that. You can tell just by glancing at the home screen of an iPhone or Android device that apps are the main focus. Although they both are app-centric, they are still very different. iPhone’s iOS is clean, simplistic, and often described as easy and user friendly. It just works. You add which ever apps you want to the main screen and can move around the apps in any order you like. However, app locations are about as custom as the platform gets. Android, on the other hand, is a bit different. Users of course have app icons on you main screen, but you can also add widgets. Widgets are usually larger than an app icon and can be described as an app that runs on the home screen. A calendar that always displays meetings times for the day, for example. The information is always available “real-time” at a glance. This customization sometimes makes an Android phone look messy and cluttered, but that is typically at the choice of the user. Windows phones are a bit different. Instead of app icons, the platform takes use of “live tiles”. These tiles are very similar to app widgets as they come in a variety of sizes and show you the information you want to see at a glance without even having to open the app. This is great for users who want to get the information they need from there phone in a time crunch. One example of this is the Facebook app showing your friends recent updates on its tile. You can see what friends are up to and read the news feed without having to open the app. These different approaches to the user interface each have their advantages, and it ultimately depends on the user as to which style comes out on top.

When it comes to app choices, the Google Play Store (Android) and the Apple App Store (iOS) both have over a million apps each. The major difference between the two stores is that Apple is stricter about what apps it allows into its app store. This can be a good thing or a bad thing. For example, since the Google Play Store is less strict about the apps, it allows some apps that are not on the App Store (e.g. apps that change the keyboard or customize the user interface). These apps are abundant on Android and next to impossible to find on the Apple App Store. But an open app store has its disadvantages. An app does things that can be dangerous to the user’s data. For example, a recent Android app was found to leak user information to servers in China. This does happen on occasion and, when discovered, the app is usually removed from the Play Store. This is less likely to happen on the Apple platform since the apps are reviewed more before they are approved to the app store. The Windows Phone has apps, too. Although its app store has way less than the Android or iOS app store by far. But most of the common apps are on all three app stores – Twitter, Facebook, Netflix, and YouTube. Windows Phones also have some of the best apps when it comes to Windows applications. Apps like SkyDrive, Skype and Office 365 are smooth on a Windows Phone since they are all made by Microsoft. This brings up an interesting point. How well does each phone work with your email and other devices?

 If you use Gmail, Google Docs, Google+, and Google Calendar you are going to love how easily an Android phone syncs all relevant data. When setting up an Android phone for the first time, you sign in with a Google account. The same goes for a Windows Phone if you use Outlook, SkyDrive and Office 365. Windows Phone easily syncs and natively runs these applications. The same goes for Apple if you already use the iCloud and other Mac services. This is not to say you can’t check your Outlook email on an iPhone or your Gmail account on a Windows Phone because you can. Natively-supported apps simply look, feel, and operate better applications better.

Each operating system has its flagship phones. iOS has the iPhone 5s, Windows Phone 8 has the Nokia Lumia 1020, and Android has the Galaxy S4 and the HTC One. The iPhone has the iconic glass back and curved edges. The Lumia has a top-of-the-line camera. And the S4 has its notable eye-motion scrolling. Each phone, for the most part, has a little something that makes it unique.

In conclusion, there is not one all out best smart phone operating system. They all do things a little different and your favorite comes down to what you’re looking for in a phone. Whether that is a clean design-picky iPhone that performs well and is simple to operate, a highly customizable Android phone that can look and perform to your liking, or a Windows Phone that brings the live tiles that show you what’s happening at a glance so you can spend less time navigating your phone. It’s all personal preference but hopefully this blog will help you decide which you prefer.

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