Smart­phone Op­er­at­ing Sys­tems

Consumer Voice - - Smartphones -

The op­er­at­ing sys­tem (OS) is the soft­ware that pow­ers your phone. The phone’s op­er­at­ing sys­tem (OS) is the thing that’ll turn the phone (and pos­si­bly you) on or off. There are three op­tions to choose from:

Ap­ple iPhone OS (iOS)

If you al­ready have, or plan to buy, other de­vices made by Ap­ple such as an iPad tablet, Macbook lap­top or Mac desk­top, then an iPhone us­ing iOS would be a good choice. The op­er­at­ing sys­tem for the Ap­ple lap­top and desk­top com­put­ing de­vices have been evolv­ing into a sim­i­lar look and feel, so you should be com­fort­able mov­ing from one de­vice to an­other with­out hav­ing to re­learn any­thing. And if you’re con­sid­er­ing buy­ing the Ap­ple Watch, then you need an iPhone, as the Ap­ple Watch won’t work with any other smart­phone. Pros: It’s easy to use and quick to learn, even if you haven’t used a smart­phone be­fore. It pro­vides ac­cess to the well-stocked Ap­ple app store – where apps are vet­ted be­fore be­ing re­leased, so you can rest as­sured they’re safe to use. Cons: Ap­ple iPhones are ex­pen­sive – the lat­est iPhone 8 (64 GB) will set you back by around £700, while the iPhone 8 Plus (64 GB) costs around £800. And the all-new iPhone X (64 GB) costs an eye­wa­ter­ing £999. If you’re not ob­sessed with hav­ing the lat­est tech, you can find cheaper deals on older hand­sets. Ap­ple iPhones also do not come with a mi­cro-SD card slot, so you’ll need to choose the mem­ory ca­pac­ity care­fully to avoid run­ning out of space for your app, mu­sic and photo col­lec­tion. Over­all, if you like de­pend­able same­ness with no sur­prises and rock-solid com­pat­i­bil­ity with a good range of de­vices, then you should con­sider an iPhone us­ing iOS, al­though you do pay a premium price.

Google An­droid

Google An­droid is an open plat­form, which means any com­pany can de­velop apps for smart de­vices that use the An­droid op­er­at­ing sys­tem. The An­droid op­er­at­ing sys­tem is in a va­ri­ety of de­vices from smart­watches to TVs to fridges. How­ever, the open na­ture of this op­er­at­ing sys­tem also means there isn’t the same ‘same­ness’ in the look and feel com­pared to Ap­ple’s closed iOS en­vi­ron­ment. The lat­est An­droid smart­phones are made by com­pa­nies that in­tro­duce their own look-and-feel el­e­ments. So you may be a fan of LG or HTC mo­biles and not so keen on Sony or Sam­sung mo­biles, even though all of these mod­els op­er­ate on the same op­er­at­ing sys­tem. Pros: It’s gen­er­ally easy to use, ex­tremely cus­tomis­able, and pro­vides ac­cess to the wide va­ri­ety of apps, games and en­ter­tain­ment avail­able from the Google Play store. There’s also loads of An­droid phones to choose from, what­ever your bud­get. Cons: In the past, An­droid has been slightly more vul­ner­a­ble to at­tack than Ap­ple hand­sets. That’s be­gin­ning to change now, though – Google is putting more em­pha­sis on vet­ting apps in the app store and patch­ing se­cu­rity holes be­fore they’re re­leased on the Google Play store. Some­times the man­u­fac­turer and net­work provider can be slow to re­lease An­droid up­dates to users – for in­stance, some phones still haven’t re­ceived the 2015 Marsh­mal­low ver­sion, let alone 2016’s Nougat or 2017’s Oreo. Over­all, If you like to cus­tomise your mo­bile ex­pe­ri­ence and want to work with the lat­est tech de­vices as soon as they come out, then an An­droid-based smart­phone is your best bet.

Win­dows Phone OS

Win­dows is not as pop­u­lar as An­droid or iOS, but it has a few op­tions at the cheaper end of the mar­ket. Pros: Mi­crosoft of­fers a range of de­cent-yet-af­ford­able Win­dows phones – you can pick one up for

around £120. Win­dows phones are fully com­pat­i­ble with Win­dows lap­tops and com­put­ers – good for fin­ish­ing tasks while on the move.

Cons: There aren’t as many apps made for Win­dows phones as there are for iOS and An­droid. That said, many of the ma­jor apps such as Face­book, Google Maps and BBC News are avail­able.

What size of phone is right for me?

Smart­phones are get­ting big­ger and big­ger, with the lat­est high-end mod­els mea­sur­ing 5.5 inches and more – in­clud­ing the Sam­sung Galaxy Note 8 and iPhone 8 Plus. How­ever, while big­ger phones are great for watch­ing films and brows­ing the web, they won’t suit ev­ery­one. Some peo­ple find them too large and awk­ward to hold, and would pre­fer a model they can com­fort­ably use with one hand. The best way to find out which hand­set size is right for you is to try hold­ing a few in a shop. If you do want some­thing that will slip more eas­ily into your pocket or bag, pick a 4–5-inch phone.

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