Confused between Mobile OS? iOS, Android, Symbian 3 or Windows Phone 7?

Once upon a time, with only a couple of platforms and a few models on offer, choosing a smartphone was easy. Now, there are countless models and several platforms to choose from, with the promise of newer, better, shinier versions permanently on the horizon.

Mobile OS Confused

You might know what features you’re after, but how do you know which operating system (OS) runs better? We compare each aspect of the top four in this article – Apple’s iOS, Google’s Android, Microsoft’s Windows Phone 7 and Nokia’s Symbian 3  – read on to find out which OS wins.

Usability

iOS is the easiest mobile operating system; it’s intuitive and has been designed logically, beautifully and simply.

While Android is generally still quite easy to operate, because it’s used by a range of manufacturers users won’t find that they will easily switch from one to another.

Symbian ^3 is user friendly and, unlike Android, you don’t have to worry about mastering different interface layouts on different devices.

Windows Phone 7 looks amazing, but falls down on the need to press and hold certain items to display additional options and to unlock the screen before receiving a call, as well as the peculiar search button behaviour. A lack of multitasking and copy-paste functions. That said, the keyboard is up there with Google’s Gingerbread and iOS.

Performance

iOS 4.0’s UI, when used with the iPhone 4, is smooth throughout with no noticeable lag, even when switching between multiple applications.

While it does suffer occasional stutters,Android runs fairly well with capable hardware, although it tends to be slow on lesserhandsets. With the likes of the Honeycomb-powered LG Optimus 3D Pad due for imminent release, the android tabletcould soon overtake iOS’s lead in the tablet market.

A fairly light OS,Symbian can be run by weaker hardware, thus removing the need to unnecessarily ramp up the hardware (using more power in the process). As a result, these phoneshave the longest battery life.

Well optimized and always complemented by quality hardware,Windows Phone 7 performance is unbeatable. Unfortunately though, thisefficiency is only limited to the default applications: third-party applications don’t live up to Microsoft’s high standards.

Aesthetics

As the oldest of the four platforms here,iOShas still hardly undergone any major UI makeover – it still looks great, has lovely menu transitions and possesses a real timelessness.

Having changed considerably with each update, Android has lost some of its simplicity and perhaps picked up some unnecessary elements, such as the 3D image gallery and live wallpapers. It still looks good though.

Symbian ^3 lags behind in the modernity stakes. It doesn’t look terrible but doesn’t match the other brands. The applications are scattered across the menu screen and the keyboard could be better.

Windows Phone 7 – the youngest here – sports a beautiful, contemporary, smooth and very original user interface.

Features

iOSusers can now install applications, multitasking, copy-paste and folders,leaving little room for complaint. However, it lacksBluetooth file transfer, file manager, mass storage, homescreen widgets and FM radio capabilities and more besides.

Features are Android’s strongpoint.Google’slatest release has almost every feature going, whether it’s multitasking, widgets, tethering, Wi-Fi hotspot or Adobe Flash support, Android does it all.

Symbian ^3 has almost every feature that you get on Android, along with some that you don’t, such as FM radio and USB On-the-Go connectivity, plusthree handy home-screen widgets andmulti-tasking and copy-paste as standard.

Although Windows Phone 7 will eventually incorporate more features through updates and already has some good ones such as the home-screen ‘Hub’ tiles, Xbox Live support, Zune Pass and Office integration, Microsoft’s offer’s just not good enough to compete against rivals.

Applications

iOShas over 300,000 generally high quality applications available, with some of them having truly revolutionized the way we use our smartphones. If you’re mad about apps, then iOS isthe platform to use.

With over 25,000 apps available, Google is catching up with iOS,but with most already available on iOS and the remaining ones being Google’s own anyway, there’s nothing of particular note here.

There’s a vast selection of apps available forSymbian but they have, until the recent arrival of Nokia’s Ovi Store, been difficult to access. Things are looking better now but there’s nothing to shout about.

Windows Phone 7 has the least impressive and most expensive library of applications available and, although the platform is still relatively new, there’s no excuse for the sheer lack of apps for eager new customers.

Conclusion

Offering the best combination of features, performance and applications and able to run even onrelatively inexpensive handsets,Android wins. Android has crept slightly ahead of iOS, which has until now been hailed as king of the smartphones – so if you can’t afford an iPhone 4, get an Android.

Change in price of a download app over 12 months, 2010 according to Distimo
App store Apple Blackberry Ovi (Nokia) Android
Number of apps 300,000 18,000 130,000 25,000
Price change All apps -12 -24 +1 -29
Top 100 apps -19 -24 -9 -61
Source: The Distimo report (January 2011) via: mobiThinking

Source: Mobithinking

Worldwide smartphone operating system (OS) market share in 2009-2015, according to Gartner Smartphone OS market share and compound annual growth rate 2011-2015, according to IDC
OS
(listed alphabetically)
2009
market share
2010
market share
2011
market share
2015
market Share
2011
market share
2015
market Share
2011-2015
CAGR
Android 3.9% 22.7% 38.5% 48.8% 39.5% 45.4% 23.8%
BlackBerry 19.9% 16.0% 13.4% 11.1% 14.9% 13.7% 17.1%
iOS 14.4% 15.7% 19.4% 17.2% 15.7% 15.3% 18.8%
Symbian 46.9% 37.6% 19.2% 0.1% 20.9% 0.2% -65.0%
Windows Phone/Mobile 8.7% 4.2% 5.6% 19.5% 5.5% 20.9% 67.1%
Others 6.1% 3.8% 3.9% 3.3% 3.5% 4.6% 28.0%
Total smartphones sold 172 million 297 million 468 million 631 million 450 million N/A 19.6%
Source: Gartner (April 2011) Source: IDC (March 2011) via:mobiThinking

 

Comments

  1. therohan says

    Nokia announced two new Symbian devices, the Nokia E6 and the Nokia X7. With the new smart phones, Nokia also introduced its latest software update, known as Symbian Anna.
    Nokia will soon make the Symbian Anna software update available to existing users of the Nokia N8, Nokia C7, Nokia C6 and Nokia E7 via OTA downloads. Running on devices powered by the Qt framework, developers can create applications for these smart phones using Qt SDK 1.1.
    For details on the news check this: http://blogs.forum.nokia.com/blog/nokia-developer-news/2011/04/12/symbian-anna-software-and-2-new-devices

  2. Deb says

    hi, I am using Symbian ^3 for six months. My Nokia E7 is the best in terms of hardwares and softwares compatiblity. The apps are just good as the design of the phone. the qwerty keypad is too good. Anybody who has experienced with the device, definitely agree with me I think. Now in terms of user friendly, no one can beat NOKIA, it hides all the complicancy and unnecessary part from the user. Symbian OS runs in such a low RAM, it is awesome. I can rum simultaneously 10 (Ten) task without any slow of the system. Nobody can think of in any android phone. Regarding UI it is good, yes it lag sometimes, but one need to understand, you have to devote time to master a smart phone. Symbian, no matter what other says, but still a very good OS, if I consider all the factor.

    • Sarv007 says

      @Chirag you should check android phones……and internet speed mostly depends on phone’s hardware….

  3. tejas says

    android phones are just battery sucking devices and is also hard to use but symbian is the most user friendly phone which now with symbian anna supports apps and games which are not supported in android phones so symbian rules even today

  4. ßp21 says

    Symbian is the best friend i m using it from last 2 year but noting any problem wid it !! N i lov it . . . I dnt ting so android can do that !!

  5. says

    Symbian Is a best Os than Android,Symbian Is a heart of smartphone.Symbian Os supportable with Java MIDP 2.1 but Android Os not Supported with java Apps n more..! Symbian Os All platform such as good Running,Game Apps Running verry good,Internet speed higher speed on nokia symbian mobile,I Like this symbian Os ummm,I Vote for u Symbian Os 10/10 nd Anroid 10/5.

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