The majority of smartphone users have some knowledge about Android and iOS operating systems, which are by far the most popular ones. On the other hand, information about the other operating systems which are capable of running on a mobile device is scarce. Currently, Android is beating the heck of all the other operating systems, including iOS.
Currently, Android is beating the heck of all the other operating systems, including iOS. 83% of the total users worldwide own an Android device.iOS holds 14% of the market share while Windows operating devices continue to fail in making a notable impact.
In an attempt to do justice to those operating systems that have a tiny share of the market or none at all, I compiled a list with all the notable mobile OS’s of modern times.
BADA is an operating system owned by Samsung and the latest version of BADA was released in 2012. It was built for mid and high-end models and resembled Android in many aspects. It was a robust, user-friendly and resource efficient OS.
Seemingly following the Android upgoing trend, Samsung decided to abandon BADA after a while. They’re only 3 smartphones that run the BADA OS (Samsung Wave, Samsung Wave 2 and Samsung Wave 3).
Blackberry is one of the grandfathers of operating systems, having released their first OS back in 1999 under the ownership of RIM. The interface and design of Blackberry OS were the main factors that distinguished it from other OS’s.
Similar to Apple, Blackberry OS was closed source and was exclusively available for Blackberry models throughout its glory years. It has made a name for itself due to his reliability and the fact that it has retained immunity to almost all mobile viruses.
At the end of 2015, Blackberry CEO confirmed the rumors regarding the death of the Blackberry OS. He assured fans that the company will continue to support the latest Blackberry OS (BB10), but admitted that 2016 flagships will have an Android OS.
MeeGo is remembered as a mobile platform despite the fact that it was build to accommodate a variety of electronic terminals including e-books, tv, car computers and handhelds. All of them have the same core OS properties, but the interface was completely different in each device.
A little-known fact is, Nokia N9, a hugely popular device was running on the MeeGo OS.
Similar with our beloved Android, Maemo’s OS home screen was composed of multiple sections that showed icons, update notifications, search bar, RSS Feed, etc. The father of MeeGo is remembered by the speed with which the user was able to navigate from one place to another.
It was the baby of Nokia and Maemo community, who joined their forces to produce an OS capable of accommodating both smartphones and tablets.
In 2010, Maemo merged with Moblin and ended up creating MeeGo, which we previously covered.
Symbian was developed by Nokia but the company ended up selling the rights to various manufacturers that wanted to use Symbian as their OS. For many years, Symbian has retained the top spot on the low-end mobile market.
Before the era of the touchscreen, Java Symbian was the most used OS in the world. Since then, the demand for Symbian steadily declined. In an effort to reverse that change, Nokia tried to adapt Symbian so that it was capable of running on smartphones. Sadly, that didn’t save the OS, which has slowly become a thing of the past due to Android and iOS explosion.
Palm OS a.k.a Garnet OS was built by Palm Inc back in 1996. Initially, it was designed to work exclusively on PDAs (Personal Digital Assistance). It was capable of running with touchscreen technology, which was the new hot thing at the time.
During it’s prime years, Palm OS was used by top shelf companies like IBM, Lenovo, Legend Group, etc.
With the apparition of smartphones, Palm OS was adapted to accommodate them but failed to leave a mark due to the huge competitor user base.
In 2007, Palm cut off the updates completely and abandoned the Garnet OS for good.
Open WebOS a.k.a. Hp WebOS a.k.a. WebOS was also developed by Palm Inc but was later acquired by Hewlett-Packard. Was launched in 2009 and was used on a number of phones and tablets.
After Hewlett-Packard had completed the acquisition, WebOS was promoted as an exclusive OS for high-end flagship devices. The sales remained decent for a while, that’s until Android made a foothold in the market.
The latest model that ended up running on WebOS was the TouchPad. After that, Hewlett-Packard announced the discontinuing of WebOS. They assured fans that they will get regular updates for their device, but sadly that didn’t happen.
Firefox OS is an open source operating system released by Mozilla. Although it is built on the Android Linux Kernel foundation, it doesn’t use any of the java code that’s present in Android’s core.
Firefox OS is hailed as having the capability to compete with existing dominating mobile operating systems.
Tizen is backed by the Linux Foundation in association with the Tizen Group. It also received technical help from Intel and Samsung. It’s capable of accommodating various devices like smartphones, tablets, smart TVs and vehicle boards.
In 2015, Tizen was regarded as the fourth ranking mobile OS in terms of market share. Its popularity is larger in India, where it has the second spot in the budget segment.
Windows Phone (Windows 10)
The computer version of Windows is by far the most popular operating system known to man. Naturally, Microsoft tried to push their OS on smartphone devices but it resulted in a clunky and hard operating system that failed to resonate with the consumers.
Things started to pick up for Windows once Nokia and Microsoft decided to shake hands. With the implementation of Windows 7 on Nokia smartphones, users dug the eye-catching and intuitive interface and started to buy Windows Phone devices all over the world. Since the launch of their last OS, Windows Phone became known as Windows 10.
Nokia Lumia is a complete Windows based device. Other manufacturers (HTC Titan, Samsung Focus) tried to launch smartphones with Microsoft’s OS but failed to penetrate the Windows Phone market.
Windows uses a mobile-optimised Internet Explorer for web purposes and Exchange that is capable of handling email accounts with push functions.
iOS first surfaced in 2007, along with the introduction of the iPhone. It is currently used on all iPhones, iPads, iPods and recently on iWatches.
Unlike Android, Apple has made it a priority of maintaining exclusivity of their OS. They have always kept their focus on appearance and functionality of their operating system with each update. Truth be told, it’s the most intuitive OS to date and it’s status symbol resonated with enriched customers worldwide.
This OS colossus is the baby of Google and was constructed with the Linux Kernel infrastructure. It was released in 2008 and the first version was named Astro. After that, Google had the idea of naming its future releases after desserts in an alphabetical order. (Cupcake, Donut, Eclair, Froyo, Gingerbread, Honeycomb, Ice Cream Sandwich, Jelly Bean, Marshmallow)
It’s open source model allows developers to construct any software they want by accessing unlocked hardware. This translates into restriction-free development and very little trouble with licensing.
That facilitated countless free content for the masses and it rocketed Android to the top of user’s preferences. Google Play now contains million of different apps for a wide variety of Android devices.
Nowadays, pretty much every major smartphone manufacturer is using Android (HTC, Samsung, LG, Motorola, Sony, Huawei, Xiaomi, Lenovo etc.). That is a direct consequence of it’s attractive looks and efficiency.