The battle between the mobile operating systems is really getting into its stride and making it harder and harder for consumers to choose which platform is right for them. There are three main contenders to cover; Android, iOS 4 and Windows Phone 7. Each has different positive and negative aspects, so let us discuss the major features and see which comes out on top.
iOS 4 is a platform developed by Apple and used on its iPhone range, as well as on the iPad tablet and the iPod Touch media player. In its current iteration a number of new features have been added, including multitasking to make app-switching easy and unhindered. FaceTime for video calling is also available on the iPhone 4 and iPod Touch, although it is limited to use over a Wi-Fi network. iOS 4 is compatible with hundreds of thousands of apps and games, all of which are accessible via the App Store and iTunes. It has a slick, intuitive interface with multiple homescreens that can be customised with shortcuts to your favourite apps.
Android, which is currently in version 2.3, is produced by Google. It is very different to iOS 4 in many ways, the most significant one being that it can be used by any manufacturer which chooses it for its handsets since it is open source, unlike Apple`s platform. This means everything from expensive high end phones to entry level budget options can run Android. One of Android’s key benefits is that it is compatible with Flash content, allowing you to view Flash-encoded videos and other online content sources in the native web browser. Apple cannot boast this function as it has locked out all Flash compatibility from iOS 4 devices.
Windows Phone 7 represents a mixture of both iOS 4 and Android. It has been made available to a number of big name mobile manufacturers like Samsung and HTC so that you can get some variety in handset capabilities, but developer Microsoft keeps a tight control over the minimum specifications of these handsets and does not allow third parties to trifle in the interface. The purpose is to give Windows Phone 7 the uniformity of experience which is guaranteed to iOS 4 users while also opening the market to enable a bit of experimentation like Android.
The victor in this battle can come down to a number of individual traits and budgetary restraints. Android mobile phones are usually cheaper than iOS 4 devices while still retaining all of the modern functionality you would expect with open access for manufacturers to tweak and improve every aspect of the platform. Meanwhile Windows Phone 7 is developing its reputation as the platform of choice for gamers thanks to its integration of Xbox Live functions. iOS 4 remains the most desirable of the bunch thanks to the pop culture prestige of the iPhone, but with this comes added expenses and up-front investment which may not be for all consumers.