Soon after the release of the new Windows 8, the users showed their concern for the future of the mobile market. At the moment, there are three giant operating systems dominating the smartphone market and the most discussed question is whether they will all survive. Bets are made online, which one will keep its market share or fade away. But let’s first discuss the advantages of each one of them – Android, iOS and Windows 8.
I will start with iOS not for any other reason, but because when it was launched in 2007 it completely changed the mobile market. Unlike Windows and Google, Apple does not license iOS for installation on non-Apple hardware. This helps Apple sell hardware alongside with software and do not only focus on one of them. The Apple store is the place where you will find the biggest amount of applications – more than 700,000 as of September 2012. The word that can describe iOS’ interface is simplicity – there are no widgets and no tiles, just a list of application icons that you can scroll through from the home page. In terms of development, iOS developers earn more than Android developers (Distimos Annual Report 2011) and most of them prefer developing for iOS devices as the quality of their hardware is guaranteed. And we should not forget that Apple is still beating all sales records.
Android is a Linux-based operating system designed primarily for touchscreen mobile devices. Unlike Apple, Google releases the Android code as an open source under the Apache License. Because of that fact, hardware producers can use this platform. Android applications are more than 700,000 as of October, 2012 and can be both downloaded from Google Play and third-party websites. Android’s interface is created around the idea of having a lot of widgets on the screen. Jelly Bean version makes moves much easier as widgets can be resized and adapted to the home screen, making it much more convenient for the user. What we can say for Android now is that it is the most used OS in the world keeping 75% of the market share during the third quarter of 2012.
Windows 8 was released at the time when two stable operating systems were fighting to become leaders in the mobile software market. However, it introduces significant changes to its previous platform, as it focuses on improving user experience. Windows 8 is running on existing hardware so no changes are needed in that field except getting a touch device to be able to use all the options. There are still not enough applications released – only 100,000 as of October, 2012, but probably that is due to the recent release. Windows 8 interface is completely new. It consists of small ‘live tiles’, which can be squeezed depending on the priority they have for you. The OS is created so that you can customize it constantly. What users mention about it is that the interface has never been one of the weak sides of the Windows Phone, but they should still focus on other components in order to catch up with the other two competitors.
After the short review of the three operating systems, we can now share some of the users’ opinion about them. According to a recent survey made at phonearena.com, 48.62 % of the users rate Android 4.0 as the best OS on the market. It is followed by Windows 8 with 40.88% and third place for iOS 6.0 with only 10.5 %. Users find Android far more customizable, but at the same time Windows does not differentiate between icons and widgets while Android does. Another customer opinion is that if someone is searching for functionality, familiarity, ease of use and does not really care about the technical side of things, Windows 8 Phone and iOS can be their more logical choices.
One thing is certain – Windows has the PC world, iOS has the MAC world and Android keeps the market share for this year so we should all prepare for a fierce battle.
Flat Rock specializes in developing an array of web, software and mobile solutions and can help you expand your business quickly and professionally including the development of a custom Windows 8, iPhone or Android application. Take a look at our portfolio or contact us for more information.
About the author:
Polina Ilieva is a Solution Specialist at Flat Rock Technology and focuses on web solutions such as content management systems, e-commerce platforms and mobile applications including Windows 8, Android and iOS.