Smartphone Operating Systems (OS)

Every year several hundred thousand smartphones are being bought and set up. All these have an operating system without which it will be impossible to create such fantastic devices. In this article we will know what are some of the most common mobile operating systems.

So lets begin with understanding what is an operating system and Kernel.

In easy words, an operating system is an interface between user and computer hardware. It is an software which perform tasks like file management, memory management, process management and controlling peripheral devices like disk drives and other basic hardware.

Kernel is the core of a computer’s Operating System and control everything in the system.It is the first program loaded on start-up.

Kernel Source: Wikipedia

The two most common OS in smartphone world are Android developed by Google and iOS developed by Apple Inc. 

  • Android (android):

Android was developed by Android Inc. which was bought by Google in 2005 and was unveiled to the world in 2007 and Open Handset Alliance was also founded alongside. The languages used for writing this operating system were C, C++ and Java for User Interface and is based on linux kernel.

Android Logo Source: Google Images

Android is available in more than 100 languages. Programs for android are called “apps” which can be downloaded from Google Play Store. The android programs have an extension of “.apk”. Android programs are generally written in Python, C, C++ and Java but their UI is always created using Java or XML. Apparently, the android play store have more than 1.6 million applications available exclusively for android. Apps like Facesbook and Whatspp have been downloaded over a massive number of 1 billion.

A really interesting thing about android is that all it’s versions are named alphabetically and after a dessert. The version names and numbers are:

  • Beta versions: Astro and Bender
  • 1.5: Cupcake
  • 1.6: Donut
  • 2.0 and 2.1: Eclair
  • 2.2: Froyo (FROzen YOghurt)
  • 2.3: Gingerbread
  • 3.x:Honeycomb (only for tablets)
  • 4.0: Ice Cream Sndwich
  • 4.1, 4.2 and 4.3: Jelly Bean
  • 4.4: Kitkat
  • 5.1 and 5.1: Lollipop
  • 6.0 and 6.0.1: Marshmallow
  • 7.0 and 7.1: Nougat
UI of android 7.1 Source: neurogadget

Isn’t the naming scheme interesting! This happens when geeks use their wits.

  • iOS:

iOS Logo Source: Google Images

iOS is an operating system made and sold by Apple Inc. for their mobile devices. It is used in iPhone, iPod, iPad, Apple TV and other apple devices. Originally called as OS X which was renamed to iPhone OS and then was finally  renamed to iOS in 2010 since now it was also supporting other devices other than iPhone. By now there have been 10 versions of iOS which along with launch year are given below:

  • iPhone OS 1                                                                             –      March 6, 2007
  • iPhone OS 2                                                                            –       July 11, 2008
  • iPhone OS 3 and iPhone 3GS                                             –       June, 2009
  • iOS 4                                                                                         –       mid of 2010
  • iOS 5                                                                                         –       October 2011
  • iOS 6                                                                                         –       September 19, 2012
  • iOS 7                                                                                         –       September 18, 2013
  • iOS 8                                                                                         –      June 2, 2014
  • iOS 9                                                                                         –      September 16, 2015
  • iOS 10                                                                                       –      September 13,2016
iOS 10 Logo Source: Google Images

The war between android and iOS is always on and their users too are always debating which one of them is better. The 2016 Q3 statistics are show below:


The other popular smartphone OS are:

  1. Bada by Samsung Electronics
  2. BlackBerry OS
  3. MeeGo for Nokia and Intel
  4. Palm OS
  5. Symbian by Nokia
  6. WebOS by Palm and HP
  7. Windows OS by Microsoft.

Hope now you are well-versed with the basics of Smartphone Operating systems and know a little bit about them.


Thanks for coming and happy reading! 🙂