1. Operating Systems for Handheld gadgets
An operating system that supports handheld mobile devices is known as Mobile Operating System. The first mobile operating system was launched by IBM in 1995 in its Smartphone; IBM Simon. This was the world’s first Smartphone. Subsequently, mobile operating systems were developed by Microsoft, Nokia, Google and Palm Inc. This paper takes an in-depth view into two major mobile operating systems in the market today; Microsoft and Google’s Linux kernel based Android.
2. Microsoft’s Mobile Operating System
Microsoft’s mobile operating system’s history spans back to 1996 when it was launched under the name of PocketPC2000. Microsoft’s operating system is a Microsoft kernel based application. The operating system closely resembles its desktop version including features like media player and office suite. It has a variety of application however most users who utilized Android or iPhone in the past have complained of the lack of user friendliness. Microsoft initially gained significant market gains of up to 40% in 2007 and declined subsequently to less than 5% in 2013.
In a significant move, Microsoft took over Nokia in 2014. However, the boon or bane evaluation will be decided by users in the years to follow.
2.1 The features of Microsoft's Mobile Operating System
2.1.1 Breakthrough technology
Microsoft's mobile operating system consists of a few features that are comprehensively advanced when compared to the competition. These extraodinary features have been listed below.
2.2 Known issues and possible solutions
Microsoft is no stranger to operating systems or the issues arising from them. Their line of Windows operating systems have paved the way to deal with technical glitches in upcoming updates. This paper discusses some of the primary design glitches that have inherited more complexity than solutions.
2.2.1 Issue: Home screen customization
The home screen of any digital device that users have utilized has allowed customization. However, the windows mobile operating system does not allow users to do this. It can be frustrating for a former Android or iPhone user. The inability to conceal select applications on the home screen is a massive let down. There might not be a fix for this issue since the development does not view it as one. The Microsoft development team strongly believes that this is more of a transition than an issue to work on. Experts believed that once users get used to their interface on their desktop computers and laptops with Windows 8, they will find it easier to relate to their mobile devices.
2.2.2 Issue: Navigation and interface
In their attempt to fix traditional navigational issues, Microsoft’s Windows 8.1 developers inadvertently turned it frightfully complex. Although their design defect does not mirror Google Android’s, they have certainly created a hazard on their own. Internet Explorer on its own creates havoc; there is no provision to customize the search engine, hence Bing stays. Furthermore, there is no forward navigation button. The only way to go forward is through the history option. Moreover, the version of internet explorer provided for mobile devices hardly supports HTML5 or Foundation 5 classes. This translates to poor visuals when viewing websites with attractive web design. The solution perhaps would evolve in a different update.
2.2.3 Issue: Excessive hanging
The Microsoft mobile operating system had the traditional issue of freezing applications. Applications would become inoperable for no apparent reason. The continuous internet connection keeps multiple applications (usually with large memory allocations) active to provide real time updates. This issue also involves the hardware capability to an extent however Microsoft needs to come up with comprehensive modifications to curb this issue. Furthermore if users experience this issue during an active call, the following solutions come in handy.
Tapping the power button twice, not covering the forward facing camera with a screen, cleaning the dirt off the surface and scrolling the screen towards the proximity sensor are proven solutions.
2.2.4 Issue: Hubs
Hubs are a feature that allows bundling of similar file types such as music files, picture files and media files. Although Microsoft has leapt over their competition in this area, they might have simplified them through smaller and simpler shortcuts. This feature is special however, to unleash this feature on an unsuspecting user who is used to an android interface usually results in a frustrated new user of the device. The feature is also known to create replicas of song files. The fix for this issue requires the following steps.
The first thing to do is to taking a backup (on an external device) of the all the data. Next delete all the song files stored in the device as well as any external storage expansion cards. Now reset the device and format any external expansion cards associated with the device. Finally, move the data back to the device using a desktop computer and use the same methodology when adding new song files.
2.2.5 Issue: Microsoft Office
The Microsoft Office suite is available to all users. However, there are no options to modify the files unless the user spends additionally to upgrade the application. This is in stark contrast to android users who download office solutions such as Polaris Office for free. This issue is related more with providing proper product information than technical modification. If Microsoft set the correct expectation with customers about the Office Suite, it might not feature as a potential put down.
2.2.6 Issue: Third Party Applications
Microsoft’s mobile operating systems rely heavily on in-house or partner developed applications. Unlike Google Play Store, the users have to use applications provided by Microsoft itself. The main reason for this remains compatibility; none of the java based application will run on a Windows operating system. This issue could be fixed by the provision lesser capable applications for free distribution instead of charging users additionally.
2.2.7 Freezing of touch screen
This issue arises in almost any touch screen device due to scratches on the surface, however the issue crops up even in brand new devices supporting the Windows 8.1 operating system. The device needs to be refreshed for the application to respond. This issue also freezes while attempting to answer calls occasionally. Users who have experience with the desktop variants of Microsoft's operating systems would find this issue common. The solutions for this issue are updating the system or holding the reduce volume and power buttons at the same time for fifteen seconds. Now, restart the device.
The future of the global software giant’s mobile operating system is questionable. Unlike the Windows operating system that revolutionized GUI on computers, this area has significant competition. Moreover, the takeover of Nokia poses several disturbing questions on how Microsoft’s ability to fuse hardware and software belonging to different platforms.
(Cnet.com, “Microsoft's mobile OS and phone future at a crossroads – again”)
3. Linux kernel based Android operating system
The Linux kernel based open source Android operating system was developed by Google in September 2008. Although mobile giants Nokia and Microsoft were skeptical about the success of the new entrant at the time, the Android operating system looked very attractive to carriers especially since it was an open source product. Despite initial hiccups, in recent times, the Android market threatens even the most sought after Apple iOs.
The Android operating system revolutionized the touch phones with sensory actions to that were inconceivable at the time – swipe, tap, pinch and reverse pinch. Android operating systems are named after desserts; Cupcake, doughnut, éclair, froyo, gingerbread, honeycomb, ice cream sandwich, jellybean, kitkat and lollipop. (Developers.android.com, “Material Design”)
Moreover, Google Play Store provides users with a variety of third party applications to enhance their devices’ maximum potential. Today, Google Android holds 81% of the mobile gadgets market.
3.1 The features of Google Android
(Tech, “Android One is the future of smart phones and here's why”)
3.2 Known issues and possible solutions
Every technology and product is susceptible to defects. Although it is widely used and remains the most sought after operating system for mobile devices, there are a handful of shortcomings. The key issues are listed below.
3.2.1 Issue: Overflowing notifications
The first shortcoming is Android’s constant need to be connected to the internet. This essentially stacks all the applications of the device on active mode and floods the notification panel.
The latest operating system from Android (Lollipop) features an application priority option that offers users some solace for the notification problem. This feature allows the user to prioritize application and block unnecessary notifications.
3.2.2 Issue: Battery usage
A device that is connected to the internet loses power rapidly. Moreover, all the games and fancy applications that are supported on an Android device, takes an enormous drain on the battery. Playing one of the games such as TeamLava’s popular “Restaurant Story” for five minutes can drain over 12% of battery power.
There is no solution at this time to sort this issue to stay connected to the internet and conserving battery power.
3.2.3 Issue: Overheating
The overheating of Android handheld devices in an issue that causes a lot of discomfort to users; especially over long calls.
At this time the only viable solution is to follow good practices such as not exposing the device to excess sunlight. Direct exposure to sunlight increases the temperature of the device even when the device is inactive. Decreasing brightness is another way of reducing overheating; increasing brightness means more battery power utilization. The heating of the device is directly linked to the quantum of power utilized especially when not connected to the power adapter. Turning off unnecessary apps (App Priority) also reduces the magnitude of heat generated. Contrary to popular belief, using a case does not help ease overheating instead, it only traps the heat inside the case.
3.2.4 Issue: Malware
Most of the applications available on Google Play are freeware solutions. Many of them contain harmful programs such as spy programs or malware. The open source nature of the product exposes it to security threats unless the user utilizes a third-party security solution like AVG or TrendMicro. Although android operating systems include sandbox functionalities, they are usually inadequate to counter sophisticated code. The best free mobile device anti-virus software are CM Security, Malwarebytes Anti-Malware, Avast Mobile Security and Antivirus, Comodo Mobile Security and Lookout Security & Antivirus.
3.2.5 Issue: Open Source Development
Although open source development and customization provided by communities like CyanogenMod are tailor-made for users, these lines of code do not undergo the same testing that a manufacturer subjects a product to; hence, system failures and malfunction are common. Google has been criticized by several device manufacturers for this feature. The major manufacturers generally lock the code to prevent open source modifications to their devices. This option is clearly for advanced users and not the average users.
3.3 FutureThe future for Google Android rests with its ability to develop technology comprehensively in the fields of location tracking, internet dependency, battery life, messaging services and data security (Techradar.com “A Android in 2020: the future of Google's mobile OS explored”). Lollipop demonstrates the capability to achieve these goals in the years to follow (Tech.firstspot.com, “10 reasons Android Lollipop surpasses Android Kitkat”).
4. Future of Operating Systems for hand held devices
The future of mobile operating systems seems securely in the hands of Google Android despite certain unresolved issues. Nokia has ceased to be a brand of its own and Microsoft’s potentially dangerous move to forge two entirely different platforms (hardware and software) raises more than doubts on its capability to combat the Android operating system. Furthermore, iPhone manufacturer Apple also treads on shaky ground; it’s only a matter of time before the interface differences diminish. Perhaps the only hope for Android’s competition rests with a power upgrade that significantly diminishes battery drain.
Android Developer. Material Design, 2014. Web. 24 November 2014.
Open Hand Set Alliance. Android, 2013. Web. 24 November 2014.
Cnet. A brief history of Android phones, 2011. Web. 24 November 2014.
First Spot. 10 reasons Android Lollipop surpasses Android Kitkat, 2014. Web. 24 November 2014.
Techradar. Android in 2020: the future of Google's mobile OS explored, 2013. Web. 24 November 2014.
Techtimes. Android One is the future of smart phones and here's why, 2014. Web. 24 November 2014.
Windowsphone. The world’s most personal Smartphone, 2014. Web. 24 November 2014.
Cnet. Microsoft's mobile OS and phone future at a crossroads -- again, 2014. Web. 24 November 2014.