We have come a long way from the advent of the first mobile phone operating systems to the modern mobile OS. It’s been almost 20 years since the first mobile operating system (you may remember Symbian was developed for Nokia phones), and we’ve seen over 10 different mobile OSes in that time. Today we use only three. The mobile OSs that are current today are Android, iOS, and Windows Phone.
Today we will present each mobile OS and see which of them is the most popular now that we are almost at the end of 2016. We will also address the trends that await us in the future because we simply want to know which mobile OS we can count on.
The most popular mobile OS – Android
Exactly 8 years ago, in September 2008, Google introduced its first version of the Android operating system, under the name Astro. Soon another version called Bender came out. The first widely commercial version of Android was the famous mobile OS Cupcake, and then many other versions followed, and the rest of the story is history. Now Android has come a long way, and the latest version 7, ie Nougat, brings us really interesting and significant improvements.
What makes the Android mobile OS different from others is the enticing design and speed. We should not forget the fact that the Android OS is an open-source system, so the process of creating applications is quite simple and does not require any special licenses and procedures. There are more than 2 million apps for this mobile OS that you can download or purchase from the Google Play Store.
The fact that it is open source and that it is possible to customize the OS interface, many mobile phone manufacturers use Android for their models. To be precise, most companies use Android, so you can find it on a wide range of devices, from those that are very cheap to flagship phones.
The most attractive mobile OS – iOS
We had the opportunity to see the Apple mobile OS called iOS for the first time in 2007 when the first iPhone came out. Today, when iOS 10 is already widely used, we can use this operating system exclusively on Apple devices, and on all iPhones, iPods, and iPads.
Unlike Android, this is a closed system mobile OS, which literally means that other hardware manufacturers do not have permission to use it. There are no plans for Apple to open its mobile OS and make it available to others, so it will remain under the control of its parent company. This is exactly the feature that makes many users appreciate iOS – there are control and strict rules according to which the operating system is developed, it fully corresponds to the hardware for which it was created and applications made for iOS have much higher quality and security because there are a clear licensing procedure and application controls.
Another trump card that iOS is proud of is the great interface, as well as a great support for animations and notifications. The already legendary design of this mobile OS has not changed significantly, it has only been refined, so it is considered a timeless classic. The whole system leaves the impression that everything is in place, it is extremely fast, functional, and stable.
Mobile OS created by Microsoft – Windows Phone OS
Did you know that Microsoft had a very good mobile OS even before the advent of the Windows Phone OS which gained popularity with Nokia Lumia phones? It was Windows CE that worked great on “palm” devices and was the forerunner of today’s modern mobile operating systems.
Unfortunately, Microsoft failed to keep up with the times, so it temporarily dropped out of the race but tried to come back when it rolled out the new Windows Phone mobile OS. For a moment it seemed like this was going to be the right move, however, this story doesn’t have a happy ending either.
Windows Phone OS has a very attractive design and is quite different from the trend imposed by iOS. The squares on the interface are your windows to the world, so you can follow live notifications from your favorite applications. Since it is a closed system and Microsoft completely controls the production of hardware and software, the performance has shown quite well. In order to get as close as possible to the customers, MS gave its mobile OS to other manufacturers for use, but without much success.
Windows Phone OS is still alive, however, its popularity is fading day by day. It is unlikely that it will succeed in achieving the success of its older rivals, but it is certain that it will be remembered as a great attempt to be a different mobile OS.
What does the market say, which is the most popular mobile OS?
Now that we have got acquainted with the basic characteristics of the main actors of our today’s story, let’s see what the main and only referee in this game says – the market. According to IDC research, which covers the second quarter of this year, our reality currently looks like this:
- In the first place, with a market share of 87.6% (and growth of as much as 4% compared to the previous quarter) is Android.
- In the second place, with a share of 11.7% and a slight decline of 3.5% compared to the previous quarter is iOS.
- and at the bottom of the list, with less than 1%, more precisely with 0.4% is Windows Phone OS.
- All other mobile OS together have less than 0.3% market share.
What is evident is that the popularity of Android is growing with the growing popularity of brands coming to us from Asia. Samsung and Huawei are in the lead, but neither Sony nor HTC should be forgotten. The aggressive policy of releasing new versions and constant small improvements have contributed to making these devices increasingly desirable. From affordable versions to expensive flagship phones that can stand side by side with the iPhone, these Asian tigers have paved the way for Android and helped spread its popularity to all walks of life.
On the other hand, the decline in the market share of iOS can be attributed to quite expensive devices that as such are reserved for that part of the world with a slightly higher standard and better purchasing power, which is of course in the minority. Every new iPhone that appears is more expensive than its predecessor, and the quality and new innovations can hardly justify the high prices, so it is not surprising that the competition manages to get its share of the cake.
Unfortunately, Windows Phone OS is definitely losing the race. Although devices that have this mobile OS are still appearing, it is increasingly difficult for them to keep up with competitors, especially with the large number of applications that can be found in Google Play and App Store stores. It looks like Microsoft engineers will have to go back to the “drawing board” again and put in a little more effort if they want to make a really good mobile OS.
Which mobile OS is the latest?
Our next question is which mobile OS is the latest, or which one are we updating the most? Here, too, the situation is a little different.
- The champion is iOS – as many as 78% of users already have the latest iOS 10 (which came out in October), 16% use last year’s iOS 9, and only 5% of users still have an older version.
mobile-os-ios10addoption- Android users lag a lot when the mobile OS needs to be refreshed. Still, the most prevalent version is 4.4 KitKat with 25% of users, followed by Marshmallow (Android 6) with 24% of users, and the latest version of Android, Nougat (also released in October), has only 0.3% of users.
Why is it like that? The answer is simple: here’s what hardware support and control of both segments (both hardware and software) from the same house means.
What does the future hold for us when it comes to the mobile OS?
The current situation, as well as predictions, are in favor of Android! Namely, currently, 85.3% of users have Android devices, while only 13.9% use iOS. Similar statistics are predicted to be in 2020, when iOS market share increases by only 0.3%, while Android continues to grab forward.
Our conclusion is simple: mobile OSes are definitely something that will continue to capture our attention, and in response to the question “Which mobile OS do you use?” it will be heard more and more often that it is an Android. What we would like to hear is that this is one of the fresher versions of Android, so we hope that Google will do something to increase the trend of refreshment when it comes to this mobile OS.