The competition between smartphone and tablet operating systems has been getting increasingly fierce in the last few years. From Apple’s iPhone system through to Google’s more open source oriented Android, and Window’s development of its Phone 7, 7.5 and future 8 platforms, users have to consider everything from interface through to open source applications and portability across platforms. Specific comparisons between Android’s 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich and Windows’ 7.5 Mango platforms particularly demonstrate how the two provide varying strengths and weaknesses.
In terms of both phones’ general look and interface, Android’s Linus OS and the Windows OS both score highly in terms of flowing design, although Android is more customisable. Windows score points though with their Live Tiles display, which allows for faster multitasking between different elements of the phone.
One major weakness against Windows 7 and 7.5 at the moment is the lack of applicability to tablet devices. Windows will be introducing this feature with the Windows 8 OS and tablet sometime in the near future. By comparison, Android’s more open source emphasis means that it can be adapted to multiple platforms, as well as being suitable for customisation to everything from wristwatches to televisions.
At present, Windows 7 supports 4G in HSPA and WiMax forms, but lacks Android’s wider extension across different phone providers. The recent introduction of Android 4.0 through the Galaxy Nexus phone has also overshadowed Windows’ use of the Lumia 800 as a less widely available option.
The sheer number of apps for Android make it difficult to compare to Windows’ still limited system. Like Apple, Windows are aiming for a proprietary system that allows them greater end to end control over the apps they sell. Android’s ability to handle multiple apps, albeit through its protected Sandbox feature, does make it potentially more vulnerable to risk though.
Both phones also benefit from their parents’ links and brand recognition. Windows can draw on Microsoft Office Suite and Zune, while the Google search engine and book features like Google Books are well integrated into Android. Windows users might find using Bing as a default search engine more challenging.
Android’s open source design again makes it ideal for use across different platforms and screen sizes. However, Microsoft does have the advantage of being able to connect phones to existing proprietary systems like XBox Live.
Android’s Linux architecture and open source approach gives it the advantage over Windows, which like the iPhone, only really achieves individual flexibility when jailbroken.
A key feature of smartphones ability to process large amounts of data and access online software, phones and tablets can access Google Sync and Windows’ SkyDrive services. The choice between the two arguably then comes down to preference for either brand.
While there are a lot more features of the two systems that can be compared, it is fair to say that a choice currently comes down to Android’s more established identity and open source focus, and a trust in Windows’ ability to develop Windows 7 and 7.5 into a more fully integrated Windows 8 platform.
The main advantages to Windows at present are arguably synchronisation with a Windows laptop or desktop, as well as Windows only features. Moreover, both Android and Windows still have to demonstrate that they can overtake Apple at the top of the smartphone and tablet market.
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