All About Operating Systems, Their Uses and Importance

An operating system can be considered as the base of any device that you can interact with. It may be your laptop/personal computer on which you are reading this or may be your personal phone, iPhone or any personal, commercial or home based device that you have and use it in your daily life. Now, let us know more about what it is and how it works.

It is basically a software component, which acts as an interface between the hardware device like the computer/laptop and you. The operating systems can be broadly classified into four types depending on the applications supported by them and the type of computer systems they control. They are: Real Time OS, Single User-Multi-tasking, Single-user-single task, and Multi-user.

This operating system component of your computer enables you to have a quick and easy interaction with the hardware. Since, the hardware cannot understand the English language there must be something to make it interactive and this is exactly what an OS does and that too very efficiently. It only understands the binary language, but at a faster rate. You will be able to do your entire personal or impersonal tasks with the help of the operating system. It is usually different for different types of hardware and they are as mentioned below:

Operating systems for mobile / handheld devices

As you know, an operating system is necessary for any device to run and the functionality of them depends upon the device for which they are developed by the group of developers. A mobile that works for all the mobile devices is called mobile OS (operating system). Various mobile hardware manufacturers have developed their own OS for their mobile phones.

Various corporations present a number of handheld devices for the users. All of them have their OS developed by themselves. Similarly, all other companies that offering their own handheld devices or mobile phones configure their devices in such a way that no other company’s OS could work with them. Today, the mobile OS have become capable of computation equal to the personal computers.

Operating system for computers / laptops

Operating system is also developed and used differently with all types of the non-moving computing devices. They are developed basically in following the base platforms or in simple language can be understood as the categories. First one is under Linux platform and the second is UNIX and the third one is windows environment or windows platform. Linux has been developed by various freelancers and hence, it comes under open source and free software development and distribution scheme.

Windows OS is new and the first OS to support graphical user interface. It was initially launched in DOS (disk OS ) environment to work with commands only. It has also some versions to act as server called windows server. Nowadays, most of the things are on mobile environment that is why, the new windows operating system is developed to be compatible with both mobile as well as personal handheld devices.

The War of Mobile Operating System

Stewart Brand a famous American writer and editor of the “Whole Earth Catalog” has said “once a new technology rolls over you, if you are not part of the stream roller, you are part of the road”. Most of the Mobile Operating System Developers must have perceived that, this notion is going to be true for them as well, and if they need to win this battle they should do something which is beyond the imagination of their competitor.

Before digging deep into this Mobile OS war we must know what an operating system is all about and what it has to do with mobile device. An Operating System is a connecting link between user and the device. Here the device can be your desktop, laptop or even your mobile. Operating System is a software responsible for controlling the hardware of your device. When the device is a mobile, the OS is called as Mobile Operating System.

Initially or just 10 years back mobile appeared in the market as a device to stay connected with your colleagues and well-wishers while you are in move. Initially mobiles were not equipped with all those latest technologies and features that we can see now. However with the advent of 3g technologies it has changed the way people communicate with each other. Now, it is no longer only a device that enables you to have a voice with your colleagues and friends, but you can listen music and songs, you can download and watch your favourite movies and videos, you can check and update your e-mails, can use various social networking sites like Facebook, Orkut, Myspace and above all, you can do almost all your internet related works.

Now mobile has become a multipurpose device and a true friend who always remains with you. You can survive without your credit card but imagine what will happen if you don’t have your mobile handset with you. You become physically paralyzed. Now a day people are crazy of latest versions of mobile which are equipped with new technologies and latest features, and it has become penchant for masses.

This is why various brands like Apple, Nokia, Samsung, Rim and Microsoft are in a mad race to optimize and equip their mobile and mobile operating system with latest technologies and new features to allure customers. Major brands and competitors which are in this race are:

• Apple- i-phone operating system

• Nokia- Maemo

• Samsung- Bada

• Google- Android

• Palm- Palm web OS

• Microsoft- Windows mobile

• RIM- Blackberry

The battle started 5 years back when developers realized the potential market available in the mobile operating system arena. Initially there were very few companies in the mobile operating system market, and among them Symbian enjoyed an overt leadership with approximately 50% market hold. Rest, 50% was captured by other players including Apple with 13%, and RIM Blackberry 20 %. But the real compitition and struggle started in 2007 when Apple launched a device with blending of touch screen and an optimized interface based on Smart-phone platforms. Apple’s this approach has changed the mobile operating system market scenario and all other companies wake up after getting this hard kick from Apple.

Now, Nokia, Samsung, Palm, Microsoft, RIM all are in a mad race to equip their handset and mobile operating system with latest technologies and unique features to stay ahead of their competitors. Finally Search-giant Google also step in into the race with its long awaited Android operating system to allure the customers. Now ball is in the consumer’s hand and the companies will have to wait and watch to see which one of these companies get accepted and which one gets rejection.