One of the biggest and most expensive wars being fought in America right now is a clash between three big tech companies: Apple, Google, and Microsoft. The wireless phone industry has risen to be worth billions of dollars and the three tech companies and looking to get a slice of it.
The Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project released a study earlier this year claiming that now more than half of all American adults now own a smartphone and only 9% do not own a cell phone at all. Back in May of 2011, only 35% of adults had a smartphone and more than 15% did not own a cell phone.
Of course, the three companies operating systems and selection of phones all have its advantages and disadvantages and it can be a daunting task on how to choose among them.
Android, the Linux-based platform made by Google, holds the largest share of the cellphone market with 51.8% of smart phones using the operating system, according to a July 2013 report by comScore, an Internet technology company that analyzes data in the digital world.
The first Android smart phone was the T-Mobile G1 (also known as the HTC Dream) released in October 2008. It was against the well-established smart phone platforms Blackberry and iPhone.
The Android operating system is currently at 4.3, also known as Jelly Bean. The next update, 4.4 or KitKat, will be released soon.
The Android operating system was able to overcome its biggest competitor the iPhone through several features. Unlike the Apple’s iOS, which is exclusively found on the iPhone, the Android operating system is on various phones made by a variety of companies like Samsung, HTC, and LG.
Other features include alternate keyboards like Swype, expandable storage and battery, and greater customizability of the phone’s interface.
Along with the greater customizability, better processing power and a greater viability is what attracted junior Nicholas Mederos to his Samsung Galaxy S4.
“I use to have an iPhone 4 immediately before this and I started realizing that it started basically not working as well it should be around the time the iPhone 5 was coming out,” said Mederos. “I wanted something with a bit more customization and processing power. I found the S4 and it has been perfect. The technology that it has took years to get to, so it will be a couple of years before it is actually outdated.
Mederos does have one regret switching to the Android system: the difficulty of bringing all of his music bought on iTunes over to the Android phone.
Mederos also owns a Samsung Galaxy tablet.
The iOS software, created by Apple, is exclusively available on Apple’s iPhone platform, but still has 40.4% of the market and still creates media frenzies and long lines each time a new one is released.
The first iPhone was released on June 29, 2007 and revolutionized the smart phone market previously dominated by Blackberry. At first, it was available only on AT&T, but has expanded to all four major carriers in the United States. 6 generations of the iPhone later, the latest versions of the iPhone are the premium 5S and the colorful, more budget-friendly 5C. The latest version of the operating system, iOS 7, was just released on September 18th to mixed reviews.
Many appeals to the iPhone are a clean and user-friendly interface, high-quality apps, and the quality associated with the Apple brand name. It also works well with the other Apple products like the iPad and Mac computers.
The great connectivity among the iPhone, iPad, and Mac computer is one of the greatest attractions to the iPhone for senior Samantha Buzelle, who has had the iPhone 4S for a little over a year.
“As soon as I put something on my phone, it goes on my phone, computer, and my iPad,” said Buzelle. “Just having that accessibility really helps.”
Other Apple services, like iMessages, also increase Buzelle’s experience with the iPhone.
The Windows phone operating system is the latest contender on the smartphone battlefield and currently performing the worst of the 3 in terms of sales. According to the same comScore report as earlier, Windows phones make up for only 3% of the market. Windows has not given up, however, and still vying for a greater presence in the smartphones with a heavy advertising campaign.
The current Windows Phone operating system is called Windows Phone 8 and an update codenamed Windows Phone Blue is currently underdevelopment. HTC, Nokia, and Samsung are the companies currently making smartphones with the Windows Phone 8 operating software.
Some of the best features of the Windows Phone have been a clean, customizable interface, integration with the Xbox Live game service, and a mobile version of Microsoft Office. However, it has been highly criticized for its lack of third-party app support; one notable app that is missing from the platform is the popular photo-sharing service Instagram.
“I’m an aesthetics person so because of the color scheme and the fact that tiles are so easy to use, I love it,” said sophomore Michelle Perez, who owns a Nokia Lumia 900. “I can also access any radio station through the Zune software.”
Perez also owns a tablet with the Windows software and a MacBook Pro. (Link)