webOS vs iOS vs Android
The use of mobile devices is rapidly gaining popularity. This has made the competition between rival companies that produce mobile operating systems a fierce battle to gain supremacy. webOS developed by HP (Hewlett-Packard), iOS developed by Apple, and Android developed by Google have become major players in the mobile operating system market. Although, these operating systems may be better than each other in different aspects or areas, all three operating systems are regarded very highly by the mobile devices user community.
webOS is a Linux based mobile operating system. It is a propriety operating system developed by HP. Actually, Palm introduced webOS in January 2009 (for Palm Pre devices, released on Sprint), which preceded Palm OS. webOS instantly gained positive reception due to its usability, Web 2.0 integration, open architecture and multitasking features. But HP bought Palm in 2010, and webOS was mentioned to be the main source of motivation for purchasing Palm. webOS 2.2 and webOS 3.0 were introduced in February 2011, with HP Veer/HP Pre 3 smatphones and HP TouchPad tablet computers, respectively. HP is planning to unveil a version of webOS at the end of 2011 that would run within windows, so that it could be installed on all HP machines.
iOS (previously called iPhone OS) is a mobile operating system developed by Apple. iOS is a direct derivation of Apple’s Mac OS X, and it is a UNIX-like operating system. Originally, iOS came out with iPhones, but later it was installed on iPod touch, iPad and Apple TV devices. iOS can be installed on 3rd party hardware without acquiring a license from Apple. Now users can download more than half a million applications for iOS from Apple App store. Furthermore, iOS is responsible for more than half of the mobile web consuming (except iPad) in North America. iOS interface is based on multi-touch gestures including sliders, switches and buttons, which provide immediate responses to user’s input. Users can use interactions such as swipes, taps and pinches to communicate with the iOS. Some applications are “shake-sensitive”, meaning that certain operation like undo and rotating can be performed by just shaking the device. iOS contains four layers of abstraction called Core OS, Core Services, Media and Cocoa Touch. iOS requires around 600MB of storage to operate.
Android is a mobile software stack made up of an operating system, middleware and applications. The company Android is its initial developer, while Google purchased it in 2005. Android operating system is based on Linux. Members of OHA (Open Handset Alliance), which includes the company Google, released Android, while AOSP (Android Open Source Project) is responsible for its further maintenance. Android is estimated to be the most popular platform for smartphones in 2010. There are more than a quarter of a million applications (“Apps”) available for Android, and this number keeps growing thanks to the large community of developers dedicated for developing apps. Apps can be downloaded from either the Android Market (the online app store run by Google) or from the 3rd party sites.
Development on Android is primarily Java based. A large portion of Java 5.0 libraries are supported in Android. Many of the Java libraries that are not supported either have better replacements (other similar libraries) or are simply not needed (such as libraries for printing, etc.). Libraries like java.awt and java.swing are not supported because Android has other libraries for user interfaces. Android SDK supports other third party libraries like org.blues (Bluetooth support). OHA is made up of many corporations dedicated for improving open standards for mobile devices. Android code was released as free and open source under the Apache license. Ultimately, Android code is compiled in to Davilk opcodes. Davilk is a special virtual machine optimized for mobile devices with limited resources such as power, CPU and memory.
What is the difference between webOS and iOS and Android?
Although all three platforms/operating systems are comparable to each other, they do have their highs and lows. iOS is said to have the best, most fluid, cleanly built and most intuitive user interface that can even be easily used by a first-timer. webOS is considered not far behind in terms of usability, but may need some getting used to for a newbie. But, Android is clearly in the third position when it comes to the user interface. This differentiation is made by only comparing each other and it is important to note that all three user interfaces are very good. One reason for Android’s lag in this area is that Android 2.x is not suitable for tablets (Google admits this), but are still been used with them, though Android 3.x is the tablet specific OS.
Android is considered the clear winner in the customization battle. Users can customize almost anything on Android, while other two does not offer many options in customization. iOS allows customization of only the app layout, whereas webOS is the one with the least amount of allowed customizations. One of the best features of Android is its support for Widgets, which allows looking at everything you need to know at a glance, rather than having to open and close apps (as in iOS).
In terms of email, users tend to prefer the simplicity that iOS brings, but webOS’s cards interface (that allows flipping back and forth between a web page and a new email) is considered more suitable for email. However, copy-and-paste feature in iOS is the best out of the three, which means flipping back and forth is rarely required anyway.
HP TouchPad and HP Palm Pre 3 (which runs webOS 3.0) offers very slick and seamless multitasking, though Android is not far behind in switching between apps really fast. But, iOS is far behind in multitasking abilities. However, iOS is the winner when it comes to the app stores. iOS app store has an incredibly large collection (more than 500 thousand) of apps. However, it is a closed market. Android has half that amount of apps, but sometimes the quality can be questionable. Meanwhile webOS app store has only a few thousands of apps available to download.