Smartphones can’t operate without an operating system (OS), in fact it’s been two decades since the release of the first ever smartphone OS, but what can we expect to see in the future?
First let’s take a look back at the systems we have seen, and how they’ve developed.
There are four major mobile operating systems currently battling it out for dominance in the current smartphone market.
Android, which is developed by Google, was first released in 2008 on the T-Mobile G1 smartphone and featured a pull down notifications window.
From here Android adopted codenames for each version, giving updates a more comical feel, basing all of the systems' names on types of dessert.
This included Android CupCake, Donut, Éclair, FroYo, GingerBread, HoneyComb, IceCreamSandwich, JellyBean and KitKat, all going up in alphabetical order.
Behind the names the system was quickly developing, gaining an on-screen keyboard in 2009, front facing camera support in 2010, face unlock in 2012 and most recently Google Now on the home screen in 2013.
The system is the most widely used at the moment, thanks to its simple development options and open policy to nearly all manufacturers.
iOS was developed by Apple to work in sync with the iPhone, and is unavailable on other manufacturers' smartphones.
It was started up in 2007 to coincide with the first iPhone release and believe it or not, didn’t feature 3G, multitasking or copy and paste functions.
Every year since, we have been gifted with a new iOS update to go along with a new handset, with Apple developing the system superbly.
Updates included functions like the App Store (iOS 2), copy and paste (iOS 3), Facetime (iOS 4), Siri (iOS 5), maps (iOS 6) and the Control Centre (iOS 7).
iOS focuses on a user-friendly design and simple operations to succeed and it does so with consummate ease, bringing hi-tech features into an easy to use style.
It is the second most popular software on the market, despite only being available on a small number of handsets.
The two other popular operating systems are the Windows Phone OS and BlackBerry OS, both of which haven’t seen the success of iOS or Android.
BlackBerry is struggling to keep up, and is now the least popular system of the four, whilst Windows Phone has shown massive growth over the past 12 months thanks to its smooth and responsive design.
Tizen is the next OS in line to challenge the top four systems, developed by Samsung and Intel in a joint venture.
It’s a Linux based OS for smartphones and tablets that will boast a powerful user interface, 3D window effects, advanced multimedia, multitasking and multitouch, along with a chorus of other features.
It is expected to be revealed at MWC 2014 in Barcelona, and the first handset to feature the system will be the Samsung ZEQ 9000.
If the system proves a success, Samsung will reportedly base the majority of its new handsets on it. It shouldn’t be too hard for Samsung to switch to considering its similarities to Android, of which most Samsung handsets currently work on.
Tizen is expected to be available by Spring 2014 and could well become the fifth major OS available on the market.
Hopefully it takes off, and offers us yet another brilliant OS to work our smartphones on.
There are hundreds of features we could see grace our smartphones in the future, but here are the main ones:
CES revealed that the next big thing could be a bespoke operating system just for your car.Linking your smartphone to your car could be very beneficial, especially with features like maps, which could make sat-navs obsolete.
This has been heavily discussed in current systems, but if we could pay for everything through our phone we wouldn’t need to bother ourselves with cash and card anymore.
Linking our smartphone with our bodies has been done with recent software and hardware development, just look at TouchID for proof.
Motorola has developed password-saving tattoos, as well as digestable pills enabling you to unlock your smartphone, so the scope for exansion on this front is immeasurable.
But imagine having a chip in your body to help work your phone? Maybe even having in built headphones in your ears? It sounds crazy, but could well become a feature in the not so distant future.
Written by Luke Hatfield