Two of the most popular mobile operating systems are from Google and Apple. In this video, you’ll learn about some differences between Android and iOS, as well as some common features that the mobile devices share.
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There are certainly many companies that provide operating systems for mobile devices, and in this video, we’re going to focus on two of the largest, Google Android and Apple iOS. We often refer to the Android operating system as Google Android because Google is the company that started that operating system, but it’s actually managed by a group called the Open Handset Alliance.
The operating system in itself is based on Linux, Linux operating system running in a mobile device, and it is supported by many, many different manufacturers across many different devices. That was the idea from the beginning, is that Google would create the operating system and then allow many other companies to be able to take advantage of that.
You’ll see a very different philosophy with Apple’s iOS. IOS is an Apple only operating system. It is not open source. It is completely proprietary to Apple. You’ll see this iOS software running on iPhone and iPad devices, and it’s based on the Unix operating system. One important thing to consider is that you’ll only see Apple iOS on Apple devices. You do not see iOS licensed to any other company to put on any other device. If you’re running Apple iOS, then you’re also using it on Apple hardware.
Whether you’re running Android or whether you’re running iOS, you’ll see a number of similarities in the user interface. It’s certainly very graphical, like we can see in this Android operating system. There’s icons on the screen that can launch different applications, and the interface itself is one you can click, move around, and for instance, go into Settings and change some of the display settings just by clicking through and choosing some of the options that might be on the screen. And then you can make your modifications, we’ll click OK, and the buttons at the bottom will either take you back one menu, take you to the Home screen, or you can click on a tiled view to show all of the different applications that you happen to be running at any particular time.
Apple’s iOS is also very graphical, with icons on the screen. There’s a Home button at the bottom. We can click on the different icons and drill down into different things that we might want to change and modify, and of course, use that Home button to get right back to the home again. These operating systems are very graphical.
There’s not a lot of room for keyboards, although virtual keyboards do slide up so that you can type things, but a lot of the interface is based on your fingers and moving things around on the screen that way. You can move around and zoom in and zoom out of different things in the applications. It allows you to use the functionality of the mobile device without needing to type or click a lot of buttons. And both the Android and iOS operating systems are very focused on the mobile user and how we can take advantage of these computing environments without having a large device to type on.
If you’re a developer and you wanted to create applications for the Android operating system, you would need the Android Software Developer’s Kit, or the SDK. And you can build these applications on Windows, on Mac OS X, on Linux. There are different versions of the SDK that you can run in almost any operating system.
Once you create the applications, you can make them available for download or for sale in an online service called Google Play. This used to be called the Android Market. You can also download applications from third party sites like Amazon’s App Store, and if a developer simply wanted to make the application available on his website, you could go directly to his website and install the application from there. If you’re installing an Android application from outside of Google Play, you may hear this referred to as side loading.
In Apple’s iOS, the model is a lot different. The applications can only be developed on Apple’s Mac OS X, and it uses the iOS Software Developers Kit. The applications, before they get to the end users, must be approved by Apple. Apple has the control on whether an application can be made available to the public or not, and once they make that application available, it can only be obtained through Apple’s App Store. You can’t go to a third party site or to the developer site. You must always go to the App Store to be able to install those applications.
If you go back a number of years with these mobile devices, you may recall some of these older resistive touch screens that we used to use that would get out of calibration. You try to click on something on the screen and it wasn’t quite clicking. You’d have to click higher or lower or to the side which wasn’t quite lining up. So you would perform a calibration and then when you clicked on the screen, everything was lined up again. You’ll notice that today’s capacitive touch screens don’t require this extra calibration check and the constant calibration that we used to do, so there’s one process that we no longer have to worry about with these capacitive touch screens.
One feature you’ll find in most mobile devices is the ability for it to know whether you’re holding it in a Portrait mode or whether you’ve turned it sideways and you’re using it in a Landscape mode. And as you move the phone back and forth, it automatically recognizes which way you’re holding it and it will adjust the screen so that it will work properly. You see this a lot when you’re taking videos and you’re using pictures. It knows exactly how you’re holding it.
And it does that with a built-in device called an accelerometer. This accelerometer can detect what orientation things are in because it knows where the gravity is coming from. It can detect which way is up, and it simply shifts everything in the phone so that you can view it in the easiest way.
Newer mobile devices take that idea one step further, and inside of the device is a gyroscope, which not only detects which way is up, it also can detect pitch and roll and yaw. So you now have the combination of a gyroscope and an accelerometer inside of these mobile devices, and you see a lot of these being used for newer games and technologies, for instance, that allow you to get panoramas. And the phone knows exactly where it is in space and is able to stitch together those pictures and give you a perfect panorama.
I travel a lot with my mobile device, so one of the features I’m always using is the built-in GPS receiver. That stands for Global Positioning System. It was a technology that was created by the US Department of Defense. They shot a lot of satellites into orbit, and as I’m making this video, there are over 30 satellites that are constantly moving around the earth.
To be able to get navigation on my mobile device, I have to see at least four of these. Usually, I’m able to see a lot more satellites than that in the sky, but all I need is four of them. And with those four, I can see the longitude, the latitude, and the altitude of where I happen to be, and it’s all based on the differences in timing that I’m receiving from those signals where the satellites happen to be.
This means that I can use my mobile device to determine where I happen to be on the map. I can do turn by turn directions if I happen to be driving somewhere, and my mobile device doesn’t necessarily only rely on GPS. In some devices I can also take advantage of triangulating different signals from the mobile towers wherever I happen to be located, and some devices can also associate where I am with known Wi-Fi connections as well.