The operating system on mobile devices and many consumer electronics, called an embedded operating system, resides on a read-only memory chip. Standard embedded operating system now includes Windows Embedded CE, Windows Mobile, Palm OS, iPhone OS, Google Android, BlackBerry, embedded Linux and Symbian OS. The following sections discuss these operating systems, most of which work on smart phone.
Windows Embedded CE
Windows Embedded CE is a reduced window operating system designed to work on communication, entertainment and computing devices with limited functionality. Examples of devices using Windows CE VoIP phones, Embedded industrial control devices, digital cameras, POS (point-of-sale) terminals, automated teller machines, digital photo frames, fuel pumps, security robots, handheld navigation devices, portable media players, ticket machines, and computerized sewing machines.
Windows Embedded CE is a GUI that supports color, sound, multitasking, multimedia, e-mail, Internet access, and Web browsing. A built-in file viewer allows users to view files created in popular application programs such Word, Excel, and Power Point.
Devices with Windows Embedded CE can communicate wirelessly with computers and other devices via Bluetooth or other wireless technologies, until the device is equipped with the necessary communication hardware.
Windows Mobile, an operating system based on Windows Embedded CE, includes functionality, program, and a user interface designed for specific types of smart phone and PDAs. Devices with a touch screen use Windows Mobile Professional , and those without touch screen use Windows Mobile Standard.
With the Windows Mobile operating system and a compatible device, users have access to all the basic PIM (personal information manager) functions such as contact lists, schedules, tasks, calendars, and notes. Information on the mobile device easily synchronizes with a personal computer or prints on a printer using a cable or a wireless technology.
Windows Mobile also provides numerous additional features that allow users to check e-mail, browser the Web, listen to music, take pictures or record video, watch a video, send and receive text messages and instant messages, record a voice message, manage finances, view a map, read an e-book, or play a game. Many programs, such as Word, Excel, Outlook, and Internet Explorer, have scaled-down versions that run with Windows Mobile. Some Windows Mobile devices also support handwriting and voice input.
A competing operating system to Windows Mobile is Palm OS, which runs on smart phones and PDAs. With Palm OS devices, users manage schedules and contacts, phone messages, notes, task and address lists, and appointments. Information on the mobile device easily synchronizes with a personal computer or prints on a printer using a cable or a wireless technology.
Many Palm OS devices allow users to connect wirelessly to the Internet; browse the Web; send and receive e-mail messages, text messages, and instant messages; listen to music; record voice messages; and view digital photos. Most have touch screens. The latest version of Palm OS allows for biometric identification and supports the use of smart cards.
iPhone OS, developed by Apple, is an operating system for the iPhone and iPod touch, Apple’s smart phone and touch screen portable media player, respectively. These devices are multi-touch, meaning they recognize multiple pints of contact. This feature allows users to interact with the iPhone OS device using finger motions such as touching a button on the screen, slide your finger to drag an object and pinching or unpinching your fingers to zoom in or out.
With the iPhone OS, users can manage contacts and notes, send and receive e-mail and text messages, view a compass, connect to the Internet wirelessly and browse the Web, check stock, access maps and get directions, listen to music, watch movies and videos, and display photos. It also has free Wi-Fi at the iTunes Music Store.
The BlackBerry operating system runs on handheld devices supplied by RIM (Research in Motion). BlackBerry devices provide functionality of PIM, such as managing schedules, contacts, appointments and phone functionality. Also offer wireless capability that includes sending e-mails, SMS and instant messages; connect to the Internet and browse the Web; and access to Bluetooth devices. Some BlackBerry devices allow users to take images, play music, and access maps and directions.
Information on the device easily synchronizes wireless with a computer or other BlackBerry device. Many BlackBerry devices include a mini-keyboard; some have touch screens.
Google Android is an operating system designed by Google for mobile devices. Used on more than 20 different types of mobile devices, Google Android allows programmers to design programs specifically for devices supporting this operating system. Google Android contains features such as access to email accounts, an alarm clock, video capture, access to Google Apps, Wi-Fi access, and easy Web browsing.
Embedded Linux is a scaled-down Linux operating system designed for smart phones, PDAs, portable media players, Internet and telephones, and many other types of devices and computers requiring an embedded operating system. Devices with embedded Linux offer calendar and address book and other PIM features, touch screen and handwriting recognition. Many also allow you to connect to music, and send e-mail and instant messages. Devices that use embedded Linux synchronize with desktop computers using a variety of technologies including Bluetooth.
Symbian OS is a multi-tasking operating system open source designed for smart phones. In addition to making phone calls, users of Symbian OS can maintain contact lists; save appointments; Surf the Web; and send and receive text and picture messages, e-mail messages and faxes via a smart phone. Users center data by pressing keys on the keypad or keyboard, touching the screen, writing on the screen with the stylus, or speaking into the smart phone. Symbian OS allows users to communicate wirelessly.