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Which Mobile Phone Should I Get? Why Not Start With the Operating System?

Updated on November 1, 2016

operating system (OS)

the main program in a computer or device that controls the way the computer/device works and makes it possible for other programs to function.

So what cellular device is right for you? Chances are some of how you make your decision is going to be based on the device's operating system and what that system can offer you as a user. Really and truly, it comes down to individual need and personal preference. Let's examine three users and why they are avid about their choice of operating system.

Three Users

Gary is a 30 year old DBA (database administrator) for a higher ed organization. Even though still relatively young, Gary spends his days wading through difficult code building complicated programs that are essential to the smooth running of his establishment – so essential that Gary’s edicts often come down from the org president. Engulfed in the techno world, Gary often sits in the dark, wearing a hoodie, lines of code strung before him on the computer screen. His choice of mobile operating system – Google's Android.

Nikki is a graduate student with stellar grades whose side job is selling makeup and jewelry to attentive home party goers. Always tech savvy, as a teen she figured out how to work an old machine running DOS in her parent's basement. At 5' 10", she strolls stylishly around her campus wearing knee high boots and fashionable jackets. She is a very busy wife and mother who requires ease and options when it comes to her cell phone because she uses it as a mobile office. Nikki always carries the latest device. Her choice of mobile operating system – Microsoft's Windows.

Dan is a soft spoken classroom technologist in his 50’s with an enthusiasm about technology that would make him appear more a salesman than a techno trainer. He is well-liked by faculty for his undying patience which makes him excellent at training users on the software and devices his university procures. He cannot resist taking a minute to show a user the latest, greatest benefits of his favorite devices - anything Apple. When he's away from his office helping faculty, which is often, his desk phone rings as a "soft phone" on his iPad. His choice of mobile operating system – Apple's iOS.

Gary - Android

If you ask Gary why he loves Android, he'll tell you what any programmer might - "It's open source and easy to hack on." That said, Caddie Thompson, CNBC news says, "One of the biggest differences between Apple's iPhone and Android devices is that the latter offers more options when it comes to customizing the software."

Besides a better notification bar and the ability to import photos for contacts, gushes that, "In Android, your app world is your oyster." Why? Because it's open to developers to try their creative hand at constructing mobile device apps. Google's play store has far more options than competitors and many of these are free.

"With the KitKat release of Android," says CNET's Stephen Shankland, "Google updated a programming interface called WebView so it now employs Chrome instead of the earlier WebKit-based browser. That enables apps with many modern browser features such as WebRTC for real time audio and video chat, WebGL for accelerated 2D and 3D graphics, and a full-screen option." If you do not understand this - it means that KitKat is bigger and better!

Gary is currently carrying a Droid 4 which he admits is in need of upgrading, however, he's holding on desperately to a grandfathered Verizon Wireless unlimited data package on his phone that no longer exists for current devices. His other stipulation for a new phone - a sliding QWERTY keyboard.

This isn't a battle at all - it's a lifestyle choice. . .
This isn't a battle at all - it's a lifestyle choice. . . | Source

Nikki - Windows

When it comes to her Windows phone, Nikki says, "I love how everything is right at my fingertips." Admitting that she doesn't have a lot of spare time to "mess around" , Nikki's favorite feature is "Live Tiles". With Live Tiles, Nikki says, " can arrange and re-size tiles on your front screen to meet your specific needs. For example: If I want to see the weather - I don't have to click on the tile - it scrolls the temp..." She also loves the simple notifications from her social networks.

"The beauty of Windows Phone is also the support," says Rich Edmonds on WPCentral. "With a huge software company behind the platform," he goes on to say that, "Microsoft has years of experience when it comes to operating system development and deployment, which surely gives the company an upper-hand in the competitive mobile industry."

For Nikki, it's her Nokia Lumnia 1020 that makes her life easier. Her third Windows phone, she loves the 42 mega-pixel camera accessorized with a grip case. The grip case turns her phone into a traditional looking camera, with an extra battery and the ability to be hooked to a tri-pod to capture, she says, "'s precious moments.

Everything we place in our Quality World is need satisfying.
Everything we place in our Quality World is need satisfying. | Source

Dan - iOS

"I like the consistency in enabling people using iPhone, iTouch, iPad Mini, and iPad as all have the same setup." says Dan, "compared to Android which have many operating systems and many vendors that result in possible exponential setups."

Dan also points out important statistics regarding mobile malware (malicious mobile viruses) on devices. "In August 2013," says Dan, "the U.S. government found that 0.7% of all mobile malware affects iOS, while Android accounts for 79%."

According to Dan, Apple iOS has the widest range of quality educational apps on the planet as well as the widest range of book vendors. This would be important to someone like Dan who instructs faculty on the use of technology in education.

And Apple cares more about design standards, says Andrew Dachis, "Though Google has made great strides in recent years," he writes, "it's clear that Apple cares about it more than pretty much any other tech company around. While their design sometimes fall short of expectations, they repeatedly deliver a consistently pleasant experience."

Dan's device of choice - why the latest, greatest iPad, of course.


When I started interviewing for this article, I initially picked three tech savvy individuals who were all avid fans of different operating systems. I originally wanted to title this article something like "OS - The Battle Continues" and hence the Battlestar Galactica image I attempted to create as the main image associated with this article.

But as answers to my questions started coming back to me, I realized, this isn't a battle at all. I chose my three interviewees because I knew each of them where very enthusiastic about the OS they used, but what I discovered was that their enthusiasm really came down to a making a choice that fit their needs, personalities and lifestyles.

In fact, I couldn't help but research choice and how it was translated psychologically. Psychologist William Glasser, developed Choice Theory and one of the key concepts of Choice Theory is The Quality World.

What Choice Theory says about the Quality World is that each of us develops a unique Quality World which is the source of all motivation. As we live our lives and interact with others, we each build this unique Quality World that includes the people, activities, values, and beliefs that are most important to us as individuals.

Everything we place in our Quality World is need satisfying - hence when it comes to choices - we choose that which satisfies our needs. Perhaps further interpretation is best left to the world's psychologists...

In conclusion, all operating systems are not created equal. Which OS you pick will depend on what your lifestyle needs are and what you are looking for in smart device technology. Certainly, there are numerous possibilities and as long as there are, the battle of choice will continue with great momentum.

What is your operating system choice?

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