Operating Systems that power a Smartphone, Part 2 – Conclusion

Operating systems that power smartphones - conclusion

Operating systems that power smartphones - conclusion

This is the second in a three-part series on Operating Systems that power a Smartphone. In Part 1, we focussed on introducing the concept of a Smartphone in general and identifying a couple of operating systems like iOS, Android and Windows Mobile. Here we talk about other operating systems such as Blackberry, Bada, Maemo, Symbian and WebOS. And Part 3 includes an infographic on the history and facts related to the same.


BlackBerry OS is a proprietary mobile operating system, developed by Research In Motion for its BlackBerry line of smartphone handheld devices. The operating system provides multitasking and supports specialized input devices that have been adopted by RIM for use in its handhelds, particularly the trackwheel, trackball, and most recently, the trackpad and touchscreen.

The BlackBerry platform is perhaps best known for its native support for corporate email, through MIDP 1.0 and, more recently, a subset of MIDP 2.0, which allows complete wireless activation and synchronization with Microsoft Exchange, Lotus Domino, or Novell GroupWise email, calendar, tasks, notes, and contacts, when used in conjunction with BlackBerry Enterprise Server. The operating system also supports WAP 1.2.

BlackBerry devices is a proprietary multitasking environment developed by RIM for its own mobiles, however blackberry email client is available on some phones by HTC, Nokia, Siemens and Sony Ericsson


Samsung bada is a smartphone platform released in 2010. The word “bada” means “ocean” in Korean. Samsung Wave is the first bada-powered phone.

Bada, as Samsung defines it, is not an operating system, but a platform with a kernel configurable architecture, which allows the use of either proprietary Real-time operating system (RTOS) kernel, or the Linux kernel.[1] According to copyrights displayed by Samsung Wave S8500, it uses code from FreeBSD, NetBSD and OpenBSD, although other phones might use Linux instead.

Bada is only found in Samsung phones.


Nokia developed Maemo in collaboration with many other open source projects. It is basically based on Debian version of Linux, GNOME and Hildon UI framework.

Maemo having the DNA of Linux makes it open source, which embrace sharing, collaboration and open development model. The Maemo community promotes these values by keeping the Maemo platform open wherever feasible, by sharing source code, and by contributing code directly to the upstream projects.

The first device was the Nokia 770 Internet Tablet that was launched in November 2005. The Nokia 770 Internet Tablet allowed Internet access over WLAN connection.

Maemo 5 is computer technology powering the latest Maemo device, the Nokia N900. The Nokia N900 packs a powerful ARM Cortex-A8 processor, up to 1GB of application memory and OpenGL ES 2.0 graphics acceleration. The result is PC-like multitasking, allowing many applications to run simultaneously

In February 2010 at the Mobile World Congress, it was announced that the Maemo project would be merging with Moblin to create the MeeGo mobile software platform.

As of now Maemo is only found in Nokia Products.


The Symbian platform was created by merging and integrating software assets contributed by Nokia, NTT DoCoMo, Sony Ericsson and Symbian Ltd., including Symbian OS assets at its core, the S60 platform, and parts of the UIQ and MOAP(S) user interfaces.

Symbian is an open source operating system (OS) and software platform designed for Smartphone’s and maintained by Nokia.

The Symbian kernel (EKA2) supports sufficiently-fast real-time response to build a single-core phone around it—that is, a phone in which a single processor core executes both the user applications and the signaling stack. Symbian has a microkernel architecture, which means that the minimum necessary is within the kernel to maximize robustness, availability and responsiveness. Symbian features pre-emptive multitasking and memory protection, like other operating systems

Symbian is commonly found in Nokia, Sony Erricson, Samsung and NTT DOCOMO.


WebOS is a proprietary mobile operating system running on the Linux kernel, initially developed by Palm, which was later acquired by HP. The software was introduced by Palm in January 2009 as the successor to the legacy Palm OS, and was widely acclaimed following its unveiling for its integration of Web 2.0 technologies, open architecture, multitasking capabilities, and ease of use. The first device to use webOS was the original Palm Pre, which was released on Sprint in June 2009. The operating system became one of the first to widely use over-the-air software updates for all devices.

In 2010, HP acquired Palm, with webOS being described as a key asset and motivation for the strategic purchase. In February 2011, HP announced a series of new devices that will use the operating system, including the HP Pre 3 and HP Veer smartphones, which will run webOS 2.2 at launch. The company also announced its first mainstream mobile tablet computer, the HP TouchPad, which will run webOS 3.0 when it is released in Summer 2011.


Android’s market coverage is currently witnessing a mushroom growth and it has already threatened the growth of iOS. Android being on Java stack and open source, attracts large number of developer community to build applications over it.

Symbian and Blackberry that ruled the market couple of years ago, are struggling. Dell recently announced that they will phase out their all Blackberry devices with their own Dell Streak running on Android.

Symbian was also made open source last year but it never attracted much attention of the developers as Android is stealing all the attention with iOS holding the second spot.

With tablet market heating up, let’s see how market will change in the time to come.


Which is the Smartphone OS that you like and use?

What is your prediction for the coming time?

Recommended Read:

Operating Systems that power a Smartphone, Part 1 – Introduction

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About the Author:

Developer, likes to develop on different platforms, amateur photographer, follows technology trends, loves driving on road and in games, loves traveling and a vegetarian foodie. Follow him on Twitter: @DrivenRajat

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  • http://twitter.com/vanshkapil Vansh Kapil

    If you ask me, I have used a blackberry, a symbian , an iPhone and and android devices in last 2 years. Blackberry is very secure OS but I found it restricting, besides there are not many free apps in its app store which is a let down. iPhone is great, powerful device but unfortunately I got bored of it very soon. Games are cool but the whole multitasking and notification system is a turn off for me. symbian on Nokia was very powerful. it lets you do so many things but its UI and graphics capabilities hinder it. also Nokia devices on symbian gets slower after a few days of use. My latest toy is Nexus S. Android 2.3. Its plain awesome.now coming from Blackberry and Symbian I can easily ignore a couple of glitches here and there. but android lets me do so many amazing things. side loading apps is amazing. and I get all google updates right on time which is a plus. beside as I would like to call myself a power user, I think android’s multitasking and notification system is pretty awesome. another thing that I like in android over iphone are widgets.

  • http://twitter.com/vanshkapil Vansh Kapil

    Well as of now, the smartphone market is very competitive and android is marching ahead of others. Symbian is almost dead. blackberry OS will take a strange turn, RIM has decided to include android apps in its ecosystem and allow BBM to be used on android, these steps may provide short term profits but I believe by not protecting your competitive advantage you will not grow. Win phone 7 is a decent OS but I am not sure if they could compete with the class of iOS or with the growth speed and head start of Android. besides MS partnered with Nokia, which has lost all its competitive advantage 2 years ago. The way it started between iOS and Android it looked like history is repeating itself, when MAC competed with Windows systems. But there are some difference, apple is much more agile this time, and also they are competing very well on price with Android.So I believe these two will be the only two major OS’ . But the way Android its ecosystem by adding more and more categories of devices (i heard android is coming even in Ford cars) soon it will become the standard. Once that happens then it will be very difficult to dislodge it, thats why you see apple matching it device for device and even more ( remember Apple TV after the announcement of google TV). Its gonna be a great fight which will go down in history

  • http://www.techvorm.com Paritosh

    People are completely biased towards Android and iOS. Let me ask you, did you even know what Android was 2 years ago? Writing off other competitors viz. Blackberry, which is very solid OS way better than Symbian, iOS or even Android; Symbian, which has lost its touch but with Nokia’s experience has the tendency to “die” as a well served OS, would be totally wrong. Besides, being a Symbian fan, I still believe that with Nokia’s years & years of experience + rock solid hardware and a new breath of fresh air in terms of Windows7 can turns things around. Infact I WANT it to go in Nokia’s favor :)

    • http://twitter.com/tyagi_gaurav Gaurav Tyagi

      I agree with you to some extent. Windows 7 can give others run for their money only if Microsoft comes with on time updates, a good app market. “Tiles” user interface of Windows 7 is superb. It is simple, smooth and with time it will get more refined. However being a apple fan. I still be biased toward iOS and there is a reason for that, first is the simplicity., secondly a huge app market includes large bunch of free apps as well, thirdly the OS is smooth, fourth timely updates and last but not the least is Steve Jobs awesome marketing strategy of creating the desire among the target market. :)

      • http://www.techvorm.com Paritosh

        If you compate iOS with Win7 then I still believe Win7 can outcast iOS provided Nokia works on real hard on tweaking Win7 to the core and releasing schedules updates.

        • Jasdeep

          Sirji, i know you are a die-hard Symbian fan, But Win7 or any other OS phasing out iOS for that matter seems a really far fetched idea.. Not happening. :)

          • http://www.techvorm.com Paritosh

            Fortunes change quickly! I am being positive :)

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