Mobile OS comparison: Windows Phone 8 vs iOS 6.0 vs Android 4.1

Microsoft's Windows Phone was met with rave reviews from day one of its launch back in late 2010, but despite its beautiful and smooth UI it hasn't caught up with users. One way or another, part of the blame for this was some immaturity of the platform - multitasking arrived later...
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210 Comments

132. remixfa

Posts: 14605; Member since: Dec 19, 2008

you guys are still getting the basics confused. RT IS NOT PC. It is media centric and built on fluid animations, apps, and "experience". Who else does that sound like? Pro is PC. Its more open, hack-able, spec heavy, customizable... who does that sound like? If anyone WERE to jump from one OS to another, iOS users would more than likely go to RT. Again, normal iOS users that arent super apple crazy like our idiot ifans. Android users if they were to jump ship would more than likely go to PRO because it doesnt involve giving up so many options and it offers a more customizable PC experience. The big piece of the pie that your missing is that the tablet space is barely penetrated. They are not going after CURRENT customers of either system, they are going after POTENTIAL customers. People that want ease of use and are swayed by prettiness will go iOS or RT, those that want power, options, and like to tinker will go Android or Pro. They are 2 separate markets and they are going after both. People tend to forget that normal people are not US. To many normal people MS is a major major brand. A computer to most is a "PC".. PC's run on Windows. The brand recognition factor is going to be huge for them. They nailed it with the style of the tablet and a lot of the new features, they are coming in with the massive weight of the MS brand to regular consumers, and they are hitting both "android" style people and "apple" style people. Market disruption comensing.

140. hepresearch unregistered

Well, okay, but the difference between RT and 8 is really not much more than chipset (ARM vs. x86), legacy software support, and some feature support... mostly due to the difference in the chipset. They ALL have the same kernel, drivers, and stacks for their core... they are all running on the same exact Windows NT heart! So really, other than the ARM/x86 difference, they really are all PC at their core... if anything, being Windows NT AND ARM-based is just a post-traditional evolution of the PC. I mean, if PC is to survive, then it must evolve and adapt to the chipsets of the future, and in doing so it must break free of the x86-architecture exclusivity.

147. ilia1986 unregistered

Of course hepresearch. Let's just THROW AWAY years in software evolution, ignore the BILLIONS of existing programs currently available to the x86\x64 architecture - and jump to ARM. Why? Just because. You sound like Apple for fracks' sake. I am not saying ARM chipsets don't have their use - they certainly do - because Intel was so lazy coming up with a processor of it's own for Mobile phones - but a Windows RT tablet is sorta like an iPad. Hundred times better of course - but still - sorta like an iPad.

174. hepresearch unregistered

Wait... I never said "lets move from x86 to ARM totally." I think having the x86 option is absolutely fine... I'm only saying that the next logical step for Windows NT-based stuff is to be ABLE (as in... have the option) to move to ARM chipsets, and whatever is next after that, too. Just because they CAN move to ARM chipsets does not mean that you blow away all the legacy support for existing software... all it does is give people another choice. They can choose an x86 architecture for their NT with Windows 8, and have access to all the legacy programs they could hope for... or they can save a few bucks (hopefully) and go with an ARM architecture for their NT with Windows RT/Phone 8 if the legacy support is unecessary for their preferences... and I'm sure there will be plenty of x86 programs that port to ARM as well (like MS Office... thank you!). If anything, this is an EVOLUTIONARY process for the PC, and will ensure its survival with the advent of new architectures into the longer-term foreseable future.

176. remixfa

Posts: 14605; Member since: Dec 19, 2008

yes.. and no. there will be a lot of feature differences between the OS's as well. true multitasking Flash desktop mode PC program compatibility complete and full PC experience multiple windows that are adjustable FILE MANAGER quick access to the subsystem none of that +more will be in RT RT is the "mobile" version that is stripped down and aligned to be pretty. Pro is the actual PC version. Its the exact same Windows8 that they will be selling in PCs. They may share the same seeds but they grow into very different plants.

178. hepresearch unregistered

Sure... but you are citing nothing more than software tweak limitations (removal of true multitasking, subsystem access, and adjustable windows) and missing applications (yes, Flash support, desktop mode, PC program compatibility, and file manager are actually turned into APPLICATIONS in the new Windows structure...). The architecture is not the issue, nor is there a significant difference between the OS's. Yes, the differences in FUNCTION and EXPERIENCE are indeed pretty whopping, but this gives the illusion of strong fundamental differences in OS coding when there is, in fact, very little, if any at all. The "missing applications" are the ones that run inside of the compatibility shell which is included in Windows 8, which is what gives you access to running all other legacy PC programs as well. The software limitations in RT are not coded into the OS itself, but are only the result of a missing driver set from Windows 8 Pro. So, the difference between the "complete and full PC experience" of Windows 8, and the mobile experience of Windows RT/Phone 8, is nothing more than a missing compatibilty shell application and a missing set of internal drivers. Full PC is now little more than a couple drivers and an app (which runs other older apps) on top of the mobile version, and of course they only allow the full PC on x86 architecture for now. The OS's are actually soooo identical fundamentally, in code, and that is no surprise because they all run on the same exact NT kernel and stacks. They are all PC in software and at their heart, but one is a little less PC-experience than the other. I'll agree, though, that the same seed (Windows NT) does indeed grow into different-looking plants (PC-experience vs. mobile-experience), but that is only because they are not fertilized with the same stuff (compatibility shell app and a few drivers). These different plants are different in size (ability, customization, and compatibility), but share the same foliage (they are both PC at heart... a.k.a. "same species"). Yeah... I can play the metaphor game, too...

180. ilia1986 unregistered

That may be true but as Remixfa said - Win 8 Pro is the real PC system. As you said - having Windows on Arm is indeed evolutionary. However having Windows on Arm without actual desktop mode, resizable windows, multitasking, flash, file manager and access to the subsystem is COUNTER-EVOLUTIONARY. Notice how I didn't mention support for legacy x86 apps since that's obviously nearly impossible to do right now. But they COULD have implemented everything else. Heck, Android has everything else. Right now Windows RT is nothing more than iOS with a different application store and metro-style interface. Of course it's still much better than iOS (a rock is much better than iOS), it's got only the fraction of the capability of the Pro version. Imagine if Windows XP Professional was as it is now, but Windows XP Home edition looked something alike Microsoft BOB (if you don't know what that is - search it up). Evolution != throwing away everything which existed before just because all the cool guys in the block don't have fash, file system access, and access to non-proprietary app stores. That's revolution - and as time shows - not all revolutions have good outcomes (look at Egypt for example).

193. hepresearch unregistered

Okay... you are referring to the EXPERIENCE as being either PC or iOS/non-PC-ish. IF the way you measure PC-ishness is by the experience, then yes, you would be absolutely correct. However, having come from the school of software/hardware/market joint-definitions (a.k.a. 'relativity'), I would define a PC not so much by the experience (desktop feature, resizable windows, flash compatibility, subsystem access, file manager), but rather by the most UBIQUITOUS software/experience family available (currently Windows 3.x/NT/CE). If you define the PC by the experience, then you would also have to admit that Mac is then a PC, most GUI Linux is then a PC, that Android could be a PC, and that iOS is closer to being a PC than either Windows RT or WP8 (because, if nothing else, at least iOS still has a homescreen populated with icons...)! If this is how you define a PC, a "Personal Computer", which is perfectly legitimate (I suppose) based on the name alone, then you would also have to admit that Microsoft is taking Windows some steps in a direction AWAY from the PC experience, while Mac and Linux/Android appear to be staying put for the moment. So, what happens when Flash stops being supported and goes away? Flash compatibility will mean nothing without Adobe's precious Flash to power it. Also, what happens when Android powers half of the world's smartphones and tablets? That isn't totally cross-compatible with the rest of the Windows NT desktops/laptops/tablets/phones around the world either, now is it? If Metro UI really wins out, and future iterations of Windows 8.x/9.x/10... whatever... stop including a desktop, what happens then? There won't likely be any resizable windows in a product that only has Metro UI, either. And as for subsystem access and a file manager... well, I am definitely not happy to have to let go of such things, but when the average consumer prefers an experience that is un-PC-like, and cost is more prohibitive, what choice does one have? You define the PC by a set experience which software either lives up to or doesn't; thus, by your definition, it is clearly levelling off in popularity before our very eyes, and it is only software that is evolving. I define a PC by the idea of what computing software is relatively ubiquitous when found in people's homes... which has typically been Windows-based for about as long as I can remember; by that definition, iOS and Android are really possibly starting to carry the day as smart-mobiles will soon (if not already) out-number home computers, meaning that both the PC experience AND software are evolving, and in fact ubiquity itself might be out in a bipolar or multipolar world of competing software... thus there might no longer be just one software to fit the PC defintion at that point. Even if you fix the definition of a PC to just Windows-based SOFTWARE, then at least you have to say that the PC experience is evolving, whether it succeeds long-term in the market or not.

202. moosa.mahsoom

Posts: 22; Member since: Nov 19, 2011

the only thing RT doesn't have is compatibility with x86 apps. the desktop mode is still there.

80. Non_Sequitur

Posts: 1111; Member since: Mar 16, 2012

Yep. What I want to see is Windows 8 Pro in phablet-optimized form. Ohhh yeah. That would be pretty cool.

142. hepresearch unregistered

That would be pretty sick-like awesome... but where in the world will they squeeze in a cooling fan for the CPU? =8-P

44. good2great

Posts: 1042; Member since: Feb 22, 2012

Tech wise... Android is clearly the leader HANDS DOWN Consumer wise... its an unknown between iOS and Android BUT due to iOS (huge popularity) apple has the lead... for the little it has its giving the best experience. device integration wise... WP8 "will be" the clear victor here... obviously due to PA's big android user following there's no room for debate...lol

57. fongy

Posts: 41; Member since: Feb 09, 2010

what about ability to use your own mp3s as ringtones? separate volumes for alarms, ringer, media, etc.? still zune eh? no drag and drop... it's funkier than iOS no doubt, but still a long way away from being individual, and that's what Android is all about - everybody's phone is different... Not being able to use your own music as ringtones and notifications though (and no central notification banner, etc.) is unforgiveable...

60. VebbX

Posts: 41; Member since: Feb 26, 2012

With in the cloud storage, like skydrive and office (coming) microsoft don't see the need of a file broswer ;) You can just sync all you files from your cloud, even movies.

62. darac

Posts: 2156; Member since: Oct 17, 2011

Hey Victor, also what about: - folders - Live wallpapers/wallpapers - Multiple home screens Those are all features, right?

64. cornerofthemoon

Posts: 620; Member since: Apr 20, 2010

I'm not a WP fanboy, but I switched to Windows Phone because I found it the best touchscreen experience both for navigating and typing. WP isn't perfect, but it deserves to get some decent marketshare and at the very least be a solid #3.

65. cornerofthemoon

Posts: 620; Member since: Apr 20, 2010

I'm not a WP fanboy, but I switched to Windows Phone because I found it the best touchscreen experience both for navigating and typing. WP isn't perfect, but it deserves to get some decent marketshare and at the very least be a solid #3.

72. TROLL

Posts: 4851; Member since: Apr 13, 2012

No it doesn't.

75. Allen3697

Posts: 86; Member since: Mar 26, 2012

I picked Android 4.0 but I prefer Windows Phone 8.

78. mas11

Posts: 1034; Member since: Mar 30, 2012

Seems like Android doesn't have a single weakness on the chart.

126. mas11

Posts: 1034; Member since: Mar 30, 2012

I see the red thumbs of iOS users in denial. They can clearly see that Android has no disadvantages, but they can't comprehend the fact that iOS has flaws.

85. snowgator

Posts: 3616; Member since: Jan 19, 2011

Okay, honestly, shouldn't we wait until WP8 devices actually come out before we start throwing up against the big boys? Until we see it and all it's upgrades, including the ones not yet mentioned, what is the point? Love Android ICS. I am a huge WP fan, but performance and integrations of WP8 need to be seen before a poll like this has any weight. I won't pick WP8 over ICS until I am satisfied they got it RIGHT!! Same can be said for iOS 6 (waiting on next iPhone) and for that matter the forgotten red-headed step-child- BB10.

87. mrandrewshah

Posts: 14; Member since: Nov 01, 2009

But Android has had offline map caching for over a year!

88. Santi_Santi unregistered

looks like even WP8 will surpass iOS. thats nice, i guess the same squares all the time can be annoying... and even the "200 new features" are worthless against this one. im waiting to see new WP8 devices!

122. Roomaku

Posts: 278; Member since: Feb 06, 2012

That would be so funny if WP8 got traction and tied or beat out iPhone for the second spot. I can see Apple saying hey look we are still number one in tablets!

90. omacmagics

Posts: 42; Member since: Dec 27, 2011

I've said this in another article and I'll say it again, Android has little quirks that need ironing out and it will be one of the most versatile phone operating system ever. Windows is now looking like it's catching up but Android will just keep advancing. I have a Nexus S and I didn't want to update to ICS because of some incompatible apps issues, Wi-Fi problems etc. Finally I decided to go ahead and update, today I have no regrets. I can just imagine the people with One X and S3, the experience must be awesome. Jellybean will even bring a better experience. By the time Google gets to " I " it will be the icing on the OS.

92. Berzerk000

Posts: 4275; Member since: Jun 26, 2011

What would be really insteresting, if BB10 pops up and starts gaining market share. Comeback of the ages, that is if RIM is still in existence when the BB10 launch comes around

98. TROLL.ISAHA

Posts: 535; Member since: Mar 28, 2012

There is no sign of Taco and galli...

104. Santi_Santi unregistered

Actually yeah, look how many comments have the negative checkmark. hahaha those guys....

99. captainqtp

Posts: 16; Member since: Jun 25, 2010

Am I the only one who thinks that list skews towards Android? Many of the features seems like Android minutiae no one cares about, and then ignores some of the best things about IOS and WP.
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