iOS and Android Upgrade While Windows Phone Lags

Carl Weinschenk
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There’s never a dull moment in the world of mobile operating systems (OSes). Within the past few weeks, Android and iOS have discussed their upgrades and Microsoft’s Windows Phone was the recipient of some bad news.

It’s a given at this point that the two top mobile OSes will remain Android and iOS. The third spot is very enviable and has been the subject of much competition. When comScore released its quarterly numbers, it was apparent that the Windows Phone had majorly slipped from 3.6 percent to 3 percent during that short period. That’s a big drop in a very short time from an already weak number.

And, according to comScore, Android dropped from 53.2 percent to 52 percent and iOS rose from 41.3 percent to 43.1 percent during the same quarter.


Both of the top OSes, iOS and Android, will offer nice enhancements this fall. Network World’s Oscar Raymundo gives insight on the upcoming release of iOS 9. A beta program is currently available to members of the Apple Developer Program. When the new iOS comes out, it will run on the iPhone 4S and later versions. As for the features that will be included in the free software upgrade, Raymundo provides a high-level overview in one paragraph:

Apple has massively improved and expanded several essential built-in apps and services. Most notably Siri is now running on steroids, and Maps has included mass transit info. Furthermore, the Passbook built-in app has been replaced with the Apple Pay-powered Wallet, and the stagnant Newsstand has been replaced by News, a personalized reading app. iOS 9 will also give the iPad several new functionalities, like Split View and Picture-in-Picture, for helping power-users get stuff done.

As for its OS upgrade, Google won’t be left behind. TechRadar’s John McCann offers a similar story on the upcoming Android M. He writes that a developer preview is available today, with general release expected in September. The new Android Pay mobile payment platform will be included and the OS will offer fingerprint support, faster charging and single-tap transactions with Android apps.

Smartphone

Staying power figures to be a big selling point with Android M (which now internally is called Macadamia Nut Cookie, according to McCann). Tom Maxwell at 9to5Google cited a comparison of the battery life of Android M and version 5.1.1 Lollipop done by the German blog ComputerBase. The results were impressive:

After 8 hours of standby, the Nexus 5 running 5.1.1 had drained 4% of its battery while the unit running Android M Developer Preview 1 had lost only 1.5% of its battery life. At 24 hours in standby, the 5.1.1 unit had lost 12% while the Android M unit had drained only 4.5%. Most exciting is that whereas after 48 hours of idling the 5.1.1 unit was down 24%, the Android M Nexus 5 had only lost 9% of its charge.

Clearly, iOS and Android are being significantly upgraded. That means that Microsoft and the other third place wannabes must really upgrade their OSes as well in order to protect their anemic market shares.

Carl Weinschenk covers telecom for IT Business Edge. He writes about wireless technology, disaster recovery/business continuity, cellular services, the Internet of Things, machine-to-machine communications and other emerging technologies and platforms. He also covers net neutrality and related regulatory issues. Weinschenk has written about the phone companies, cable operators and related companies for decades and is senior editor of Broadband Technology Report. He can be reached at cweinsch@optonline.net and via twitter at @DailyMusicBrk.



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