Many of the newer lot of techies may not know this, but before the popularity of Android and iOS (and now Windows Phone, of course), there were several other mobile operating systems. Some of them still exist, but since most smartphone manufacturers have decided to switch to the newer and more popular operating systems, the older ones are disappearing from the scene. Let’s have a look at some of them, and have a moment of silence for the ones which have already left.
Let’s kick off with the mobile OS that gained immense popularity and did very well till touch- based smartphones were introduced. Symbian S60 especially became really popular due to phones like the Nokia 6600 and Nokia 7610. Users could install programs (yes, they weren’t called apps back then). These included Tetris¬†games, tweaking utilities, etcetera. Symbian was chiefly used by Nokia, but then they partnered with Microsoft and decided to make “Windows Phone”, the primary OS for their upcoming phones (and that’s what we see in the latest Lumia phones). Symbian went Open Source, and is still alive in the form of a lesser known OS named Belle.
Nokia also used an OS called Maemo in some of its touch-screen phones. Maemo was capable of running third-party apps since it was Linux-¬≠based. The user interface was similar to what we see on modern operating systems like iOS and Android. It was soon announced that Maemo would be a starting point for another mobile OS named MeeGo.
Palm OS and webOS
Palm OS was an OS for PDAs that were really popular back in the 90s and early 2000s. Later when touch-screens became more mainstream, Palm OS became webOS and was acquired by HP. Although it was also on smartphones like the Palm Pre, HP decided to make it the default OS for its tablet, the HP Touchpad. But soon enough, HP decided to pull the plug on all webOS devices, including the Touchpad. WebOS became open source and is now known as Open web0S, and developers can work on it now.
Back in the days of -Pocket PCs”, Windows had its own market share due to its mobile OS by the name of Windows Mobile. It was initially based on Windows CE, and over time it became Windows Mobile in 2003. The final release of Windows Mobile was Windows Mobile 6.5. After that, Microsoft started development on an OS with a brand new look and feel, and called it Windows Phone. The older devices running Windows Mobile were rendered incompatible with Windows Phone, due to high-end hardware requirements.
Samsung powers its (relatively) low-end smartphones with an OS called Bada. The smartphones which have “Wave” in their name are powered by this OS (compared to those powered by Android, having Galaxy in their name). Bada has been successful so far, it even has its own app market. But since Samsung also makes cheaper Android phones, most people choose to prefer them now. Consequently, Bada’s user share has decreased. Samsung might even change Bada into something else, keeping the usage trend in view.
So these were some of the mobile operating systems that are taking their last breaths, or have already passed away. But still, their importance cannot be denied as they have laid the foundation for today’s modern mobile operating systems.
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“Operating System” image courtesy of Shutterstock.