We all reach that point in our relationship with our phone when we want something more. It needs to be faster, with more memory, with a better camera or to run that app everyone is raving about. One thing we rarely think about is the actual software that makes it all work – the operating system.
The operating system (OS) is the most important piece of software your phone runs. At first glance the main difference will be in the look and feel of the system but look a bit deeper and you will find that some operating systems, most notably Android, are referred to as open source whilst others, iOS and Windows are closed source.
Open vs Closed
The distinction comes from whether or not the source code is publicly available or not. Open source source-code is available to anyone who cares to look at it whilst closed source is only available to the company’s developers.
It’s not quite so clear-cut as it sounds. Yes, you can download from the “Android Open Source Project” (AOSP) and create your own OS but most phones have a locked boot-loader so you can’t easily install it and many Android apps are closed-source. What you can do is install apps from “unknown sources”. Even if Google don’t approve of it you can still have it on your phone whereas if you have an iPhone and Apple don’t have it in their App Store you simply can’t have it.
What Does All This Mean To Me?
If you like being able to customise your environment more than changing colours and background images then Android has many more possibilities. Can’t get Gmail to connect? Install a new mail client. Hate Chrome? Install Opera. Whilst Apple offers some choice, such as third-party keyboards, you are pretty much stuck with the defaults. And even if you do change your defaults on Android, chances are you’ll be unable to remove the Google Apps without rooting your phone.
Rooting vs Jailbreaking
The root account on an Android phone lets you do anything. Usually you are locked out but by exploiting certain security holes you can get access to it. This procedure is called rooting and you’ll need to do it again after an update.
Jailbreaking is a similar procedure for iOS. Once done, you can install unapproved apps and get greater control of the system but once done you may find you can’t upgrade to a newer iOS until someone creates a jailbroken upgrade.
Whatever operating system you use, if you’re upgrading any operating system on your phone, MEEM caters for both Android and iPhone, so make sure to back up your most important data.