Google and Microsoft have both released brand-new versions of their respective mobile operating systems in recent months. If you are choosing a new smartphone, chances are you will have to pick between one based on either of these platforms, but which is the best operating system? Here’s our review of Android vs Windows Phone 8 OS.
It’s easy to distinguish between the two operating systems when it comes to the interface, because Google and Microsoft have taken very different approaches.
While both rely on touchscreen interactions, Android Jelly Bean features an interface with multiple home-screens that can be fully customised with widgets and short cuts, while Windows Phone 8 has a single home-screen populated with Live Tiles.
With Android you can add mini apps to provide you with real-time updates on things like the weather and your latest social networking messages. You have the freedom to position these widgets wherever you like and you could set up one home-screen for work, one for play and one for managing your social life.
Live Tiles on Windows Phone 8 operates in much the same way, giving you information on apps that updates via your Wi-Fi or mobile data connection without requiring that you actually launch the individual programs.
While Android Jelly Bean features appear on an interface that can be customised by individual manufacturers to look and feel quite different from any other, Windows Phone 8 is more tightly controlled and so the Live Tile style remains consistent, as does performance.
Both interfaces are intuitive to use, although there is a bit of a learning curve if you are completely new to Android or Windows Phone that you’ll have to overcome before you get comfortable.
The number of apps available for Android has recently hit the same level as Apple’s iOS, which means that there are hundreds of thousands of downloadable programs that can enhance your smartphone experience.
Windows Phone is a less mature operating system, although it too has over 160,000 apps on offer at the moment. What Microsoft’s platform lacks in third-party app developer support, it more than makes up for in software services that are cleverly integrated into the phone’s operating system.
There is also great social networking thanks to the People hub, which pulls in updates and contacts from Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. Meanwhile, the renowned calling service Skype is also integrated into the operating system, so making free calls to mates is easier than ever.
Android’s open-source nature means that individual mobile manufacturers will have come up with their own solutions for social networking and notifications, but when it comes to Android vs Windows Phone 8, it is definitely the leading Windows Phone 8 smartphones that edge the win if you’re after a cohesive software ecosystem.
Both Android Jelly Bean and Windows Phone 8 are available on handsets built by a number of different manufacturers. However, while Google lets its manufacturing partners go wild with their hardware and software, tweaking Android in whatever way they see fit, Microsoft is a bit more dictatorial.
That means if you pick up a Nokia Lumia 920 or an HTC 8X, both of which run Windows Phone 8, you’ll find that the software behaves almost identically. The same cannot be said of those using an up-to-date Samsung Galaxy S3 compared with Google’s own-brand Nexus 4.
The good news is that whichever platform you choose, you get plenty of variety in the phones on offer and a decent amount of affordability if you know where to look. Often the argument over best operating system will come down to personal preference.
Who do you prefer in the Android Jelly Bean vs Windows Phone 8 operating system showdown? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.