Smart Phones

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Have you ever been in a room with friends when they started talking about the latest mobile technology?

Have you been hearing the terms “Android” or “framework number dot number dot number” or “froyo” or “gingerbread” or “jailbreak” a lot lately?

Have you been looking down on your phone and wishing it really could pop out gingerbreads? Wondering if you could help it break out of jail so it could get you gingerbreads?

The fact is, smart phones are not so new to the Lebanese market, but with the uprising of the Android operating system and the fact that it’s being picked up by several mobile manufacturers, it has become a leading competitor to the once unattainable iOS.

But let me take it slow. I will begin by explaining a few terms:

Mobile operating system (MOS): an operating system that controls a mobile device, just like Windows and Macintosh are computer operating systems that control your computer. Examples of a mobile operating system would be (yes, you guessed it) Android, iOS (for iPhones), Symbian, Windows Mobile, Blackberry OS …

Mobile operating systems are not usually bound to one type of mobile manufacturer, meaning that just like Windows OS can run on Toshiba or HP, Android can run on HTC or Sony Ericsson. But there are some MOS which prefer to stay exclusive and are made specifically for one mobile manufacturer *cough* iPhones *cough*

Symbian is the oldest operating system I can recall. Remember the old Nokia phones? The ones we were able to send smashing against the wall only to pick up the pieces scattered and put them back together. It would then work just fine. If only hearts were like that.

Symbian OS is currently maintained by Nokia and has been greatly developed to suit smartphones.

Windows Mobile is an MOS developed by Microsoft. Many Sony Ericsson and HTC smartphones (among others) run Windows Mobile. They were slow and very problematic. The latest version of Windows Mobile is named Windows Mobile 7 a.k.a Mango. It seems more promising than the older releases.

iOS is a MOS developed by Apple and is an extremely powerful OS that was created originally for iPhones but then extended to support other Apple devices such as the iPod touch, iPad and Apple TV. The latest version of iOS is iOS5 and is upgradable on the latest magnificent iPhone4s. iOS has not been licensed for Lebanon. For iPhones to work in Lebanon they need to be unlocked and for them to be able to install third party applications they need to be jailbroken.

What are applications?

I’m sure many of you, dear readers, at one time or another, have had someone run up to you and show you their newest app that teaches them how to tie their shoes or fold a napkin or count their blessings. Applications/games are mobile software developed by practically anyone and are available on the Internet through platform-specific stores. For example, The App Store is an application on iPhone which serves as a gateway to download/purchase apps.  For Android, the market is its application gateway. For Blackberry it is App World and for Nokia it is OVI store.

Android is an MOS developed and released by Google and other members of the Open Handset Alliance. The Android operating system is the world’s best-selling smartphone platform (I just had to say that). Android is open to be used anywhere around the world and is being adapted by many manufacturers such as HTC, Sony Ericsson, Samsung, LG, Motorola …

There are two official Google phones in the market, the Nexus One (Google collaborated with HTC, the first android phone) and the Nexus S (Google collaborated with Samsung).

The Android is the funny little green mascot and the latest Android version available is the Gingerbread. The version naming convention of Android originates from dessert items. The first was Android 1.5 (Cupcake), then came Donut (1.6), Éclair(2.1), Froyo (frozen yoghurt – 2.2) and the latest is Gingerbread (2.3).

There you have it, a brief insight as to what the newest technology in smart phones is about. There are many things left unsaid, like why someone would actually need a smartphone. But that’s a whole other subject altogether. The best thing to do is buy the right phone for the right reasons. So do your research and enjoy the experience.

A techie, a perfectionist of the first degree with an extremely active imagination, Athena writes what she feels when she feels it. She’s a huge fan of music, sleeping, gardenias and almost everything that runs on electricity. Honesty, fairness and logic are a huge turn on (no further elaboration). To lure her into anything, approach her with a kitten or a brand new cell phone. And if you must know, one of Athena’s proudest achievements is being a Bekhsoosian.

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