There are numerous  models of phones available. Every major phone maker produces smartphones, including Apple, Samsung, LG, HTC, Nokia, Sony Ericsson, Motorola, RIM, Palm, etc. There are, however, several basic smartphone features, and after you’ve mastered one, you should be able to move on to the next. Perhaps not immediately, but certainly not with the same learning curve as your first phone. Because they all run on a small number of operating systems, many phones have similar characteristics. On a smartphone, an operating system functions just like it does on a computer: it’s the fundamental software that controls everything else. You have an operating system similar to Windows or macOS on a PC on the phone.

Once you’ve mastered one phone’s operating system, you should be able to quickly transition to other phones that use the same operating system. Don’t worry if this phase of the session leaves you perplexed. It will become a lot evident once we start utilizing phones. If you know someone who owns a smartphone, ask them to show you how to use it (most people are pleased!) You’ll gain a sense of the distinctions between models and may discover that there aren’t as many as you think.

models of phone
Waitress making a phone call in a cafe

There are three major operating systems on phones:

  1. Google Android is the most widely used mobile operating system, with hundreds of phone models from dozens of manufacturers. It appears and functions similarly to the iPhone OS (iOS) in that you either tap an icon on the screen or press a hardware button on the side to open an application or initiate a phone feature. The manufacturer customizes most Android phones. Thus a Samsung phone isn’t the same as an HTC phone. This is referred to as an interface by the phone manufacturers; Samsung models have TouchWiz, HTC has Sense, etc. As a result, Android phones are similar but not identical. Different phone models also come with different pre-installed applications.
  2. Apple iOS is the operating system that runs on the Apple iPhone and the Apple iPad. It’s a basic system: tap an icon to activate a specific phone feature or app.
  3. Microsoft created a Windows Phone, which resembles the new Windows 8 UI. Touching one of the display blocks activates various apps and phone functions.

Just because two phones might run the same operating system doesn’t mean the phones are identical:

  • There are physical differences: the weight and the screen size
  • There are performance differences: the speed of the processor and the amount of memory (much like on computers)
  • And there are software differences, with different manufacturers loading different programs onto phones.

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