People must know the differences between software types before they get a new device. Smartphones, tablets, ebooks and other devices will run on a specific system. This can include iOS, Android, Linux or Windows.

iOS and Android

iOS is designed by Apple, whereas Android is run by Google. Both operating systems are used widely on devices such as tablets and smartphones. iOS puts emphasis on the user interface. Android gives people a higher amount of freedom due to the customisation options. Those who want a more straightforward, uniform experience tend to favour iOS.

The main Android app catalogue is Google Play. It has a broader range of apps, but there is a danger of downloading potentially malicious software. The Apple App Store is available on iOS. This service has fewer options than its Android counterpart. The main upside is each app is screened to ensure they are safe.

Touch screens are used by both operating systems. Users interact with devices by swiping and tapping the screen. iOS and Android then respond to this input. When booting they open with a home screen. This is similar to how a standard computer starts up. The home screen of iOS has rows of icons, representing available apps. The most popular apps can be pinned to the screen. An Android home screen can contain widgets. These are icons with data which automatically update themselves. Good examples of these include weather forecasts, emails and news.

Status bars are standard on both systems. They display information such as the WiFi signal, time and battery status. Crash rates are similar for both. However, stability issues are more likely to occur on tablets than phones.


Both systems are very similar. Users will have to decide if they want the extra security of the Apple App Store or the more substantial app catalogue of Google Play.

Linux and Windows

The critical difference between these two systems is that Linux is completely free. Meanwhile, Windows software can be relatively expensive. Users are much more likely to find a decent tablet which runs on Windows. Linux devices are more specialist hardware, and beginners may encounter difficulties using them. Linux actually forms the basis of Android, which utilises its open-source nature.

Linux gives users the power to change and improve system coding. In contrast, Windows is more restrictive in terms of what users can change. They can not access Windows source codes. People familiar with software engineering will get a lot more out of Linux. Users who want a reliable and straightforward interface are more likely to favour Windows.

When naming a file in Linux, they will be case sensitive. Windows file names are case insensitive. This might not seem like an important detail. However, it can be a crucial navigation issue for some people.

In terms of running space, Linux consumes much more than Windows. This is due to its use of monolithic kernels. Despite this, Linux is still more efficient than Windows. Users will need to determine whether the extra running space requirements are worth it.


Both have their pros and cons. The simple interface of Windows will appeal to novice users, but it is less reliable and more costly. Linux is free to use but is also too complicated for beginners. Its open-source and customisable nature will either appeal to or discourage users depending on what they are looking for in a smart device.