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Alternatives to iOS and Android: Mobile Operating Systems for Dummies

Alternatives to iOS and Android: Mobile Operating Systems for Dummies

When it comes to the software that runs on mobile phones and tablets, two names stand out above the rest: Android and iOS, the most prominent mobile operating systems currently available.

iOS is developed by Apple and only runs on specific Apple hardware, like the iPhone and iPad. Android, on the other hand, is developed by Google and can be found on a very wide variety of devices from different manufacturers. Due to the fact that Google makes the code for much of Android freely available, anyone from hobbyists to large corporations can build on top of the Android platform.

While both of these pieces of software are hugely popular, well designed, usable and adored by their respective fans, they are not the only mobile operating systems out there. Here are a few lesser-known mobile platforms that might be worth a deeper look.

Ubuntu for Android

In the desktop computing world, Canonical’s Ubuntu Linux has gained significant traction as a free alternative to OSX and Windows, and they are now poised to break into the phone market with Ubuntu for Android.

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Ubuntu for Android utilizes Android’s kernel (a core component of the OS) and its drivers, but promises to unleash the true power of multicore devices by accessing the hardware more directly than Android does. Canonical, the commercial entity behind Ubuntu, wants to bridge the gap between your phone and your laptop by bringing a full range of desktop applications to the mobile market, with a focus on true multitasking. Ultimately, they want their users to plug their phones into docks, which provides a laptop-like experience, allowing seamless transitions between work, play and on-the-go use of your handheld device.

Phones running Ubuntu’s mobile OS should be released sometime this year, so keep on the lookout.

Firefox OS

Mozilla, makers of the popular Firefox web browser, are also throwing their hat in the ring and developing an operating system for the mobile market. Firefox OS is Linux-based, like Android, but seeks to differentiate itself by focusing more on utilizing open standards and community supported software as opposed to closed source, proprietary tools.

Firefox_OS_1.5_home_screen

    Firefox OS offers what they are calling a truly adaptive phone experience. This means that your device will anticipate your needs and instantly deliver the information that you want from a variety of sources, including useful local content.

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    Firefox OS is currently only available on a handful of devices, but you can expect to see that expand in the near future.

    Sailfish OS

    Developed by Finnish startup Jolla, Sailfish OS is a Linux-based mobile operating system that utilizes Mer, the successor to Nokia’s short-lived MeeGo operating system. The user interface is gesture based, with the a focus on multitasking.

    Device_icon

      One distinct advantage that Sailfish OS boasts over the competition is a huge catalog of apps and software, as it is compatible with software made for Android, Linux, Mer/MeeGo and anything written in HTML5.

      Phones featuring Sailfish OS are currently available in the EU, Switzerland and Norway, at Jolla.com

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      MIUI

      MIUI (pronounced “Me-You-I”) is a heavily modified version of the Android OS, made and maintained by Xiaomi Tech, a Chinese electronics company. MIUI offers a higher level of customization than stock Android, allowing users to apply custom themes, lock screens, fonts and more.

      Screenshot_2014-04-17-07-59-49

        MIUI has built-in network monitoring, spam and virus protection, a data backup app and other useful and unique features. The UI is somewhat similar to that of the iPhone, with its glossy icons and smooth screen transitions.

        To get MIUI, you must install it yourself on a compatible Android device, after first rooting and unlocking your phone. The process to accomplish this varies greatly by device and may very well void your warranty, so do your homework. For a list of compatible devices, head on over to MIUI’s website.

        Tizen

        Tizen is an operating system based on the Linux kernel, and is designed specifically for embedded devices including smartphones, tablets, TVs, laptops and cameras. It aims to offer a consistent user experience across a wide range of devices. Tizen is developed by the Linux Foundation, which is governed by such tech industry giants as Samsung, Intel and others.

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        Tizen_screenshot_en_original

          While the development of Tizen has been plagued by setbacks and delays, having been declared dead several times over the years, it was just announced last month that the upcoming Samsung Z will ship with Tizen instead of Android. The Z will be released in Russia in the third quarter of this year, with plans to bring it to further markets shortly thereafter.

           

          This is certainly an exciting time in the smartphone world, as competition from new mobile OS makers leads to innovation and, ultimately, an even richer phone experience for end users. What new features you would like to see on your mobile device? Let us know in the comments.

          Featured photo credit: Alfredo Cáceres / Phone Users via flic.kr

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          Last Updated on December 30, 2018

          18 Best Time Management Apps and Tools (2019 Updated)

          18 Best Time Management Apps and Tools (2019 Updated)

          No one can dispute the countless benefits technology has brought us. It’s undoubtedly allowed us to connect, perform, improve and leverage our resources beyond what was once imaginable.

          If you’re not taking advantage of one of the hundreds of time management apps and tools out there, you’re definitely missing a trick.

          But with so many apps to choose from, how do you know which ones to use? Well, this will depend on your needs, but we’ve put together a list of 18 of the very best time management apps that can help you with the most common time management challenges.

          Let’s dive straight into the list…

          1. Rescue Time — Use your time wisely

            If you have doubts that you’re using your time sensibly, this app will send you weekly reports to indicate what things are stealing your time. You may be shocked to discover how much time you’re actually wasting.

            Download Rescue Time

            2. Remember The Milk — Keep on top of all your tasks

              If you’re struggling to manage everything you have to do, and you work with many different devices, then this is the app for you. It’s a great free tool which is compatible with your mobile, computer, Gmail, Outlook, etc. It helps you to manage your tasks easily, and reminds you of them – wherever you are.

              Download Remember the Milk

              3. Focus Booster – Boost motivation to complete tasks

                This app is based on the principles of the Pomodoro Technique, and is aimed at individuals who procrastinate and feel overwhelmed by tasks. It’s designed to enhance your focus and remove any anxiety you might have with time pressures.

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                Download Focus Booster

                4. Toggl – Keep track of time spent on projects and tasks

                  This is a great alternative to time-sheets, if you need to track how much time you spend on different projects. Effective time management starts with being clear on exactly how much time you actually spend on your projects and tasks, and then through analysis, working out how you can manage them more effectively.

                  Download Toggl

                  5. Dropbox — Store and send large files easily

                    There are many apps that allow you to transfer content from your computer to other devices – but Dropbox is free and easier to use than the others. With the Dropbox app, you can even access and share important files on the go.

                    Download Dropbox

                    6. Evernote — Keep all your notes in one place

                      Evernote is a free productivity tool that allows you to capture all your ideas, thoughts and images in many different ways (e.g., with voice, notes or images).  You can even record your meetings, interviews, speeches and ideas, create lists, add voice or text attachments, and share your files with friends. You can also sync Remember The Milk with Evernote to really optimize your time.

                      Download Evernote

                      7. Mind42 — Focus on tasks at hand with mind mapping

                        Mind mapping is a great productivity technique, and Mind42 is the best free mind mapping app currently available. It helps you to become more organized by focusing your thoughts – thereby gaining clarity on what needs to be done.

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                        Download Mind42

                        8. SyncBackFree — Back up and sync your files effortlessly

                          This free software allows you to back up, restore and synchronize your files easily. It not only saves you time now – but also in the future. If you have never backed up your files before, you should definitely take a look at this pivotal tool.

                          Download SnycBackFree

                          9. MyLifeOrganized (MLO) — Manage your to-do lists effectively

                            Check this out if you find it difficult to manage all your tasks, to work with your to-do lists, and to organize your goals. This task management system helps you to target what you should be focusing on to reach your objectives. It automatically generates to-do lists, with priority actions for your immediate attention so that you can track your progress methodically.

                            Download MyLifeOrganized (MLO)

                            10. 1Password — Have all your passwords remembered

                              This app allows you to keep all your passwords in one encrypted database, protected by one password. This saves you time when you forget your passwords and need to retrieve them. It also allows you to use various passwords for different accounts so you don’t compromise on security.

                              Download 1Password

                              11. Pocket — Keep your eye on the ball

                                When you’re surfing the web, it’s easy to get distracted by enticing and fascinating websites. Use this tool to save your ‘finds’ to access and read later on at a convenient time which will not impact on your immediate work.

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                                Download Pocket

                                12. [email protected] — Boost your attention span

                                  This amazing app combines neuroscience and music to boost your productivity. According to the developers, it’s possible to increase your attention span by up to 400%! Ideal for those who find it difficult to focus while studying, working or reading.

                                  Download [email protected]

                                  13. Launchy — Interact with your computer in a smart way

                                    This small and simple tool allows you to launch your documents, project files, folders, and bookmarks with just a few keystrokes. This makes life so much easier as you don’t need to go through the start menu to access what you want.

                                    Download Launchy

                                    14. Forest — Boost your focus by growing a forest

                                      This unique and fun app helps you stay focused and on-track. The concept is simple: whenever you want to focus, plant a virtual tree. If you stay focused, the tree will grow. If you lose focus, the tree will die. As the app’s name implies, you can grow multiple trees to create a virtual forest!

                                      Download Forest

                                      15. Trello — Track your projects in a highly visual way

                                        This is a hugely popular app that you may already be familiar with. It works by allowing you to create cards for tasks that you need to complete. Each card moves across the Trello board (which is typically broken into columns such as To Do, In Progress, and Completed) as your start, work on and complete the associated task.

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                                        Download Trello

                                        16. Wunderlist — Digitalize your to-do lists

                                          Purchased by Microsoft in 2015, Wunderlist is an easy to use, feature-packed to-do list app. From planning a holiday, to sharing a shopping list with a partner, or managing multiple work projects, Wunderlist will keep you on top of all your tasks.

                                          Download Wunderlist

                                          17. TimeTree — Have a shared calendar with your family

                                            This app allows families or teams to share multiple calendars and appointments. So, whether you’re planning a party, or run a local sports team, Time Tree can keep everyone up-to-date with all current and upcoming activities and events.

                                            Download Time Tree

                                            18. Todoist — Capture and order all your tasks and activities easily

                                              Todoist is close to being the ultimate digital to-do list. It’s available via browsers and apps, and lets you schedule all your tasks and activities. Each item can be flagged for priority as well as given a due date. There is also a neat option to add notes to any of your tasks.

                                              Download Todoist

                                              The above list covers what we consider to be the very best time management apps and tools. And the good news is – that many of them are completely free of charge! So, what are you waiting for? Select the ones that will be the most valuable to you – and begin boosting your productivity now!

                                              Oh, and one more thing… Take a look at a couple of our other articles that will help further streamline your time management:

                                              40 Top Productivity Apps for iPhone and 20 Quick Tips For Better Time Management

                                              More Recommended Productivity Experts on Lifehack

                                              • Leon Ho — The Founder and CEO of Lifehack, which he share productivity hacks to make life easier
                                              • Carl Pullein — A renowned productivity and time management coach
                                              • Mark Pettit — A Business Coach for ambitious entrepreneurs who want to achieve more by working less

                                              Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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