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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.

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    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 March 30, 2020

          10 Best Calendar Apps to Stay on Track in 2020

          10 Best Calendar Apps to Stay on Track in 2020

          The success of our day is largely dependent on the quality of our planning. Not to miss out anything in their to-dos, some people prefer to make a list of upcoming tasks in a notebook, while others have long started using digital technology solutions.

          Calendar applications are some of the main tools that are worth using to organize our life and plan your time carefully.

          Many people have switched to specific tools; however, there are still some who do not use calendars on a daily basis. They may find some applications uncomfortable to use, non-functional, or expensive.

          In this article, we are going to check out the best calendars apps to help you stay organized.

          1. Cal Calendar

            Cal Calendar has recently appeared on the market of mobile applications (Android, iOS). It is the brainchild of the development team of Any.do that features impressive functionality and well-thought-out design.

            The application comes with many great features, including support for Exchange and Google Calendar, widgets, voice recording, and many more.

            Cal Calendar has direct integration with Any.Do To-Do List, which gives you a unique tandem of two applications.

            Apart from its extended functionality, Cal Calendar is easy to use. The creation of events is very simple and fast.

            What is more, depending on the name of the event, the application automatically adds contacts and geolocation data to the entry description. You can even import your lists and entries from Any.do.

            Cal Calendar is a great option for any type of user. It is very convenient and doesn’t overcomplicate the mode of display.

            Another good thing is that this tool is available for free, so you can use it without spending a dime for the software.

            Available for iOS and Android

            2. Google Calendar

              Google Calendar is the official calendar for Android devices that has been tested out by many users around the globe. If you are right now trying to get away from it, consider changing your mind.

              Since this application is installed on most Android devices by default, many users think that there is nothing special in this program. They are wrong.

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              Google has been updating its calendar for quite a few years, and now it comes in Material Design with advanced event features, direct integration into other Google services (for example, supports reminders and Google Now), and comes with Exchange support.

              The program is super easy and will not cost a dime for you. It is a good thing, right?

              Available for iOS and Android

              3. Jorte Calendar

                Jorte Calendar is one of the most popular calendar applications in the Google Play store.

                The program features a wide range of configuration options, with many design alternatives. You can adjust display mode to your needs and view calendar entries sorted by month, week, or day (by hours). It is convenient for quickly picking the desired date, using task bars, and setting reminders.

                Apart from its ordinary information storing function, this application can be a special cloud service, Jorte Cloud, allowing you to synchronize calendars, schedules, and task lists on multiple devices. The application also supports data importing from Google Calendar.

                For those paying attention to the program design, there is also Jorte Store, where you can buy styles and icons to personalize the calendar. This feature makes Jorte is one of the brightest calendar applications.

                A basic version of the app is free of charge, so if you do not want to spend money on a calendar application, it is a good option.

                Available for iOS and Android

                4. Business Calendar

                  Business Calendar is geared towards people who use their calendar for work purposes and business task planning. It offers different modes with wide configuration capabilities.

                  The application gives a default view mode by months, and events can be marked in different colors. Display modes/ sorting can be adjusted to your needs (by month, day, year, or events).

                  You can also set a multi-day viewing mode to see how things look for the next few days. Scrolling up and down moves you by month, and if you check a few days, they will be shown in a more detailed form.

                  The day display mode offers hourly scheduling, and the schedule mode provides a detailed schedule for a single event.

                  Business Calendar is a great tool for planning/ scheduling cases, tasks, and events. There is a support for recurring events, which can be set up in just a few clicks.

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                  Having purchased software, you can use it to import and export other calendars, delete, copy, or move several events at the same time.

                  Android Business Calendar application may seem somewhat chaotic, but it works fine and is easy to work with if you play with it for a while.

                  A full version of the application is available for $4.99, but you can also find a free version for the app test drive.

                  Available for Android

                  5. Calendar

                    Calendar is a relatively new app. It works as a web app and for both iOS and Android devices. It is an intelligent app that learns your contacts, schedule and tasks. It also helps you schedule and arrange meetings according to your available time slots.

                    A good thing about Calendar is that it allows you to sync up with other calendars you use such as Apple Calendar and Google Calendar. And so you can manage all the calendars you have in one place.

                    Calendar also gives you analytics of your meetings, giving you a clear picture on how you can improve your time management.

                    Available for Desktop, and iOS

                    6. aCalendar

                      aCalendar opens our collection of top 10 calendar applications available on the market today. With its appealing design, easy navigation, and great functionality, it is one of the most popular calendar apps in our list.

                      Some of extra functions include color schemes for each case type (48 colors to choose from), different types of demonstrations, different widgets, moon phases, and much more.

                      Taking into account it functionality, aCalendar is a reliable calendar application that has an easy-to-navigate interface with three display options. Scrolling from side to side allows you to switch between the display modes of the month, week and day.

                      When scrolling down and up, you are moving through the calendar at intervals in accordance with the selected display mode.

                      Apart from its time planning feature, aCalendar synchronizes photos from contact lists or social networks to remind you about birthdays, anniversaries, or any other special dates.

                      The program also supports data transfer through NFC and full-screen widgets, which eases your work with any data.

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                      The program is available for free, but you can also get even more features if you buy the extended version of software for $4.99.

                      Available for Android

                      7. DigiCal Calendar

                        DigiCal Calendar is very similar to Cal Calendar in the fact that the application focuses on design more than on its functionality. However, this doesn’t mean that the application doesn’t serve the purpose.

                        With this calendar application, you can synchronize all your calendars and view them in different ways.

                        Along with the basic functions, this program comes with support for Google Calendar, Outlook, and includes some unique and interesting features. You can match keywords to the image or set up a dark theme.

                        The app can even show you the weather forecast for three days. There are many other features that deserve the attention of people who really like to use calendar applications.

                        Available for Android

                        8. SolCalendar

                          SolCalendar can be called a universal application. It claims to be an all-in-one digital solution having a basic calendar functionality combined with some other advanced features, such as weather forecast for a specific day.

                          The application supports Google Calendar, as well as tasks, widgets, lunar calendar and even Foursquare.

                          Those searching for a calendar application to cover just everything in its functionality, SolCalendar is a program to consider. There are a lot of interesting things in this application; the program does an excellent job working in “all-in-one” mode.

                          Test SolCalendar – the application is available for free. You can test it out without purchasing the service.

                          Available for Android

                          9. Today Calendar

                            Today Calendar is one of the most hip and edgy calendars in our list. The solution was one of the first ones that really embraced Material Design and remains one of the few that adhere to the neat style.

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                            The calendar application offers bold colors, simple controls, and great functionality. This is not as heavy an application as many others; it will not eat all the memory of your device.

                            If you are not searching for something complicated and over-functional, Today Calendar is what you need. You can always test the application before paying for it – the program is available for free.

                            Available for Android

                            10. Calendar Widget: Month

                              Sometimes people do not need a heap of calendar applications. They would prefer to have one efficient calendar widget.

                              Calendar Widget: Month perfectly fills this niche and meets all the needs of a modern user. It has some features of an ordinary calendar, but the real great thing about this software is that it has 80 or more themes in its library.

                              The design of the application is great; the themes are perfectly tuned. There are options for almost any theme of your smartphone. The only drawback is the fact that the widget memory is not too large, and you should be ready for it.

                              This simple calendar widget was created in the image and semblance of widgets from Yahoo. The widget window displays one calendar month with the ability to go to the previous and move to the next one.

                              If you need a simple and affordable calendar to plan your tasks and affairs for one month, this widget is ideal for you. Calendar Widget: Month is so simple that it does not even have Google Calendar support.

                              At the moment, it does not have the function of connecting any third-party calendars and services. Developers allow the possibility of introducing support for Google service as an addition to the widget, if users request to have this opportunity.

                              Available for Android

                              Our Verdict

                              Searching for the right application to manage your various calendars and plan your busy day can sometimes turn into a streak of obstacles.

                              Most of us need flexible applications that can be easily used to manage our tough schedule. The application should have all necessary time planning functions and be intuitive.

                              Stylish design and limitless compatibility also matter. It is not always easy to find such a program.

                              The above digital calendar solutions fall under the category “worth” of being used. They are modern, multifunctional, easy, and easy. Pick the one you like!

                              More Productivity Apps for Better Time Management

                              Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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