Mobile devices use an OS to run software similar to the way desktops and laptops do. This chapter focuses on the two most commonly used mobile operating systems: Android and iOS. Android is developed by Google, and iOS is developed by Apple.

Released in 2008 on the HTC Dream, the Android OS is open source. Open source means that the developer’s programming code, known as source code, is published when it is released. The public can change, copy, or redistribute the code without paying royalty fees to the software developer.

Open source software allows anyone to contribute to the development and evolution of the software. Android has been customized for use on a wide range of electronic devices. Because Android is open and customizable, programmers can use it to operate devices like laptops, smart TVs, and e-book readers. There have even been Android installations in devices like cameras, navigation systems, and portable media players.

Released in 2007 on the first iPhone, iOS is closed source, which means that the source code is not released to the public. To copy or redistribute iOS with or without changes requires the permission of Apple. Apple would most likely charge royalty fees for any money made from using their OS.