What is the Most Popular Operating System in the World?

Hint: it is not Windows. No, it isn’t Macintosh either.

According to an article by Dieter Bohn in The Verge web site, the Android operating system is installed on more computers, laptops, tablet computers, and smartphones than any other operating system in the world. In fact, it isn’t just slightly more popular than some other operating system; it is by far the dominant operating system of today.

The soaring popularity of Android is due in large part to its main platform: the smartphone. The number of smartphones sold today outnumbers sales of computers running Windows, Macintosh, and Linux. In fact, many young consumers and also people in third world countries never purchase a desktop or laptop computer; they simply use a smartphone or tablet for all their needs. And Android is installed on about 85% of all the smartphones in the world.

NOTE: For reference, the 85% claim comes from IDC’s study that is published at https://www.idc.com/promo/smartphone-market-share/os.

Android is also installed on many tablet computers and a few laptop computers. For examples of Android on a laptop, see my earlier articles:

Hands on with the $149.99 Insignia™ NS-P11A8100 11.6-inch Tablet with Removable Keyboard at https://wp.me/p5Z3-5nC

Here is the Android Tablet that Also Can Be Used as a Desktop Computer at https://wp.me/p5Z3-6c4

I didn’t write this but you also might want to see 3 Ways You Can Use Android as a Desktop Operating System at: https://www.makeuseof.com/tag/use-android-desktop-operating-system/.

If you consider a smartphone to be a computer (and I certainly do as my present smartphone is far more powerful than the desktop computer I owned some years ago), Android is now more popular than Windows, Macintosh, Linux, and Apple’s iOS (iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch operating system) COMBINED!

As a genealogist, I can believe these statistics. For instance, how many brand-new genealogy programs for Windows or Macintosh systems have been released in the past year? How about in the past five years? I am not referring to upgrades of existing programs. Instead, I am trying to recall any brand-new, full-featured genealogy program released in the past year or two for Windows or Macintosh. I believe the number is zero.

On the flip side, look at the number of genealogy apps available for Android systems, as listed in the Google Play Store at https://play.google.com/store/search?q=genealogy&c=apps.

I found 245 apps listed when I looked at that page, and the number is growing every week. To be sure, not all of apps listed are true genealogy apps; but, even if we ignore the Android apps designed for note taking or for religious or history topics or for other non-genealogy purposes, there are still a lot of genealogy apps available today. Even better, most of them are available free of charge!

If we add in the genealogy apps for Apple iPhone and iPad systems, it seems that the majority of software developers are creating genealogy apps for mobile devices, not for traditional desktop and laptop systems. I could also suggest we should add in the various genealogy apps that run in the cloud in order to get a true picture of today’s genealogy software developments.

As the handheld devices continue to become even more popular and more powerful, the capabilities of the available genealogy apps are going to mushroom. We already have Android apps that are more powerful than the MS-DOS genealogy programs that genealogists used in the 1990s. (Do you remember the original Family Tree Maker for MS-DOS produced by Banner Blue? It couldn’t even record text notes as source citations!) It seems certain that genealogy apps for the future’s powerful mobile devices will include even more capabilities than today’s Windows or Macintosh programs.

Of course, all this is nothing new. For the past several years, the majority of software development has been either in mobile apps or in cloud-based applications. Genealogists tend to be rather conservative and perhaps are a bit late in the move to the cloud and to mobile devices, but we are still following the trends of the industry.

Will your next genealogy program run on your mobile device(s) or in your secure area in the cloud? For most of the genealogists, I suspect the answer is “Yes.”

My belief is that we are already seeing a blend of these two technologies: data will be safely stored in the cloud but be retrieved, analyzed, updated, displayed, printed, and merged on whatever device is available, be it mobile or desktop. The operating systems involved will be unimportant. All that future genealogists will care about is that these systems work together and meet our needs.

9 Comments

Have you started testing genealogy software on Android systems? (FTM, AQ, RM, and even WordPerfect, Libre? )

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    —> Have you started testing genealogy software on Android systems?

    That would be impossible. None of the Android apps will run on Windows or Macintosh. None of the Windows or Macintosh apps run on Android.

    Family Tree Maker is available in two versions: one for Windows and one for Macintosh. AncestralQuest is available for Windows. RootsMagic is available in two versions: one for Windows and one for Macintosh. None of them are available for Android.

    Instead, there are roughly 200 genealogy programs or apps for Android. As mentioned in the above article, you can see all of them by starting at https://play.google.com/store/search?q=genealogy&c=apps

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Unfortunately the article, although technically correct is really an Android/Google advert. Android is the most common operating system across all devices but most genealogists are not foolish enough to data input into a smart phone. If you were to take away the mobile phone element to the calculation, you would find Windows is the most popular operating system and that is why most geology software packages are designed for Windows not Android.
Research and data input is a major part of my genealogy, and to try to achieve this on a small device that is not designed to do this is foolish and pointless. But using a pc, with a keyboard and mouse, and a decent size screen makes my input fast and accurate.
Please do t think that a smart phone or tablet will replace your pc or laptop soon, these tools are vital if you wish to research and add data to your trees.
Gareth

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    —> But using a pc, with a keyboard and mouse, and a decent size screen makes my input fast and accurate.

    With today’s technology, it is possible to connect some smartphones or tablets to external, full-sized keyboards, mice, and 30-inch (or larger) display screens. Not all devices have this capability today, but it is becoming more popular. For instance, see my earlier article, Here is the Android Tablet that Also Can Be Used as a Desktop Computer, at https://wp.me/p5Z3-6c4 .

    Then, of course, there are the predicted future display screens that look similar to this one: https://news.scott.services/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/future-computer-woman-shutterstock.jpg . I’d love to have one of these attached to my smartphone!

    I already have a docking station for my laptop computer that looks like this: https://blog.eogn.com/dockingstation/

    It sits on my desk all the time, connected to a 27-inch monitor, an external mouse, a full-sized keyboard, a printer, and a scanner. When I arrive home, I simply plug one cable from the laptop to the docking station and use the laptop as a full-sized desktop system.

    My present laptop computer is as powerful as most desktop systems with a one-terabyte internal hard drive, 32 gigabytes of memory, and a quad-core Intel Core i7 processor. It also easily connects to various peripheral devices, the same as most other laptop systems. The docking station is simply a convenience to make the external connections quickly and easily.

    The difference between desktop and laptop computers is already blurring and there are hints that the same is beginning to become true for tablet computers and smartphones. My belief is that future desktop, laptop, tablet, and smartphone computers will not be restricted to any particular size display screen or keyboard, large or small, thanks to external peripherals that connect by cables or by wireless connections. I think we are already seeing that trend today.

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Dick, have you tried RootsFinder, the new full-function genealogy program that features a DNA component that is incredibly functional?

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    —> Dick, have you tried RootsFinder

    Yes. I wrote about RootsFinder a couple of times earlier this year. It is a great program. Look at my articles at https://wp.me/p5Z3-5DD and at https://wp.me/p5Z3-6cc

    RootsFinder isn’t a Windows or Macintosh or Android program, however. It is web-based. As I wrote in February: “RootsFinder.com is a free, online family tree…” It runs on servers in the cloud, which I believe is the wave of the future. RootsFinder has a lot of enthusiastic fans.

    Liked by 1 person

Even though a smartphone is a computer now the article should break out by type of compujter

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So, what I need to do is not a tablet, then I buy a screen, then I buy a keyboard, then I trust a cloud system with my 3tb of research and I need to make sure that I buy all the equipment and leads to link all these components.
I own a 3 year old Samsung Galaxy Note. It has already started slowing down, and although it was market leading at the time, it struggles with high resolution images.
Or you could spend a lot less money on a product designed for data input, designed to manipulate images and store all your data.
No tablet can cope with crunching data like a half decent. That combined with the lack of developer support for genealogy packages on Android, leaves Android with little go nothing to offer for genealogists.
Recently I spoke to a developer who works on a very popular genealogy software package and asked him about it. He told me that they have very few enquiries regarding Android and unless Android became a major player in pc operating systems, nothing will change.
That’s why there are so few genealogy packages on Android.
Gareth

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I only use a little flip phone and have no intention of getting am expensive new phone unless forced to do so and at my age that is probably not going to happen. I do lots of historical and genealogical research and sitting at my desk with my regular computer is very relaxing. I don’t even like the laptop as well.

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