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Platform and operating system are to some extent very similar terms, but not entirely. An operating system (OS) is a software running smartphones, computers, laptops and tablets. Google Android or Apple iOS are most common for mobile phones and tablets. You can find out more detailed information about each OS as well as their advantages and disadvantages in our Comparison of Mobile Operating Systems article. When referring to Android and iOS as platforms, we're talking about a package of services associated with them, such as Gmail for Google or iTunes for Apple. These services can be used not only on mobile devices, but also on computers and laptops.

The Most Common Operating Systems and Platforms

The most common operating systems and platforms for mobile phones today are Android and iOS. The other existing Windows Phone and Blackberry OS platforms are already losing support from manufacturers, so you won't find them too often in new mobile phones.

i Are you deciding whether to get an Android or iOS? Remember, some services are only exclusively available to one platform. Or, sometimes a service originally intended for one of the operating systems may have fewer functions available on another OS.

Google Platform

The mobile operating system also relates to access to their services. The Google services platform includes:

  • Gmail
  • Google search
  • Google Maps
  • YouTube
  • Google Play
  • Google Photos
  • Google Drive
  • Android Pay

You can sign into all Google platforms with one Google Account and use the services free of charge. Nowadays, you can easily create a Google account with an Android mobile phone. You use the account when first signing in and setting up the phone, which automatically gives you access to all Google services. Once you've signed in to Google Chrome, you can also transfer all your bookmarks from your computer. The Google platform is not only available on Android mobile phones, but also on Windows desktop PCs, and even on Apple iPhone and Macs.

Apple Platform

Apple's best known services are:

  • iCloud
  • App Store
  • iTunes Store
  • Apple Music
  • Apple Photos
  • iBooks
  • FaceTime
  • Apple Pay

Apple's platform is more exclusive than its competitors. Its services are accessible only to those who own a Windows operating system, but it's with limited access. Full access is only available to owners with iOS devices, such as iPhones, iPad tablets, Macs and MacBooks.

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