mobile device vendor control

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mobile device vendor control

The smartphone/tablet world is a mix of complete or partial control by the vendor over what winds up in the end product. When vendors make both the hardware and the operating system, they have greater control over the uniformity of the results. When they do not control the hardware, devices using the same operating system may have many different features. This inconsistency can be confusing, while at the same time competition among vendors using the same OS may lead to clever innovations more quickly.

Full Control - Apple and BlackBerry
Apple is the only organization that has total control over its smartphones and tablets. BlackBerry used to sell its phones with the proprietary BlackBerry operating system; however, it subsequently jumped into the Android world with certain models and is therefore subject to Google's control over the OS. See iPhone and BlackBerry 10.

Partial Control - Google and Microsoft
Google makes the Android operating system, and numerous phone and tablet makers build the hardware. Like Windows, the Android OS runs on many devices, and each hardware vendor may make user interface changes and include its own assortment of apps, some of which cannot be removed.

Google exercises control over its Nexus brand, available from different hardware vendors. Nexus ensures a certain look and feel with all models (see Google Nexus). In addition, Google had total control when it acquired the Motorola handset division, but that was later sold to Lenovo. See Android.

Microsoft controls the Windows smartphone operating system, and its Nokia division along with other hardware vendors make the devices (see Windows Phone). Windows also runs on tablets from many different hardware vendors. However, Microsoft makes its own tablet and thus has complete control over the product (see Surface tablet). See mobile compatibility and how to select a mobile device.