Cell Phone operating system constraints ?

I assume that most modern mobile/cell phones have quite complex operating systems. Obviously they can’t run XP (or can they ?), so what are the constraints on the OS designer ?, which are imposed by the mobile phone environment.

I’m sure someone a bit more technical than I will come by shortly, but in the meantime…

Cell phones do have an operating system, and its level of sophistication will depend on the phone. In fact, some of these operating systems can experience the same problems with Windows, i.e. file corruption, user accidentally deleting necessary files, and so on. One of the common steps in troubleshooting a Blackberry, for example, is to download the most recent version of the operating system (known simply as “handheld software”) and re-install it from scratch. This will actually leave other things intact, such as contacts or e-mail messages; it’s not a matter of just restoring the device to factory settings. Another would be restoring service books or reloading applications, which allow the operating system to do additional functions or communicate with the network.

Interestingly, you can have the same model phone, but be running a different version of the software as someone else, and things like icon appearance, locations of certain functions, and so on will be slightly different.

I can’t say as much for simpler phones, but I would imagine that they would be similar.

There are several vesions of Wndows for cell phones. http://www.microsoft.com/windowsmobile/about/default.mspx

IIRC, the current versions are called Windows PocketPC, which is more for PDAs that can act like phones, and Widows SmartPhone, which is more for phones that can act sorta like PDAs. Same guts, different emphasis.

An older version was called Windows CE.

All are based at least loosely, on the core of XP, minus a LOT of features.

All of these run only on the higher-end models; yuor generic talk-only phone has a much simpler OS inside.
For the OS designer, the big issue is limited RAM & limited persistent (disk-equivalent) storage. The CPU isn’t real fast either, but it doesn’t have too much to do just running the phone.

For the application designer building a game or a calendar or whatever, the major headaches are the smal screen, lack of multiple windowing and limited keyboard.