Smartphone OS showdown: Apple, Google, Microsoft, RIM gear up for battle

Every major smartphone platform iis getting an overhaul with lots of features, and, presumably, hardware to go along with it

By Ian Paul, PC World |  Consumerization of IT, Android, Apple

Microsoft can't get a significant number of users to try out Windows Phone, but the company is doubling down with new features and hardware support in the recently announced Windows Phone 8. Google, meanwhile, may be only days away from announcing Android 5.0 Jelly Bean. And this fall, Apple will release iOS 6 and, presumably, a new iPhone.

Here's a rundown of the highlights coming this year for Android, iOS, BlackBerry, and Windows Phone.

[RELATED: Microsoft and Google Suddenly Want To Be Like Apple]

iOS 6

Apple introduced the latest updates for iOS during the company's Worldwide Developers Conference in June. Google Maps is getting the boot from iOS 6 in favor of an Apple-owned mapping utility that will include built-in turn-by-turn voice-guided navigation, real-time traffic information, photo-realistic 3D flyovers of major urban areas worldwide and vector graphics.

Facebook integration is baked into iOS 6, allowing you to share status updates, photos and Web pages from almost anywhere on the phone. Deep Twitter integration, first introduced in iOS 5, will also remain in iOS 6.

Apple is introducing a new feature called Passbook that collects your movie tickets, retail coupons, loyalty cards, and airline and train boarding passes into one spot. There is some speculation about whether Passbook suggests the next iPhone will feature NFC support. Instead of having someone scan your iPhone's screen with Passbook, the next iPhone could tie into an NFC chip to hold your credit card information for mobile payments.

iOS 6 will also have a number of enhancements for current devices and apps including adding Siri voice command support to the third-generation iPad, easier methods to attach photos and videos to e-mail, new options for declining phone calls, offline reading with Safari's Reading List, and easier online photo sharing via photo stream.

Originally published on PC World |  Click here to read the original story.
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