Similar to the brain which controls and send signals for performing various tasks and regulates the actions in most living beings the Operating system takes care of managing the hardware and software running in our laptops, mobiles, microwaves, digital thermometer and most most other modern day electronic devices which have some any sort of event based functions and/or digital displays. This comparison of OS with the brain is only to stress upon its importance as the brains are a lot more complex systems and still being researched upon.
When you are playing a game on your mobile, watching a movie in Netflix on your television or simply running on a treadmill with digital display there are operating systems which tells these devices/machines what to do by controlling the system resources like processors, memory, camera, displays etc. The main function of any operating system is to manage the hardware and software of the device.
Some everyday devices which have their work on an Operating system
|Micro-controller/ Microprocessors||Mobile OS||Computer OS|
|Description||Microprocessors are usually computers on a single integrated circuit.
Micro-controllers usually contains microprocessors and have additional RAM, ROM and other peripherals all embedded on a single chip
|A mobile OS is specifically designed to run on mobile devices such as mobile phones, smartphones, PDAs, tablet computers and other handheld devices. Android, iOS and Symbian OS etc. are some popular ones.
The mobile OS provide platform on top of which other programs and apps can run on mobile devices.
|Computer OS usually comes with any desktop/laptop that you buy. The three most common operating systems for personal computers are Microsoft Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux.
These operating system sits between applications and hardware, managing how applications access hardware and software resources.
|Devices||Digital Thermometer, The ABS or temperature control on your car, the sensor on your security cameras||Mobile phones, handheld scanners, handheld payment processors, iPad, tablets||Laptop, desktop, application and database servers|
To see how an OS differs from another the best thing in my opinion is to use a Raspberry Pi and install the various suggested OS and try them out this summer. Let us know if you need any help or have query regarding running an OS on your Pi.