Before Windows 8 there are three main smartphone operating systems. Blackberry, Apple, and Android.
Blackberry is a great OS, it works well, but is lacking in multimedia features and applications compared to the competition. Blackberry just doesn't feel like it has moved as far forward as its competition.
Apple, is a OS that works extremely well, there are very few problems, but customers are locked into a certain style of phone and format. If you pick up any Apple device the user experience is the same. It is this stranglehold of control that turns some customers off. A strong good point though to Apple's system is when an update to the OS is available, it goes to all applicable devices very quickly. Apples OS works well on phones and tablets, but then there is a entirely new OS for computers.
Android takes what is good in the Apple operating system and allows its customers some diversity in style of phone and allows them to customize the phone the way they want. Although this is great, it causes problems, different screen sizes and resolutions, and even hardware processing speed cause some applications to work and others to not. Another downside is the OS updates, some phones get them and some do not, some carriers get them, others do not. This can be extremely frustrating. There is nothing worse than buying a new phone and finding out it is at its OS end of life. This os is also used on tablets, but they haven't reached their full potential.
Now there is Windows 8. my experience with Windows 8 has been using customer preview 8 on an extra laptop. So far I am happy. It gives the customer some customization options, the live tiles are great. The marketplace is coming along nicely. And the feel of this OS doesn't feel like Android OS trying to make a better Apple OS, or an Apple OS trying to make a better Android OS. It feels different, different is good in evolving technologies. I can see this OS working well on Tablets, Laptops, Touchscreens, Phones, and even using it in the XBox. I am looking forward to the launch of this OS, and I look forward to trying it out. I just hope Microsoft puts some guidelines on the design of the devices so that all applications work properly across the board. Also, I hope Microsoft takes control of the updates, and not leave it to the hardware designers. Updates should flow to all devices very quickly. This is the right move forward. This is a new kind of OS. One OS for many devices.