A smartphone is a mobile phone with an operating system and a more advanced ability for computing connectivity akin to a computer. It is a one-stop solution for information management, making or receiving calls, writing short messages, and accessing the internet. Modern smartphones, on top of all these in-built applications, also run a myriad of free and paid applications. Smartphones have transformed the single-minded cell phone into a mobile personal computer. They are handheld devices which integrate a mobile phone’s common features in a simple PDA. The light operating systems in smartphones have an interface for a small touchscreen. The four main types of smartphones are the iPhone, Windows Phone, Android, and Blackberry. Although the Symbian smartphones have sold more than any other phone in the world, Nokia switched from its native Symbian to the platform of the Microsoft Windows Phone, selling millions of devices, and attaining the position as the second-highest selling smartphone globally.
A smartphone simply is a device that allows for call making, and in addition has inclusions that were not in the ordinary phone, existing only on personal digital assistants such as the computer (Dhir, 2004). Smartphones entered the market to replace personal digital assistants initially used to send and receive mails and to edit office documents. Eventually, there emerged wireless PDAs, and at the same time, mobile phones had the option to send text messages. The PDA therefore added more phone features, as cell phones become more computer-like.
The key feature of a smartphone which differentiates it from an ordinary cell phone is the operating system. A smartphone, unlike the normal phone, has an operating system which allows it to run complex programs and applications. The operating system in smartphones varies depending on the smartphone model. For instance, Apple’s iPhone runs on iOS, and the Blackberry runs on Blackberry OS. Other smart devices run the Google Android OS, Microsoft Windows, and the HO web OS. Smart phones have apps that act as basic software. These apps allow the user to create and edit documents in Microsoft Office, and allow the downloading of applications for personal use.
Smartphones have a higher web access speed with respect to the growth of 3G and 4G data networks. They have Wi-Fi support which allows a user to have access to the internet within a given locality of internet dispensation. Smartphones also have special keyboards that resemble a normal computer keyboard (Dhir, 2004). Smartphones act as ordinary phones that can send and receive short messages. However, what makes smartphones a little different from the ordinary phone is that a smartphone can synchronize with the organization of personal details, and specifically, a professional email account. The phone has the ability to access other instant messaging services like Facebook Messenger, Whatsapp, Yahoo Messenger, and many more services. These features make the smartphone versatile. The technology surrounding smartphones and cell phones in general is changing constantly. This can make what constitutes a smartphone today to be different by the next week.
Dhir, A. (2004). The digital consumer technology handbook: A comprehensive guide to devices, standards, future directions, and programmable logic solutions. Amsterdam: Elsevier.
Zheng, P & Ni, L. (2010). Smart phone & next generation mobile computing. Burlington: Morgan Kaufmann.