You might not know the exact definition of a Smartphone, but you sure know a SmartPhone when you see it. Apple iPhone, RIM Blackberry, HTC, Samsung Galaxy, Sony Ericsson Xperia are some of the high end SmartPhones being used today worldwide. A Smartphone is a mobile device that provides Cellular features along with Internet access capabilities. Additionally they come with media players, high resolution cameras, touch screens, GPS navigators, Wi-fi and several other user applications. SmartPhones have powerful computing abilities similar to that of a personal computer.
There is a break neck speed of consumers adopting smart phones, faster than any hi tech gadget in the history. As smart phones are proliferating, the smart phone users are cutting the cord of computers. Currently 63% of the web traffic is generated by computers, which soon will decline to 46% by 2015 according to a report by Cisco. There are now fewer and fewer things that make laptop better than the smart phones.
A smart phone combines the functioning of a PDA and a mobile phone. To understand more about smart phone we need a bit more detailing about the PDA - a Personal Digital Assistant also known as palmtop computer, is a device that functions as a personal information manager. Current PDA’s have the ability to connect to the internet or can access intranet and extranet via WiFi or wireless wide area network. Younger generation below 30 with low incomes found smart phones as suitable replacements for buying expensive computers and paying DSL or cable modem bills every month. In a manner of saying, Smartphones integrate the functions of a Cellphone and a PDA (Personal Digital Assistant) or a Handheld PC.
Smart Phone v/s Contemporary feature phones
A smart phone is the term used to define a more advanced computing ability and connectivity than a contemporary feature phone, although there is no specific definition to distinguish between the two. Certain feature phones also integrate the capabilities of handheld PCs with GSM based mobile phones but they are different from SmartPhones. While a feature phone runs on a proprietary firmware, a smartphone has a complete Operating System (commonly known as Mobile OS). Google Android, Nokia Symbian, Blackberry OS, iPhone OS, Windows Phone are the most popular mobile operating systems being used today.
They can run third party application using an Application Programming Interface (API). Third party application is an app developed by the developer which is not an official Grad of the mobile company. API is a particular set of rules (codes) and specifications that software programs can use to communicate with each other.
In the year 1992, the first smartphone named IBM Simon was launched. It was sold by Bellsouth and was available to the consumers in the year 1993. This phone had many advanced features such as address book, world clock, calendar, e-mail client, notepad and games along with a touch screen instead of physical buttons to dial numbers.
In the year 1996, Nokia launched the Communicator Series with first smartphone Nokia 9000. Apart from being a phone, this phone integrated the PDA by Hewlett Packard (HP) into a Nokia bestseller of that time. This phone also included a physical QWERTY keyboard. The concept phone GS88 was released by Ericson in the year 1997 and it was then that the term SmartPhone was first used. However, the first device to be marketed as SmartPhone was Ericsson’s R380 in 2000. With Symbian OS, Ericsson’s R380 also became the first mobile device to use an open operating system. Next came the first camera smartphone: Ericsson’s P800.
Later advancements were introduced by Nokia in its communicator series. From this series, 9210 became the first color screen model while 9500 became the first Wi-fi phone. GPS was included in the latest E90 communicator.
Subsequently several high end smartphones evolved with more advanced features. In 2007 Apple released its first iPhone which used the multi-touch interface. The second generation of iPhone, with 3G Technology support, was released in 2008 along with App Store which became a huge hit. Android OS was also released in 2008 and since then a large number of companies have started supporting Android in their hardware.