What Is a Smartphone?

Home & Family, Technology
on December 12, 2011

The smartphone has become a very popular and, in many cases, standard piece of equipment for millions of consumers. Smartphones are used for communication, business, productivity and a wide variety of entertainment. While the term smartphone can include a number of technological features, a few traits distinguish the smartphone from other cellular phones that have been on the market for several years and only provide voice, text messaging or limited Web applications.

Historical progress. The smartphone essentially combines the personal data assistant (PDA), the cellular phone and the portable music player. While each smartphone has different functions, the general idea is for the user to have the ability to communicate, run programs and carry various types of media such as pictures and music. Rather than have several devices, the smartphone is capable of allowing you to have everything on one compact, handheld device.

Software and interface. All cellular phones have software, but the smartphone is equipped with an operating system, much like a standard desktop or laptop computer. This makes the device faster, more powerful and able to be upgraded in the future. Rather than be restricted to a limited number of functions, the smartphone is designed to be customizable to the user. In addition, many smartphones come with a touchscreen or a slide-out keyboard that allows for easy navigation.

Apps and functions. One of the distinguishing features of the smartphone is “apps,” which is short for applications. This is another word for software programs. These compact programs provide an almost limitless number of functions; games, maps, entertainment guides, news and weather reports, and money management apps are just a few examples of the hundreds of thousands of available applications. The apps are produced by a host of companies, so users have ample opportunities to find just the right program for their needs. Some apps are free to download, while others cost a nominal fee.

Common equipment. As mentioned, the smartphone is used just about everywhere, and some people have become incredibly dependent on their personal devices. In addition, very young users are using smartphones. According to one study done by Internet security company AVG, young children are twice as likely to be skilled in playing a smartphone app as they are in tying their own shoes. While innovations will likely replace the smartphone in the future, these devices are currently a powerful force in today’s society.

Now discover why you need a smartphone.