A smartphone is like a phone, in that you can make telephone calls. You can also add in features that make it much more, such as those bells and whistles that are found on a personal digital assistant (PDA) or even a computer. Many smartphones allow you to send and receive e-mail, edit Office documents, or surf the Internet and much more.
How did smartphones get their start? When technology started to change how we thought about communication, people had cell phones to make calls and PDAs, like the Palm Pilot, to use as personal organizers or day planners that you could carry around with you. You could sync a PDA with your computer and store your contact info, calendars, and a to-do list.
Eventually, PDAs evolved and could do more. They gained wireless connectivity and you could use them to send and receive e-mail. Cell phones, meanwhile, evolved as well. From your cell, you could take advantage of messaging capabilities, too. PDAs then adopted cellular phone features and cell phones added features similar to those found in PDAs and computers. The smartphone was born.
What are a smartphone’s features?
There is no standard definition of the term “smartphone” and what is smart for one consumer might be obsolete and outdated for another. There are, however, certain features that align with smartphones and those that are more associated with cell phones.
Operating System: A phone that has an operating system that allows it to run productivity applications is clearly more than just a cell phone. Depending on the manufacturer, you can have many different types of apps. BlackBerry smartphones run the BlackBerry OS, while other smartphones use Palm OS or Windows Mobile. Many operating systems are really just pared-down versions of desktop Linux and are available on smartphones as well.
Software: All cell phones contain some type of software. Even the most basic and simple of models will include an address book or a contact manager at the very least. Usually a smartphone will be able to do more. Smartphones allow you to create and edit documents in Microsoft Office. At the very least, you are able to view the documents. Many smartphones will allow you to download applications like personal and business finance managers. You can also edit photos, play games, find out where you are thanks to GPS, and create a playlist of your favorite songs.
Web Access: Surfing the Internet is one of the smartphones more popular abilities. The speed at which they can access online information is faster than ever because the phones have 3G data networks and Wi-Fi support on handsets. Even if your smartphone doesn’t have high-speed Internet access, you can still get online and use your smartphone to visit favorite websites while on the go.
QWERTY Keyboard: If you’re device has a QWERTY keyboard, it’s a smartphone. A QWERTY kepboard has the keys laid out like they are on your computer. They aren’t in alphabetical order on top of a numeric keypad so you can’t see that tapping the number 1 is the same as entering an A, B, or C. Also, it doesn’t matter if the keyboard is hardware (physical keys that you type on) or software (a touch screen, like an iPhone).
Messaging: All cell phones allow you to send and receive text messages. A smartphone is set apart because of the way it handles e-mail. A smartphone can sync with your personal and/or professional e-mail accounts. Some smartphones can support several of each type. Others include access to the popular instant messaging services, like AIM at AOL and Yahoo! Messenger, and allow you to connect with others that way, too.
These are just a few of the features that make your smartphone so smart. Technology is adding more fun features and apps to smartphones every day and they can do more now than they could six months ago.