Smartphones are one of the latest revolutions to hit the consumer-electronics market. In the space of three years, the iPhone has become almost ubiquitous, bringing features such as GPS navigation, portable web browsing, and video conferencing to a single handheld device.
It wasn’t long before other manufacturers caught on to the success of the iPhone’s design, which features a large touchscreen that covers virtually the whole front of the casing. Nokia, BlackBerry, LG, Samsung, Motorola, and many more have all embraced the touchscreen concept to huge success. The Android operating system is appearing on ever more devices, improving the compatibility of so-called “apps”, small pieces of software designed to perform specific tasks. These include games, weather services, and newspaper readers, for example.
How do you know if a smartphone is right for you?
This is pretty easy to answer: It depends whether you want your phone to just make calls or to act a personal organizer, digital camera, and high-speed web browser too. For many less tech-friendly users, the simplicity of a basic cell phone is ideal — they can easily get their heads around the user interface, and physical buttons (as opposed to the virtual keypad found on many smart phones) are much easier to see and press. Smartphones are generally for technophiles and people who spend a larger part of their time communicating on instant-messaging and social-networking services. The business community also benefits greatly from many features of today’s smartphone, such as always-on instant messaging and the ability to make changes to text files and spreadsheets.
History of the smartphone
IBM was the leading company to venture into the commerce of offering consumers an advanced mobile phone. In 1993 the company introduced what may well be considered the world’s first smartphone — simply called Simon. Considered low-end by today’s standard, this leading smartphone featured an amazing array of features — email, clock, calendar, notepad, and even the capability to send and receive faxes.
During the mid-90s, Nokia began to turn up the heat by introducing its leading line of smartphones — the Nokia 9000 series. This phone was the leader of the Nokia catalogue and was significantly more expensive than its competitors — by about 20–40%. The Nokia 9210 was the first fully modern smartphone because it had a full-blown operating system.
The 21st century has spawned incredibly powerful and easy-to-use smartphones. Touch-screen functionality has become the norm, and manufacturers such as Apple, Nokia, and Research in Motion are furiously vying to lead this lucrative market.