Top Ten Questions Asked About Smartphones
What is a smartphone?
A smartphone is a state-of-the-art mobile phone. Today’s smartphone is tomorrow’s plain old mobile phone.
As new phone technologies become available, the old phones that don’t have those new technologies can’t be called smartphones any more.
Today's mobile smartphone has vastly improved connectivity and computing powers compared to its predecessors which were called smartphones just a few years ago.
The smartphone provides an advanced computer within a phone and can run applications that a regular mobile phone cannot run.
Mobile phones are also called cell phones or cellular phones. They allow communication over a cellular network and are not to be confused with cordless phones that are dependent upon a land line. Mobile phones also typically allow such features as texting (sending text messages) and they may also have a camera.
Some mobile phones and most smartphones provide internet access and allow the sending of emails. Other features may include GPS, radio, and Bluetooth.
Does a smartphone have its own operating system?
Yes, a typical smartphone runs the complete software of an operating system and this operating system is viewed by application developers as a platform upon which they can write applications.
What is the state-of-the art right now in smartphones?
Every day new technologies appear and the large companies seek to improve their smartphones beyond their competitors reach. This has led to rapid changes in the smartphone market along with the increased demand for the smartphones and other mobile devices.
The primary features that are improving and which dictate who is on top of the smartphone market include the smartphone’s memory, the smartphone’s screen size, the power of the smartphone’s processor, and the attractiveness to consumers and application developers of the smartphone’s operating system (e.g., iPhones use iOS while Android phones use the Android operating system).
How many people used smartphones in 2010?
More than 45.5 million people utilized their smartphones in 2010. In the United States there were more than 234 million people who subscribed to smartphone plans. In the mobile phone market the subset of the smartphone market is the fastest growing segment and comprised about 20% of handset shipments during the first half of 2010.
What was the first smartphone that was designed to provide wireless email?
The Blackberry smartphone released by RIM in 2002 was the first smartphone optimizing the use of wireless email. By the beginning of 2010 the company had 32 million subscribers.
When did smartphones begin to show major advances?
When Nokia launched their Nokia N95 in 2007 they were the first to integrate numerous advanced features in a smartphone that would be marketed to consumers.
These features included a five-megapixel camera with an LED flash and autofocus, 3G, wi-fi connectivity, and GPS. These features would become standard features on high-end smartphones in the following years.
When and how did the iPhone advance the smartphone market?
When Apple introduced its first iPhone in 2007 it provided consumers with one of the first smartphones controlled primarily through a touchscreen. Others were the HTC Touch also released in 2007, and the LG Prada.
Apple’s iPhone required a two-year contract and the phone itself was priced at $500 for the less expensive of the two models offered.
The iPhone Multi-Touch Interface
The iPhone was the first to offer a multi-touch interface which uses a touchscreen display that has the ability to register three or more distinct positions of the user’s input touches.
The iPhone also featured a web browser significantly better than any of its competitors although a criticism was that the phone could not use third party applications unless a process called jailbreaking was done to the phone allowing the unofficial use of outside applications.
Android Operating System Offers Smartphone Platform
Backed by Google, the Android operating system (Android OS) was released in 2008 providing an open source platform including hardware for software developers including Samsung, HTC, Intel, Motorola, and ARM.
Together these and other developers, 79 firms in all, formed the Open Handset Alliance which established open standards for mobile devices. Other businesses in the Open Handset Alliance include Dell, Qualcomm, LG, T-Mobile, Wind River Systems, Nvidia and Texas Instruments.
Establishing the Open Handset Alliance
The Open Handset Alliance was established in November of 2007 under the leadership of Google and including thirty-four members in all. These members included not only application developers but also mobile handset makers, chip makers and mobile carriers with Android as the flagship software.
The Android operating system is based upon an open source license and competes against various other mobile platforms such as Symbian, RIM (Research In Motion), Nokia, Apple, Bada, Microsoft and Palm.
T-Mobile branded the HTC Dream mobile smartphone as the first phone to use the Android operating system. The software was designed to integrate with the proprietary applications provided by Google including Gmail, Maps, Calendar and a web browser using HTML. The Android Market provides third-party applications.
Google introduced its Nexus One phone in January of 2010. The phone includes the Android OS. A firmware update in February of 2010 added multi-touch capabilities to the phone.
What is the Android Market?
The online software store known as the Android market was created by Google to provide applications for Android devices. Most Android devices come with a pre-installed program called Market which lets consumers download applications (apps) from third-party software developers.
Apple Introduces the App Store and Second Generation iPhone
The second generation Apple iPhone was introduced in July of 2008 and provided 3G support. Also introduced was the App Store which provided applications for the device.
The App Store provides both paid applications and free applications for the iPhone smartphones a swell as for the iPod Touch. These applications can be delivered directly to the devices using a cellular network or wifi and thus a personal computer is not needed to download the applications.
As of April, 2010 more than 185,000 applications were offered by the App Store and application downloads were well over three billion.
Other app stores that have been launched include the Windows Marketplace for Mobile (Oct, 2009), Palm App Catalog (June, 2009), Ovi Store (by Nokia, May, 2009), and RIM’s BlackBerry App World (April, 2009).
In 2010 the largest selling smartphone operating system was Symbian OS with rivals including Windows Phone OS, iOS, Blackberry OS and Android.
Open Source Operating Systems
Symbian open-sourced all Symbian smartphone code in February of 2010. Ongoing efforts are going on in the smartphone market to open source both the software and hardware of smartphones. Google Android is an increasingly popular open source mobile (smartphone) operating system.