What Is a Smartphone? Definition, Types, and Usability!

Smartphones are changing the way we communicate with each other and how we navigate the world around us. These days, smartphone technology has reached a point where they can do so much more than just make phone calls.

what is a smartphone
Image Source: Pixabay.

These smart devices have allowed us to easily keep up with our closest friends as well as stay connected with the world. There are many different types of smartphones these days.

Some of them are budget-friendly while some others are meant for gaming, checking the weather, and staying up to date with the latest news.

Find out the story behind this tool that fortunately it’s here to stay.

What is a Smartphone?

A smartphone is a mobile phone that combines the power of a personal computer with the portability of a phone. You can use it to navigate through the internet thanks to a wireless network. This is done by using a SIM card and a set of antennas to transmit and receive data from the internet.

They are different from basic phones due to better hardware features and improved mobile operating systems, with a wide range of software, Internet (including mobile broadband web browsing), and multimedia functions – music, video, cameras, and games. 

Besides, they also have basic functions such as receiving voice phone calls and text messages.

History Of The Smartphone

The word smartphone is relatively new. It wasn’t until the 1990s that the word smartphone was first used to describe the new type of phones that were emerging.

At that time, they were considered to be fully-functional computers. The term smartphone is now used as a generic term to describe a cell phone that is more advanced than the average phone.

Motorola was the first brand to give us the first handheld mobile device with the DynaTAC 8000X nearly 40 years ago. We’ve come a long way to have smartphones that are easy to carry.

The first Motorola phones were priced close to $4,000 and weighed more than 1 pound. The DynaTAC 8000X is often referred to as a “brick” and has a battery life of only 30 minutes. 

The phone was a status symbol rather than a functional tool, but without it, today’s phone would not be what it is.

The first smartphone was developed by IBM in 1992 and released in 1994. It was named the Simon Personal Communicator (SPC). 

Without being too compact or elegant, the device had some features that have become key elements of all the smartphones we have today. 

For example:

Touchscreen phone.
Send or receive emails/faxes.
Native calendars, lists, and appointment calendars.
Standard and stylus input screen with keyboards.

These characteristics are different and sophisticated enough to declare it the world’s first smartphone.

It was in 2000 that smartphones were able to connect to true 3G networks. 

The mobile communication standard was created to allow mobiles to access the internet. This has raised the bar for smartphones, enabling video conferencing and sending large attachments.

One of the most influential years in smartphone development was 2007. It was the year Steve Jobs and the Macworld team announced their first iPhone. 

Not only was it the most attractive touchscreen device on the market, but it was also the first device to offer a device that was easier to carry. 

The first iPhone allowed consumers to browse the Internet as they did on their desktop computers.

Functions Of Smartphones

The main function of these devices is simply to help us communicate, but they also allow us to do many things, which we will mention below:

Communication Features: These mobile devices can not only make and send messages in the usual way, but thanks to the operating system, they can send unlimited messages and make video calls through a variety of channels and applications. In addition, thanks to the use of mobile networks, you can compose, edit and send all kinds of emails, and even call other parts of the world.
Job Functions: Another very important function is that we can perform the typical work that we do on a computer. We can write, formulate and present information in the form of spreadsheets, slides, and docs just like we’re on a laptop.
Entertainment Functions: These phones are specially designed to entertain and create memories because they have a camera that allows everyone to take and post photos on social networks.
It also allows us to listen to all kinds of music, from old to new. All are updated through apps that allow you to listen to music, watch movies, series, and more. In addition, seniors and children can play a variety of video games and spend time with friends thanks to the apps. These functions are intended to communicate with each other and provide entertainment at the same time.
Health Functions: A smartphone is a great tool to track health habits and log workouts. This is because a smartphone is a tracking device, which means that it can collect and track data about your lifestyle. The data that are collected are then used to help you make changes. For example, if you are looking to modify your diet, you could track your calorie intake and burn rate. This will allow you to see how effective your diet and exercise are.

How Does a Smartphone Work?

A smartphone is a mini radio that always receives other signals. The mobile network is divided into several cells. Each cell has a different antenna signal that sends a cell phone signal to all mobiles in a particular area.

Next is the phone’s hardware. 

They have a computer chip and a processor. The first one enables functions such as Internet use and photo sharing. The most commonly used features are cameras that use high-resolution image sensors, which are also found in digital cameras.

However, the most important characteristic is the operating system (OS). That’s what keeps all smartphones around the world up to date. The OS manages all the hardware and software on the phone. 

For example, all Samsung phones run Android. The operating system allows you to start multiple applications on your phone at the same time. You can also download and create as many apps as you need.

Smartphones are versatile devices because of their operating system. This allows users to watch the video, receive the call, and return to the video when the call ends.

Types Of Smartphones

Smartphones can be a great tool for staying in touch with friends and family, but they can also be a costly habit. 

It’s important to know how much you can spend before you make a purchase. The first thing you need to do is identify what type of smartphone you are going to buy, always thinking about your specific needs.

iPhoneApple’s iPhone is one of the world’s best-selling smartphones. It runs Apple’s iOS operating system and has features such as Safari, FaceTime, and Siri. 
AndroidGoogle’s Android operating system powers a variety of smartphones on the market. Android smartphones use Google products.
WindowsThe Windows Phone has a personal assistant called Cortana that can help you. It was discontinued, but it was a great piece of software despite all its bugs.

Frequently Asked Questions

Wrap Up

Smartphones can offer a lot of benefits and convenience for people these days. Personally, this device is my everyday source of work besides my laptop. I actually have 2 phones that allow me to take care of all my needs, whether it is from work, social life, tasks, etc.

A device like this can be – almost – whatever you want since you can personalize it and run the apps you need. A lot of people have even started businesses just using their phones. So, the use you give them is entirely up to you.

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Alberto Araujo
Alberto Araujo

Alberto Araujo is a former tech support professional that had a change of heart and now aims to write top-notch tech content for his readers. Writer, digital nomad, tech-geek and hunger for knowledge, that’s how you can describe him. If you want to learn about technology, building PCs, and software applications to make your life easier, his content is for you.

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