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Definition of: Smartphone


A cellphone and handheld computer that created the greatest tech revolution since the Internet. A smartphone can do everything a personal computer can do, and because of its mobility, much more. Although screen size is a limitation, the increasingly higher resolutions make viewing pleasurable (see phablet), and voice recognition can eliminate a fair amount of typing.

A smartphone combines a cellphone with e-mail and Web, music and movie player, camera and camcorder, GPS navigation, voice dictation for messaging and a voice search for asking questions about anything (see virtual assistant). A lot more personal than a personal computer, a smartphone is generally within reach no matter where you are.

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Smartphone Apps
Like any computer, what gives life to the hardware is the software, and there are hundreds of thousands of mobile applications, both free and paid (see online app store). All apps are created for iPhones and Androids and may be available for Windows Phone and BlackBerrys. See how to select a mobile device, smartphone features, smartphone operating system and cellphones vs. smartphones.

A Phone and Smart Everything Else
Ironically, the least spectacular thing about a smartphone is the phone. A smartphone can cut in and out and drop calls like any cellphone, and the more users within the cell tower’s reach, the more likely interruptions will occur.

In 1994, IBM and BellSouth introduced the heavy and pricey Simon Personal Communicator, a phone/PDA touted as the first smartphone (see personal communicator). Amassing a large audience in the 2000s, BlackBerry became the popular corporate smartphone; however, in 2007, the iPhone changed the industry forever. See iPhone, Android, BlackBerry, Windows phone, Symbian, feature phone and smartphone keyboard. See also smart TV.

Modern Smartphones
The iPhone and Windows Phone have consistent user interfaces, although very different from each other. Android manufacturers often employ unique interface features, and the BlackBerry keyboard has always been its trademark.

A Double Touchscreen Smartphone
With an LCD in front and E Ink screen in back, YotaPhone batteries last up to five days in E Ink mode, and it is the only smartphone visible in bright sunlight. See E Ink.

One of the First
In 2002, this Palm Treo ran the popular Palm PDA application along with e-mail and Web browsing. See Palm. (Image courtesy of Palm, Inc.)


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