There is no standard definition of the term “smartphone” across the industry, but a few unique features make a smartphone different from the normal cell phone.
Unique Smartphone Features
(1) Operating System: In general, a smartphone will be based on an operating system that allows it to run applications. Apple’s iPhone runs the iOS, and BlackBerry smartphones run theBlackBerry OS. Other devices run Google’s Android OS, HP’s webOS, and Microsoft’s Windows Phone.
(2) Apps: While almost all cell phones include some sort of software like an address book or some sort of contact manager, a smartphone will have the ability to do more. It may allow you to create and edit Microsoft Office documents–or at least view the files. It may allow you to download apps, such as personal and business finance managers, handy personal assistants, and almost anything. Or it may allow you to edit photos, get driving directions via GPS, and create a playlist of digital tunes.
(3) Web Access: Smartphones can access the Web at higher speeds, thanks to the growth of 4G and 3G data networks, as well as the addition of Wi-Fi support to many handsets. Still, while not all smartphones offer high-speed Web access, they all offer some sort of access. You can use your smartphone to browse your favorite sites.
(4) QWERTY Keyboard: By our definition, a smartphone includes a QWERTY keyboard. This means that the keys are laid out in the same manner they would be on your computer keyboard–not in alphabetical order on top of a numeric keypad, where you have to tap the number 1 to enter an A, B, or C. The keyboard can be hardware (physical keys that you type on) or software (on a touch screen, like you’ll find on the iPhone).
(5) Messaging: All cell phones can send and receive text messages, but what sets a smartphone apart is its handling of e-mail. A smartphone can sync with your personal and, most likely, your professional email account. Some smartphones can support multiple email accounts. Others include access to the popular instant messaging services, like AOL’s AIM and Yahoo! Messenger.
These are just some of the unique features that make a smartphone smart. The technology surrounding smartphones and cell phones is constantly changing and new features will continue to be added.