A smartphone (or smart phone) is a mobile phone with an advanced mobile operating system. They typically combine the features of a cell phone with those of other popular mobile devices, such as personal digital assistant (PDA), media player and GPS navigation unit. Most smartphones have a touchscreen user interface, can run third-party apps and are camera phones. Most Smartphones produced from 2012 onwards also have high-speed mobile broadband 4G LTE internet, motion sensors, and mobile payment mechanisms.
In 2014, sales of smartphones worldwide topped 1.2 billion, which was up 28% from 2013.
Devices that combined telephony and computing were first conceptualized by Theodore Paraskevakos in 1971 and patented in 1974, and were offered for sale beginning in 1993. He was the first to introduce the concepts of intelligence, data processing and visual display screens into telephones which gave rise to the "smartphone." In 1971, Paraskevakos, working with Boeing in Huntsville, Alabama, demonstrated a transmitter and receiver that provided additional ways to communicate with remote equipment, however it did not yet have general purpose PDA applications in a wireless device typical of smartphones. They were installed at Peoples' Telephone Company in Leesburg, Alabama and were demonstrated to several telephone companies. The original and historic working models are still in the possession of Paraskevakos.
The first mobile phone to incorporate PDA features was an IBM prototype developed in 1992 and demonstrated that year at the COMDEX computer industry trade show. A refined version of the product was marketed to consumers in 1994 by BellSouth under the name Simon Personal Communicator. The Simon was the first cellular device that can be properly referred to as a "smartphone", although it was not called that in 1994. In addition to its ability to make and receive cellular phone calls, Simon was able to send and receive faxes and emails and included several other apps like address book, calendar, appointment scheduler, calculator, world time clock, and note pad through its touch screen display. Simon is the first smartphone to be incorporated with the features of a PDA.
The term "smart phone" first appeared in print in 1995, for describing AT&T's "PhoneWriter Communicator" as a "smart phone".
In the late 1990s, many mobile phone users carried a separate dedicated PDA device, running early versions of operating systems such as Palm OS, BlackBerry OS or Windows CE/Pocket PC. These operating systems would later evolve into mobile operating systems.
In March 1996, Hewlett-Packard released the OmniGo 700LX, which was a modified 200LX PDA that supported a Nokia 2110-compatible phone and had integrated software built in ROM to support it. The device featured a 640x200 resolution CGA compatible 4-shade gray-scale LCD screen and could be used to make and receive calls, text messages, emails and faxes. It was also 100% DOS 5.0 compatible, allowing it to run thousands of existing software titles including early versions of Windows.
In August 1996, Nokia released the Nokia 9000 Communicator which combined a PDA based on the GEOS V3.0 operating system from Geoworks with a digital cellular phone based on the Nokia 2110. The two devices were fixed together via a hinge in what became known as a clamshell design. When opened, the display was on the inside top surface and with a physical QWERTY keyboard on the bottom. The personal organizer provided e-mail, calendar, address book, calculator and notebook with text-based web browsing, and the ability to send and receive faxes. When the personal organizer was closed, it could be used as a digital cellular phone.
In early 2000, the Ericsson R380 was released by Ericsson Mobile Communications, and was the first device marketed as a "smartphone". It combined the functions of a mobile phone and a PDA, supported limited web browsing with a resistive touchscreen utilizing a stylus.
Smartphones before Android, iOS and BlackBerry, typically ran on Symbian, which was originally developed by Psion. It was the world's most widely used smartphone operating system until the last quarter of 2010.
In 1999, the Japanese firm NTT DoCoMo released the first smartphones to achieve mass adoption within a country. These phones ran on i-mode, which provided data transmission speeds up to 9.6 kbit/s. Unlike future generations of wireless services, NTT DoCoMo's i-mode used cHTML, a language which restricted some aspects of traditional HTML in favor of increasing data speed for the devices. Limited functionality, small screens and limited bandwidth allowed for phones to use the slower data speeds available.
The rise of i-mode helped NTT DoCoMo accumulate an estimated 40 million subscribers by the end of 2001. It was also ranked first in market capitalization in Japan and second globally. This power would wane in the face of the rise of 3G and new phones with advanced wireless network capabilities.
Outside of Japan smartphones were still rare, although throughout the mid-2000s, devices based on Microsoft's Windows Mobile started to gain popularity among business users in the U.S. The BlackBerry later gained mass adoption in the U.S., and American users popularized the term "CrackBerry" in 2006 due to its addictive nature. The company first released its GSM BlackBerry 6210, BlackBerry 6220, and BlackBerry 6230 devices in 2003.
Symbian was the most popular smartphone OS in Europe during the middle to late 2000s. Initially, Nokia's Symbian devices were focused on business, similar to Windows Mobile and BlackBerry devices at the time. From 2006 onwards, Nokia started producing entertainment-focused smartphones, popularized by the Nseries. In Asia, with the exception of Japan, the trend was similar to that of Europe.
In 2007, Apple Inc. introduced the iPhone, one of the first smartphones to use a multi-touch interface. The iPhone was notable for its use of a large touchscreen for direct finger input as its main means of interaction, instead of a stylus, keyboard, or keypad typical for smartphones at the time.
2008 saw the release of the first phone to use Android called the HTC Dream (also known as the T-Mobile G1). Android is an open-source platform founded by Andy Rubin and now owned by Google. Although Android's adoption was relatively slow at first, it started to gain widespread popularity in 2010, and now dominates the market.
These new platforms led to the decline of earlier ones. Microsoft, for instance, started a new OS from scratch, called Windows Phone. Nokia abandoned Symbian and partnered with MS to use Windows Phone on its smartphones. Windows Phone then became the third-most-popular OS. Palm's webOS was bought by Hewlett-Packard and later sold to LG Electronics for use on LG smart TVs. BlackBerry Limited, formerly known as Research In Motion, also made a new platform from scratch, BlackBerry 10.
The capacitive touchscreen also had a knock-on effect on smartphone form factors. Before 2007 it was common for devices to have a physical numeric keypad or physical QWERTY keyboard in either a candybar or sliding form factor. However, by 2010, there were no top-selling smartphones with physical keypads.
Android is an open-source platform founded in October 2003 by Andy Rubin and backed by Google, along with major hardware and software developers (such as Intel, HTC, ARM, Motorola and Samsung) that form the Open Handset Alliance. In October 2008, HTC released the HTC Dream, the e execution of native applications and third-party apps which are available via Google Play, which launched in October 2008 as Android Market. By Q4 2010, Android became the best-selling smartphone platform.
iOS is a mobile operating system developed by Apple Inc. and distributed exclusively for Apple hardware. It is the operating system that powers the company's iDevices. In 2007, Apple introduced the iPhone, the first device to use iOS and one of the first smartphones to use a multi-touch interface. The iPhone was notable for its use of a large touchscreen for direct finger input as its main means of interaction, instead of a stylus, keyboard, or keypad as typical for smartphones at the time. In 2008, Apple introduced the App Store, which allowed any iPhone to install third-party native applications. Featuring over 500 applications at launch, the App Store eventually achieved 1 billion downloads in the first year, and 75 billion by mid-2014. In January 2015, Apple announced that they have now sold one billion iOS devices.
In 2010, Microsoft unveiled Windows Phone 7 with a User Interface inspired by Microsoft's "Metro Design Language", to replace Windows Mobile. Windows Phone 7 integrates with Microsoft services such as Microsoft SkyDrive, Office, Xbox and Bing, as well as non-Microsoft services such as Facebook, Twitter and Google accounts. This software platform runs the Microsoft Mobile smartphones, and has received some positive reception from the technology press and been praised for its uniqueness and differentiation. In 2012, Microsoft released Windows Phone 8, replacing its previously Windows CE-based architecture with one based on the Windows NT kernel with many components shared with Windows 8, allowing applications to be ported between the two platforms.
In 1999, RIM released its first BlackBerry devices, providing secure real-time push-email communications on wireless devices. Services such as BlackBerry Messenger provide the integration of all communications into a single inbox. In September 2012, RIM announced that the 200 millionth BlackBerry smartphone was shipped. As of September 2014, there are around 46 million active BlackBerry service subscribers. Most recently, RIM has undergone a platform transition, changing its name to BlackBerry and making new devices on a new platform named "BlackBerry 10."
Firefox OS (originally called the boot to gecko project) was demonstrated by Mozilla in February 2012. It was designed to have a complete community based alternative system for mobile devices, using open standards and HTML5 applications. The first commercially available Firefox OS phones were ZTE Open and Alcatel One Touch Fire. As of 2014 more companies have partnered with Mozilla including Panasonic (which is making a smart TV with Firefox OS) and Sony.
The Sailfish OS is based on the Linux kernel and Mer. Additionally Sailfish OS includes a partially or completely proprietary multi-tasking user interface programmed by Jolla. This user interface differentiate Jolla smartphones from others. Sailfish OS is intended to be a system made by many of the MeeGo team, which left Nokia to form Jolla, utilizing funding from Nokia's "Bridge" program which helps establish and support start-up companies formed by ex-Nokia employees.
Tizen is a Linux-based operating system for devices, including smartphones, tablets, in-vehicle infotainment (IVI) devices, smart TVs, laptops and smart cameras. Tizen is a project within the Linux Foundation and is governed by a Technical Steering Group (TSG) composed of Samsung and Intel among others. In April 2014, Samsung released the Samsung Gear 2 and the Gear 2 Neo, running Tizen. The Samsung Z1 is the first smartphone produced by Samsung; it was released in the Indian market on 14 January 2015.
Ubuntu Touch (also known as Ubuntu Phone) is a mobile version of the Ubuntu operating system developed by Canonical UK Ltd and Ubuntu Community. It is designed primarily for touchscreen mobile devices such as smartphones and tablet computers.
Symbian was originally developed by Psion as EPOC32. It was the world's most widely used smartphone operating system until Q4 2010, though the platform never gained popularity or widespread awareness in the U.S., as it did in Europe and Asia. The first Symbian phone, the touchscreen Ericsson R380 Smartphone, was released in 2000, and was the first device marketed as a "smartphone". It combined a PDA with a mobile phone. In February 2011, Nokia announced that it would replace Symbian with Windows Phone as the operating system on all of its future smartphones, with the platform getting abandoned throughout the following few years.
Windows Mobile was based on the Windows CE kernel and first appeared as the Pocket PC 2000 operating system. Throughout its lifespan, the operating system was available in both touchscreen and non-touchscreen formats. It was supplied with a suite of applications developed with the Microsoft Windows API and was designed to have features and appearance somewhat similar to desktop versions of Windows. Third parties could develop software for Windows Mobile with no restrictions imposed by Microsoft. Software applications were eventually purchasable from Windows Marketplace for Mobile during the service's brief lifespan. Windows mobile was phased out in favor of Windows Phone.
The Bada operating system for smartphones was announced by Samsung in November 2009. The first Bada-based phone was the Samsung Wave S8500, released in June 2010. Samsung shipped 4.5 million phones running Bada in Q2 of 2011. In 2013, Bada merged with a similar platform called Tizen.
In late 2001, Handspring launched the Springboard GSM phone module with limIn. In May 2002, Handspring released the Palm OS Treo 270 smartphone, that did not support Springboard, with both a touchscreen and a full keyboard. The Treo had wireless web browsing, email, calendar, a contact organizer and mobile third-party applications that could be downloaded or synced with a computer. Handspring was purchased by Palm, Inc which released the Treo 600 and continued releasing Treo devices with a few Treo devices using Windows Mobile. After buying Palm in 2011, Hewlett-Packard (HP) discontinued its webOS smartphone and tablet production.
webOS was from LG, although some parts are open source. webOS is a proprietary mobile operating system running on the Linux kernel, initially developed by Palm, which launched with the Palm Pre. After being acquired by HP, two phones (the Veer and the Pre 3) and a tablet (the TouchPad) running webOS were introduced in 2011. On August 18, 2011, HP announced that webOS hardware was to be discontinued but would continue to support and update webOS software and develop the webOS ecosystem. HP released webOS as open source under the name Open webOS, and plans to update it with additional features. On February 25, 2013 HP announced the sale of WebOS to LG Electronics, who planned to use the operating system for its "smart" or Internet-connected TVs.
The introduction of Apple's App Store for the iPhone and iPod Touch in July 2008 popularized manufacturer-hosted online distribution for third-party applications (software, computer programs) focused on a single platform. Up until that point, smartphone application distribution depended on third-party sources providing applications for multiple platforms, such as GetJar, Handango, Handmark, and PocketGear.
Following the success of the App Store, other smartphone manufacturers launched application stores, such as Google's Android Market in October 2008 and RIM's BlackBerry App World in April 2009. In February 2014, 93% of mobile developers were targeting smartphones first for mobile app development.
One of the main characteristics of smartphones is their screen. It usually fills virtually almost the entire phone surface (about 70%); screen size usually defines the size of a smartphone. Usually have aspect ratio 4:3 or 16:9.
They are measured in diagonal inches, starting from 2.45 inches. Phones with screens larger than 5.2 inches are called "phablets". Smartphones with screens over 4.5 inches commonly are moved around in the hand or used with both hands, since the average thumb cannot reach the entire screen surface. Types of screen include LCD, LED, OLED, AMOLED, IPS and others.
In the third quarter of 2012, one billion smartphones were in use worldwide. Global smartphone sales surpassed the sales figures for features phones in early 2013. As of 2013, 65 percent U.S. mobile consumers own smartphones. The European mobile device market as of 2013 is 860 million. In China, smartphones represented more than half of all handset shipments in the second quarter of 2012 and in 2014 there were 519.7 million smartphone users, with the number estimated to grow to 700 million by 2018.
As of November 2011, 27% of all photographs were taken with camera-equipped smartphones. A study conducted in September 2012 concluded that 4 out of 5 smartphone owners use the device to shop. Another study conducted in June 2013 concluded that 56% of American adults now owned a smartphone of some kind. Android and iPhone owners account for half of the cell phone user population. Higher income adults and those under age 35 lead the way when it comes to smartphone ownership.
Worldwide shipments of smartphones topped 1 billion units in 2013 (up 38% from 2012's 725 million) while comprising a 55% share of the mobile phone market in 2013 (up from 42% in 2012).
In 2011, Apple had the highest shipment market share worldwide. In 2013, Samsung had 31.3% market share, a slight increase from 30.3% in 2012, while Apple was at 15.3%, a decrease from 18.7% in 2012. Huawei, LG and Lenovo were at about 5% each, significantly better than 2012 figures, while others had about 40%, the same as the previous years figure. Only Apple lost market share, although their shipment volume still increased by 12.9 percent; the rest had significant increases in shipment volumes of 36 to 92 percent. In Q1 2014, Samsung had a 31% share and Apple had 16%. In Q4 2014, Apple had a 20.4% share and Samsung had 19.9%.
In Q1 2015 in the US, Android market share was 53.2%; Apple's iPhone had a 41.3% share and Samsung's Android smartphones had 29.3%.
The market has been dominated by the Android operating system since 2010. Android's market share (measured by units shipment) rose from 33.2% in Q4 2011 to 78.1% of the market in Q4 2013. Apple's market share oscillated between 15% to 20.9% during the same period. BlackBerry's market share fell from 14.3% in Q4 2011 to 0.6% in Q4 2013. Windows Mobile market share rose from 1.5% to 3% during the same time frame.
As of the end of Q3 2014, Android was the most popular operating system, with a 84.4% market share, followed by iOS with 11.7%, Windows Phone with 2.9%, BlackBerry with 0.5% and all others with 0.6%.
|Year||Android (Google)||iOS (Apple)||Windows Mobile/Phone (Microsoft)||BlackBerry (formerly RIM)||Symbian (Nokia)||Palm/WebOS (Palm/HP)||Bada (Samsung)||Other|
Smartphones have issues besides those affecting other mobile telephones.
A University of Southern California study found that unprotected adolescent sexual activity was more common amongst owners of smartphones. A study conducted by the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute's (RPI) Lighting Research Center (LRC) concluded that smartphones, or any backlit devices, can seriously affect sleep cycles.
With the rise in number of mobile medical apps in the market place, government regulatory agencies raised concerns on the safety of the use of such applications. These concerns were transformed into regulation initiatives world wide with the aim of safeguarding users from untrusted medical advice.
Smartphone malware is easily distributed through an insecure app store. Often malware is hidden in pirated versions of legitimate apps, which are then distributed through third-party app stores. Malware risk also comes from what's known as an "update attack", where a legitimate application is later changed to include a malware component, which users then install when they are notified that the app has been updated.
One out of three robberies in 2012 in the United States involved the theft of a mobile phone. An online petition has urged smartphone makers to install kill switches in their devices. In 2014, Apple's "Find my iPhone" and Google's "Android Device Manager" can disable phones that have been lost/stolen.
The following table compares the screen sizes of all Apple smartphones and a selected number of Samsung, Google, Microsoft, HTC, Asus and Motorola smartphones that were available worldwide.
|Brand||Name||Screen Size (Diagonally)||Note|
|Apple||iPhone (1st generation)||3.5 inches (8.9 cm)|
|iPhone 3G||3.5 inches (8.9 cm)|
|iPhone 3GS||3.5 inches (8.9 cm)|
|iPhone 4||3.5 inches (8.9 cm)|
|iPhone 4S||3.5 inches (8.9 cm)|
|iPhone 5||4 inches (10 cm)|||
|iPhone 5C||4 inches (10 cm)|||
|iPhone 5S||4 inches (10 cm)|||
|iPhone 6||4.7 inches (12 cm)|||
|iPhone 6 Plus||5.5 inches (14 cm)|||
|Asus||ZenFone 5||5.05 inches (12.8 cm)|
|ZenFone 4||4.0 inches (10 cm)|
|ZenFone 6||6.0 inches (15 cm)|
|ZenFone 2||5.5 inches (14 cm)|
|Samsung||Galaxy Spica||3.2 inches (8.1 cm)|
|Galaxy S||4 inches (10 cm)|
|Galaxy S II||4.3 inches (11 cm)|
|Galaxy S III||4.8 inches (12 cm)|
|Galaxy S III Mini||4 inches (10 cm)|
|Galaxy S4||5 inches (13 cm)|
|Galaxy S4 Mini||4.27 inches (10.8 cm)|
|Galaxy S5||5.1 inches (13 cm)|
|Galaxy S5 Mini||4.5 inches (11 cm)|
|Galaxy S6||5.1 inches (13 cm)|
|Galaxy Note (original)||5.3 inches (13 cm)|
|Galaxy Note II||5.5 inches (14 cm)|
|Galaxy Note 3 Neo||5.5 inches (14 cm)|
|Galaxy Note 3||5.7 inches (14 cm)|
|Galaxy Note 4||5.7 inches (14 cm)|
|Galaxy Note Edge||5.6 inches (14 cm)|
|Galaxy Alpha||4.7 inches (12 cm)|
|Galaxy Mega||6.3 inches (16 cm)|
|Galaxy Mega 2||6 inches (15 cm)|
|Nexus S||4 inches (10 cm)|
|Galaxy Nexus||4.65 inches (11.8 cm)|
|Nexus One||3.7 inches (9.4 cm)|
|Nexus 4||4.7 inches (12 cm)|
|Nexus 5||4.95 inches (12.6 cm)|
|Nexus 6||5.96 inches (15.1 cm)|
|Microsoft||Nokia N8||3.8 inches (9.7 cm)|
|Nokia Lumia 510||4 inches (10 cm)|
|Nokia Lumia 520||4 inches (10 cm)|
|Nokia Lumia 525||4 inches (10 cm)|
|Nokia Lumia 530||4 inches (10 cm)|
|Microsoft Lumia 535||5 inches (13 cm)|
|Nokia Lumia 1320||6 inches (15 cm)|
|Microsoft Lumia 535||5 inches (13 cm)|
|Nokia Lumia 1520||6 inches (15 cm)|
|HTC||HTC One V||3.7 inches (9.4 cm)|
|HTC One X||4.7 inches (12 cm)|
|HTC Evo 4G||4.3 inches (11 cm)|
|HTC Evo 4G LTE||4.7 inches (12 cm)|
|HTC One (2013)||4.7 inches (12 cm)|
|HTC One (M8)||5 inches (13 cm)|
|HTC One Mini||4.3 inches (11 cm)|
|HTC One M9||5 inches (13 cm)|
|HTC One Mini 2||4.5 inches (11 cm)|
|Motorola||Moto X (1st generation)||4.7 inches (12 cm)]|
|Moto G (1st generation)||4.5 inches (11 cm)|
|Moto E (1st generation)||4.3 inches (11 cm)|
|Moto X (2nd generation)||5.2 inches (13 cm)|
|Moto G (2nd generation)||5 inches (13 cm)|
|Moto E (2nd generation)||4.5 inches (11 cm)|
|Sony||Xperia S||4.3 inches (11 cm)|
|Xperia ion||4.55 inches (11.6 cm)|
|Xperia acro S||4.3 inches (11 cm)|
|Xperia sola||3.7 inches (9.4 cm)|
|Xperia T2 Ultra||6 inches (15 cm)|
|Xperia Z2||5.2 inches (13 cm)|
|Xperia M2||4.3 inches (11 cm) OR 4.4 inches (11 cm)|
|Xperia T||4.4 inches (11 cm)|
|Xperia C3||4.4 inches (11 cm)|
|Xperia Z3||4.4 inches (11 cm) OR 5.1 inches (13 cm)|
Simon was the first smartphone. Twenty years ago, it envisioned our app-happy mobile lives, squeezing the features of a cell phone, pager, fax machine, and computer into an 18-ounce black brick.
...It is at this point that early usability test participants met impasse. The switch connected to our "smart phone" is expecting the typical "dumb end-point"... AT&T's PhoneWriter was demonstrated at the 1993 Comdex Computer Show...