A smartphone lets you make calls and includes software for using other features too. In the past, you would have needed a phone and a PDA or a computer to carry out the tasks that today’s smartphones can handle. Inventors envisioned the smartphone in the mid 1970’s. However, it wasn’t until 1992 when IBM produced a product that could send and receive faxes and emails that the idea was embraced. Nokia released a device in 1996 that included even more features that are associated with smartphones today. One year later, Ericsson released the GS 88 Concept, which inspired the term “smartphone.”
In order for a device to be considered a smartphone, the device must have certain features or be able to perform specific functions. Several companies brought the smartphone to the public, where it has exploded in popularity and has begun morphing into other technologies, like eyeglasses and watches. The following is a brief history on the evolution of today’s smartphones.
The foundation of the smartphone
In 1983, people could use cell phones and personal digital assistants, or PDAs. The phones were used for making calls, and the PDA helped with other tasks. Eventually, features like email access were added to cell phones. Then, manufacturers realized that other technologies could be integrated into their phones to offer customers more features. Early smartphones let users send and receive faxes and emails, and use their phone as an address book and pager. Today, smartphones focus less on verbal communication features and more on the multimedia tasks they can perform.
Features needed for a device to be considered a smartphone
An operating system, which runs applications, is needed for a device to be considered a smartphone. The operating system for iPhones is called the iOS. Android smartphones run on Google Android OS, and HP phones run on WebOS. Applications, or apps, allow you to do so many things on your smartphone. You can use a map app to search for destinations near you, or get directions. Personnel assistant apps, business management apps, and apps for creating documents and presentations allow business people to be equipped with the latest technology.
Web access is also necessary for a device to be considered a smartphone. The speeds at which things can be downloaded or uploaded increase greatly as time goes on. A QWERTY keyboard is another smartphone feature that is laid out like one on a computer. Messaging and Email are also smartphone required features.
Mass production and popularity
Japan was the first market where popularity of the smartphone soared. A wireless network called i-mode, got the Japanese focused on phones and off computers. In the early years of the smartphone, several manufacturers (HTC, Palm, Research In Motion, Motorola, Samsung, Nokia, and Audiovox,) made names for themselves in that market. These devices, in their early years, were mainly marketed to business people who needed to stay connected with the office when they were away.
Soon the smartphone got into the hands of many other companies and its software became more user friendly. In January of 2007, Apple announced it was releasing the iPhone. This caused the wireless industry to take a major turn. Apple included a large color display with multimedia features besides the standard email and web browsing abilities of other smartphones. The apps were finally “finger friendly” on iPhones.
One big transformation Apple brought to the table was the change in how a web page was displayed. Their software rendered a website in full color, unlike the dumbed-down appearance websites had previously. Smartphones have increased in size in many makes and models, almost becoming mini tablets. Resolution is also increasing and technological components are shrinking so that a manufacturer can fit more into the phone casing.
Smartphones have technically only been around for about 20 years, but they have changed drastically over that period of time. Some people believe that smartphones will eventually become obsolete and we will have the same and more features through a display and input system only.
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