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What is a Smartphone? – A Basic Understanding

what is a smartphone

How can a phone be defined as smart? There are many definition of what constitutes as a smartphone. According to Merriam-Webster, a smartphone is broadly define as “Cell phone that includes additional software functions such as e-mail or internet browser”. However, based on wiki, the definition is much specific. Smartphone is defined as “mobile phone with an advanced mobile operating system which combines features of a personal computer operating system with other features useful for mobile or handheld use”. Prior to the release of iPhone in 2007, there are many mobile phones that claims to be in a smartphone category. However, the smartphone era really started with the first iPhone introduced by Apple in 9th January 2007.



iPhone was first introduced by Apple during the Macworld convention at 9 January 2007. Steve Jobs at that time introduced the device as a phone that combines the power of a computer and the ability of a cell phone added with a touchscreen capability. It was marketed as a device that would revolutionise the cell phone industry. On 29th June, 2007, the first iPhone was released and available for sale to the public in the United States. During that time, the iPhone was not sold without a contract in place. Therefore, it was sold exclusively with AT&T in the United States and each iPhone was tied together with a data plan. It means that if you purchased an iPhone at that time, you are automatically subscribing to AT&T data plan that you need to pay every month.

With the release of iPhone, it comes with the iOS. iOS is the operating system for iPhone and this alone revolutionize the way we now use smartphones. Google in competing with this new mobile environment introduced Android. The Android is a mobile operating platform system developed by Google as an open source licensing platform. The Android operating platform is specially designed for any mobile devices manufacturers to incorporate the operating platform to its mobile products. The Android tablet is basically a tablet that uses the mobile operating system based on Linux kernel and is designed for touchscreen input by the users and act as the ecosystem provided by Google for all the mobile operating devices that uses the Android as its core operating system. The mobile operating system includes smartphones and also tablets.


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