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A smartphone is a mobile phone offering advanced capabilities, often with PC-like functionality (PC-mobile handset convergence). There is no industry standard definition of a smartphone.

In 2002 the new joint venture Sony Ericsson released the P800 smartphone, originally developed by Ericsson. It was based on Symbian OS and had full PDA functionality plus a range of features not commonly seen in mobile phones at that time: color touch screen, camera, polyphonic ring tones, email attachment viewers, video playback and an MP3 player with a standard 2.5 mm headset jack. In 2002 RIM released the first BlackBerry which was the first smartphone optimized for wireless email use and has achieved a total customer base of 32 million subscribers by December 2009.

Although the Nokia 7650, announced in 2001, was referred to as a 'smart phone' in the media, and is now called a 'smartphone' on the Nokia support site, the press release referred to it as an 'imaging phone'. Handspring delivered the first widely popular smartphone devices in the US market by marrying its Palm OS based Visor PDA together with a piggybacked GSM phone module, the VisorPhone. By 2002, Handspring was marketing an integrated smartphone called the Treo; the company subsequently merged with Palm primarily because the PDA market was dying but the Treo smartphone was quickly becoming popular as a phone with extended PDA organizer features. That same year, Microsoft announced its Windows CE Pocket PC OS would be offered as "Microsoft Windows Powered Smartphone 2002". Microsoft originally defined its Windows Smartphone products as lacking a touchscreen and offering a lower screen resolution compared to its sibling Pocket PC devices. Palm then introduced a few Windows Mobile smartphones alongside the existing Palm OS smartphones, and has now abandoned both platforms in favor of its new Palm webOS.

In 2005 Nokia launched its Nseries of 3G smartphones which Nokia started to market not as mobile phones but as multimedia computers.

Out of 1 billion camera phones to be shipped in 2008, smartphones, the higher end of the market with full email support, will represent about 10% of the market or about 100 million units.Template:Citation needed

The Smartphone Summit semi-annual conference details smartphone industry market data, trends, and updates among smartphone related hardware, software, and accessories.

Android, a cross platform OS for smartphones was released in 2008. Android is an Open Source platform backed by Google, along with major hardware and software developers (such as Intel, HTC, ARM, Motorola and eBay, to name a few), that form the Open Handset Alliance.

The first phone to use the Android OS was the HTC Dream, branded for distribution by T-Mobile as the G1. The phone features a full, capacitive touch screen, a flip out QWERTY keyboard, and a track ball for navigating web pages. The software suite included on the phone consists of integration with Google's proprietary applications, such as Maps, Calendar, and Gmail, as well as Google's Chrome Lite full HTML web browser. Third party apps are available via the Android Market, including both free and paid apps.

In July 2008 Apple introduced its App Store with both free and paid applications. The app store can deliver smartphone applications developed by third parties directly to the iPhone or iPod Touch over wifi or cellular network without using a PC to download. The App Store has been a huge success for Apple and by March 2010 hosted more than 170,000 applications. The app store hit three billion application downloads in early January 2010.

Following the popularity of Apple's App Store, many other mobile platforms are following Apple with their own application stores. Palm, Microsoft and Nokia have all announced they will launch Apple-like app stores. RIM recently launched its app store, BlackBerry App World.

In January 2010, Google launches Nexus One using its Android OS. Although Android OS has a multi-touch capabilities, Google initially removed that feature from Nexus One, but it was added though a firmware update on February 2, 2010.

Operating systemsEdit

Operating systems that can be found on smartphones include Symbian OS, iPhone OS, Palm WebOS, BlackBerry OS, Windows Mobile, Android and Maemo. WebOS, Android and Maemo are built on top of Linux, and the iPhone OS is derived from the BSD and NeXTSTEP operating systems, which all are related to Unix.

Open source developmentEdit

The open source culture has penetrated the smartphone market in a way. There have been attempts to open source both hardware and software of a smartphone. Most notable project from open hardware development is most likely the Neo FreeRunner smartphone developed by Openmoko. Lately, the Google Android OS is a popular open source mobile operating system. Nokia has an initiative around Symbian too, which has open-sourced all Symbian smartphone code in February 2010.

See alsoEdit

External linksEdit

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