Every phone now-a-days is a ‘Smartphone’, unless your ODC restricts it But have you ever wondered what’s so ‘Smart’ about a ‘Smartphone’? What is a ‘Dumb-phone’ then? When did this terminology emerged? Let me try & answer…

In simple English, a phone that is ‘Smart’ is known as a ‘Smartphone’. Now what’s smart about a phone? For me, smartness is if it can assist me in some trivial tasks and/or do some data analysis for me and/or provide me with information and/or can pull some features of other devices and/or entertain me – in a nutshell, can make my life a bit simpler. Now let’s look at these closely:

• Assist me in some trivial tasks – like alarm, memos, maintaining contacts and photos, E-mails, etc.
• Do some data analysis for me – Weather forecast, Shares trading, Caller ID, etc.
• Provide me with information – Internet connectivity, Social networks and News
• Can pull some features of other devices – Camera, Clock, Radio, Music Player, Calculator, etc.
• Entertain me – Games, Music, Videos, etc.

All this & much more for being ‘Smart’, and Make/Receive calls and SMS for being a ‘Phone’.

I hope you are getting the context? A ‘Smartphone’ is not just a ‘Telephone’ i.e. a telecommunications device that permits two or more users to conduct a conversation when they are too far apart to be heard directly. It’s much more than that…and it has evolved over a period of time.

Remember the world-famous Nokia 1100? I feel bad for you if you don’t It was ‘The Champ’ of that time – Durable, long-lasting battery, handy, equipped with a torch-light and the game of Snakes It was ‘The Smartphone’ of that time! Smart enough to provide something valuable other than ‘Calls & SMS’.

For me ‘Smartphone’ is a relative term, relative to the time-frame we are talking in. Today Nokia 1100 might not be termed as a ‘Smartphone’, what ‘Telephone’ was to Nokia 1100 – now Nokia 1100 (though it is no more) is to a Smartphone. I hope by now you have an understanding of what’s ‘Smart’ about a ‘Smartphone’, getting ahead in it’s features. Now let’s jump to absolute term:

A smartphone is a 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. 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 can access the Internet, have a touchscreen user interface, with either an LCD, OLED, AMOLED, LED or similar screen, can run third-party apps, music players and are camera phones.

History of the Smartphone

Devices that combined telephony and computing were first conceptualized by Tesla 1909 and Theodore Paraskevakos in 1971 and patented in 1974, and were offered for sale beginning in 1993. The first mobile phone to incorporate PDA features (Personal Digital Assistant) was an IBM prototype developed in 1992. The prototype demonstrated PDA features as well as other visionary apps like maps, stocks and news incorporated with a cellular phone. 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.
The term “smart phone” first appeared in print in 1995, for describing AT&T’s “PhoneWriter Communicator” as a “smart phone”.
No need to explain what’s a ‘Dumb-phone’ then…right?