A smartphone is a mobile phone built on a mobile operating system, with more advanced computing capability and connectivity than a feature phone.The first smartphones combined the functions of a personal digital assistant (PDA) with a mobile phone. Later models added the functionality of portable media players, low-end compact digital cameras, pocket video cameras, and GPS navigation units to form one multi-use device. Many modern smartphones also include high-resolution touchscreens and web browsers that display standard web pages as well as mobile-optimized sites. High-speed data access is provided by Wi-Fi and mobile broadband. In recent years, the rapid development of mobile app markets and of mobile commerce have been drivers of smartphone adoption.
The mobile operating systems (OS) used by modern smartphones include Google's Android, Apple's iOS, Nokia's Symbian, RIM's BlackBerry OS, Samsung's Bada, Microsoft's Windows Phone, Hewlett-Packard's webOS, and embedded Linux distributions such as Maemo and MeeGo. Such operating systems can be installed on many different phone models, and typically each device can receive multiple OS software updates over its lifetime. A few other upcoming operating systems are Mozilla's Firefox OS, Canonical Ltd.'s Ubuntu Phone, and Tizen.
Worldwide sales of smartphones overtook those of feature phones in early 2013.
Origin of the termAlthough devices combining telephony and computing were conceptualized as early as 1973 and were offered for sale beginning in 1994, the term "smartphone" did not appear until 1997, when Ericsson described its GS 88 "Penelope" concept as a "Smart Phone".
The distinction between smartphones and feature phones can be vague, and there is no official definition for what constitutes the difference between them. One of the most significant differences is that the advanced application programming interfaces (APIs) on smartphones for running third-party applications can allow those applications to have better integration with the phone's OS and hardware than is typical with feature phones. In comparison, feature phones more commonly run on proprietary firmware, with third-party software support through platforms such as Java ME or BREW. An additional complication is that the capabilities found in newer feature phones exceed those of older phones that had once been promoted as smartphones.
Some manufacturers and providers use the term "superphone" for their high end phones with unusually large screens and other expensive features. Other commentators prefer "phablet" in recognition of their convergence with low-end tablet computers.
Early yearsIn 1973, Theodore George “Ted” Paraskevakos patented the concepts of combining intelligence, data processing and visual display screens with telephones, outlining the now commonplace activities of banking and paying utility bills via telephone
The first cellular 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 on 16 August 1994 by BellSouth under the name Simon Personal Communicator. The Simon was the first device that can be properly referred to as a "smartphone", even though that term was not yet coined. In addition to its ability to make and receive cellular phone calls, Simon was also able to send and receive facsimiles, e-mails and pages through its touch screen display. Simon included many applications including an address book, calendar, appointment scheduler, calculator, world time clock, games, electronic note pad, handwritten annotations and standard and predictive touchscreen keyboards.
In 1996, Nokia released the Nokia 9000, part of the Nokia Communicator line which became their best-selling phone of that time. It was a palmtop computer-style phone combined with a PDA from HP. In early prototypes, the two devices were fixed together via a hinge in what came to be described as a clamshell design. When opened, the display of 640×200 pixels was on the inside top surface and with a physical QWERTY keyboard on the bottom. Email and text-based web browsing was provided via the GEOS V3.0 operating system.
In the late 1990s though, the vast majority of mobile phones had only basic phone features so many people also 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 and power some of the high-end smartphones.
In early 2001, Palm, Inc. introduced the Kyocera 6035, the first smartphone in the United States. This device combined a PDA with a mobile phone and operated on the Verizon Wireless network. It also supported limited web browsing. The device was not adopted widely outside North America.
In 2004, HP released the iPaq h6315, a device that combined their previous PDA, the HP 2215 with cellular capability.