What is a smartphone?
Smartphones are mobile devices that do a lot more than just make calls and send texts. They have cameras; they play music & videos; they send and receive email; they browse the web; they have GPS satellite navigation. They also have QWERTY keyboards (real, virtual onscreen or both) and perhaps most important of all, they run apps.
Apps (or applications) are pre-installed or downloadable pieces of software that can do ... well, almost anything. They could be games, they could be business & office tools, they could be personal organisers, or they could be silly time-wasting gimmicks. Apps make smartphones more like portable computers, which is exactly what they are. The description of a modern smartphone sounds just like a computer, with multi-core processors, gigabytes of memory, and a real operating system.
So, a smartphone is a mobile device that behaves in many ways like a portable computer that's always connected to the internet and a GSM/3G/4G phone network too. With a GPS receiver in addition, it knows where you are. Features like voice commands and a large touchscreen make it increasingly easy to use. And with so many functions and ways to communicate, making voice calls is less and less what a modern smartphone is all about.
Smartphones come with real operating systems, just like a computer, and selecting the right operating system is probably the most important decision when choosing a new smartphone.
The Apple iPhone kick-started the smartphone revolution and is known for its user friendliness. It's an expensive choice though, and some dislike Apple for its "closed" system that forces you to download content from iTunes.
Google's Android system is the most popular, thanks to Google's open policy which lets many manufacturers make Android smartphones. Samsung is the world's biggest manufacturer of Android smartphones, with HTC and Sony also being popular. Android phones are generally better value for money than iPhones.
BlackBerry phones have lost market share compared with other smartphones, but are still popular with business users. Their key selling point is messaging.
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