Updated: 11/13/2018 by Computer Hope

Apple iPhoneA smartphone is a cell phone that allows you to do more than just make phone calls and send text messages. Smartphones can browse the Internet and run basic software programs like a computer. Smartphones use a touch screen to allow users to interact with them. There are thousands of smartphone apps (software programs), including games, personal-use, and business-use programs that can all run on the phone. The picture is an example of the Apple iPhone, one of the most popular smartphones available today.

What can a smartphone do?

Smartphones are loaded with feature and capabilities; it's hard to imagine them as just a phone. Below is a listing of the most popular features of a smartphone.

  1. Make and receive phone calls text messages.
  2. Take, show, and store pictures and video.
  3. Browse the Internet and send and receive e-mail.
  4. GPS capability for location and navigation.
  5. Record and play audio and music.
  6. Display time and date and other time functions such as alarm clock, stopwatch, and timer.
  7. Display weather and temperature information.
  8. Voice dictation and take notes.
  9. Virtual assistant using Siri, Google Voice Search, or Cortana.
  10. Access utilities such as a flashlight, e-book reader, and calculator.

Also, with a smartphone you can download and install other apps and games that can do an almost endless amount of tasks.

Does a smartphone have an operating system?

Yes. Similar to a desktop or laptop computer, a smartphone has an operating system on it, like Windows or macOS. The four most common are iOS (created by Apple), Android (created by Google), BlackBerry (created by Research In Motion), and Windows Phone (created by Microsoft).

What type of storage medium is used in a smartphone?

Smartphones use flash memory to store apps and data. The flash memory is usually built into the phone and non removable. Some smartphones may also have a flash memory card slot, often designed for an SD card, allowing users to add additional storage space.

When was the first smartphone released?

The first unofficial smartphone was developed by IBM in 1992. It was a prototype device, with PDA-like features, including maps, news feeds, and stock quotes. The prototype resulted in an improved version being released to the market in 1994, called the Simon Personal Communicator. This device was the first official smartphone, with capabilities to send and receive e-mails, and included apps like an address book, calculator, calendar, and a notepad.

Tip: The smartphone invention should not be confused with the invention of the cellphone that was invented in 1973.

App, Cell phone, Feature phone, Hardware terms, Phone terms