A smartphone is a mobile / cell phone built on a mobile operating system (OS), with some more advanced computing capability and connectivity than a regular featured 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 smart-phones also include high-resolution touch-screens 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.

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.

A little about the history of Smart-Phones:

Origin of the term “Smart-Phone”:
Although 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 "super-phone" 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.

History in the early years:
In 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 IBM 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 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.

Mobile Operating systems:

The Nokia N8 smartphone is the first device to run on the Symbian-3 mobile operating system and the first smartphone to feature a 12 megapixel autofocus lens. Smbian is a mobile operating system designed for smartphones originally developed by Psion and later passed to and managed by Symbian Ltd. but currently maintained by Accenture. The Symbian platform is the successor to Symbian OS and Nokia Series 60. The latest version, Symbian3, was officially released in Q4 2010 and first used in the Nokia N8.

Windows Mobile:
Windows Mobile was based on the Windows CE kernel and first appeared as the Pocket PC 2000 operating system. Throughout its lifespan, the operating system was available in both touchscreen and non-touchscreen formats. It was supplied with a suite of applications developed with the Microsoft Windows API and was designed to have features and appearance somewhat similar to desktop versions of Windows. Third parties could develop software for Windows Mobile with no restrictions imposed by Microsoft. Software applications were eventually purchasable from Windows Marketplace for Mobile during the service's brief lifespan. The image below is a Windows Mobile 5.0 operating system based DoPod 900 aka HTC Universal Smartphone.

In 1999, RIM released its first BlackBerry devices, making secure real-time push-email communications possible on wireless devices. Services such as BlackBerry Messenger and the integration of all communications into a single inbox allowed users to access, create, share and act upon information instantly. There are 80 million active BlackBerry service subscribers (BIS/BES) and the 200 millionth BlackBerry smartphone was shipped in September 2012 (twice the number since June 2010). Popular models include the BlackBerry Bold, BlackBerry Torch (slider and all-touch) and BlackBerry Curve.

Android operating system:
Android is an open-source platform founded in October 2003 by Andy Rubin and backed by Google, along with major hardware and software developers (such as Intel, HTC, ARM, Motorola and Samsung etc), that form the Open Handset Alliance. The first phone to use Android was released in October 2008. It was called the HTC Dream and was branded for distribution by T-Mobile as the G1. The software suite included on the phone consists of integration with Google's proprietary applications, such as Maps, Calendar, and Gmail, and a full HTML web browser. On June 24, 2011, the HTC EVO 3D was released by the HTC Corporation, a smartphone which can produce stereoscopic 3D effects and take 3D stereoscopic photos for viewing on its screen. Samsung Galaxy S III sales hit 18 million in the third quarter of 2012. On November 13, 2012 Google and LG released the Nexus 4 with Qualcomm's Snapdragon S4 Pro processor. The image below is the HTC Dream smartphone.

In 2007, Apple Inc. introduced the original iPhone, one of the first mobile phones to use a multi-touch interface. The iPhone was notable for its use of a large touchscreen for direct finger input as its main means of interaction, instead of a stylus, keyboard, and/or keypad as typical for smartphones at the time. It initially lacked the capability to install native applications, meaning some did not regard it as a smartphone. However in June 2007 Apple announced that the iPhone would support third-party "web 2.0 applications" running in its web browser that share the look and feel of the iPhone interface. A process called jail-breaking emerged quickly to provide unofficial third-party native applications to replace the built-in functions (such as a GPS unit, kitchen timer, radio, map book, calendar, notepad, and many others). The below image is a First generation Apple iPhone (int. June, 2007)

Windows Phone:
On February 15, 2010, Microsoft unveiled its next-generation mobile OS, Windows Phone 7. Microsoft's mobile OS includes a completely over-hauled UI inspired by Microsoft's "Metro Design Language". It includes full integration of Microsoft services such as Microsoft SkyDrive and Office, Xbox Music, Xbox Video, Xbox Live games and Bing, but also integrates with many other non-Microsoft services such as Facebook, Twitter and Google accounts. The new software platform has received some positive reception from the technology press and has been praised for its uniqueness. On October 29, 2012, Microsoft released Windows Phone 8, a new generation of the operating system. Windows Phone 8 replaces its previously Windows CE-based architecture with one based on the Windows NT kernel with many components shared with Windows 8, allowing applications to be easily ported between the two platforms. Below is a Windows Phone device produced by Nokia, the Lumia 800

Palm OS:
In late 2001, Handspring launched their own Springboard GSM phone module with limIn early 2002, Handspring released the Palm OS Treo smartphone, utilizing both a touch screen and a full keyboard that combined wireless web browsing, email, calendar, and contact organizer with mobile third-party applications that could be downloaded or synced with a computer. Handspring was soon acquired by Palm, which released the Treo 600 and continued, although the series eventually took on Windows Mobile. The below image is a Palm OS based smartphone was the Palm Centro.

The Bada operating system for smartphones was announced by Samsung on 10 November 2009. The first Bada-based phone was the Samsung Wave S8500, released on June 1, 2010, which sold one million handsets in its first 4 weeks on the market. Samsung shipped 3.5 million phones running Bada in Q1 of 2011. This rose to 4.5 million phones in Q2 of 2011. In 2013, Bada has merged with a similar platform called Tizen. The future of its development is unknown.

Open-source development:
The open-source culture has penetrated the smartphone market in several ways. There have been attempts to create open source hardware and software for smartphones. In February 2010, Nokia made Symbian open source. Thus, most commercial smartphones were based on open-source operating systems. These include those based on Linux, such as Google's Android, Nokia's Maemo, Hewlett-Packard's webOS, and those based on BSD, such as the Darwin-based Apple iOS. Maemo was later merged with Intel's project Moblin to form MeeGo. On the 2nd of January, Canonical, best known for its Ubuntu desktop and Smart TV operating systems, announced a mobile version of its operating system, built for both smartphones and tablets. Its design is based on the desktop equivalent and features such as gesture-based navigation.

Thanks a lot for reading and viewing this post.
source: wikipedia.

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