A smartphone is a mobile phone that includes advanced functionality beyond making phone calls and sending text messages. Most smartphones have the capability to display photos, play videos, check and send e-mail, and surf the Web. These phones sport complete operating system and have a platform for application developers. Modern smartphones, such as the iPhone and Android based phones can run third-party applications, which provides limitless functionality.
While smartphones were initially used mostly by business users, they have become a common choice for consumers as well. Thanks to advancements in technology, modern smartphones are smaller and cheaper than earlier devices. Users also have a much wider range of smartphones to choose from than before. While the RIM Blackberry dominated the smartphone market for many years, other manufacturers like Apple, HTC, and Samsung now offer a wide variety of smartphone options as well. This increase in smartphone availability has led to a corresponding decline in the usage of standard PDAs, which do not include phone capabilities.
Since smartphones have a wide range of functionality, they require advanced software, similar to a computer operating system. The smartphone software handles phone calls, runs applications, and provides configuration options for the user. Most smartphones include a USB connection, which allows users to sync data with their computers and update their smartphone software.
Currently, the two major smartphone platforms in use are Android (by Google) and iOS (by Apple). An application written for a specific platform can usually work on any smartphone using the same platform.