A smartphone is a handheld personal computer. It possesses extensive computing capabilities, including high-speed access to the Internet using both Wi-Fi and mobile broadband. Most, if not all, smartphones are also built with support for Bluetooth and satellite navigation. Modern smartphones have a touchscreen color display with a graphical user interface that covers the front surface and enables the user to use a virtual keyboard to type and press onscreen icons. Interaction is mostly done using touch, besides a few physical buttons. Smartphones are typically pocket-sized, with somewhat larger sizes being called phablets; they are generally smaller than tablet computers. Smartphones function using a rechargeable lithium-ion battery.
Smartphones use a mobile operating system and are able to process a variety of software components, known as "apps". Most basic apps (e.g. event calendar, camera, web browser) come pre-installed with the system, while others are available for download, either for free or charging money to one's balance, from official sources like the Google Play Store or Apple App Store. One may purchase apps by either adding and using valid credit card account information to the smartphone or by buying a gift card for exclusive use of the balance of the card on its specified app store. Apps, and the operating system itself, can receive bug fixes and gain additional functionality through updates.
Today, smartphones largely fulfil their users' needs for a microphone (smartphones often have one to four microphones), a digital camera (most smartphones are made with one front-facing and one to three rear-facing integrated digital cameras), a communications device (smartphones can transmit online chat, e-mails, telephone calls and video chat through the Internet by Wi-Fi as well as mobile broadband; a smartphone uses its camera in video chat, as well as its microphone in video chat and telephone calls), a handheld audio recorder (using the microphone), a satellite navigation system and trip planner, weather forecasting, a media player, a clock, news, a calculator, a web browser, a video game player, a flashlight (smartphones may possess one to two LEDs for illumination and photographic flash needs), a compass (smartphones that contain built-in magnetometers are able to function as a compass), an address book, a note creator, an event calendar, etc. Some apps allow sending and receiving facsimile (fax) over a smartphone, including raster facsimile data generated directly and digitally from document and image file formats. Internal storage of 4, 8, 16, 32, 64, 128, 256 or 512 gigabytes, or removable SD card storage, allows for digital storage of software and personal data (including digital photographs and videos). This is often augmented by cloud storage. Internally, many smartphones contain a vibrator, often used as a method of alerting of a notification or call, and as a way to evoke a more vibrant experience while playing video games. Typical smartphones will include one or more of the following sensors: magnetometer, proximity sensor, barometer, gyroscope and accelerometer. Since 2010, smartphones have adopted integrated virtual assistants, such as Apple Siri, Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, Microsoft Cortana, BlackBerry Assistant and Samsung Bixby. Mobile payment is now a feature of most smartphones. Some smartphones have a fingerprint sensor, an iris scanner or face recognition technology as a form of biometric authentication.
In 1999, the Japanese firm NTT DoCoMo released the first smartphones to achieve mass adoption within a country. Smartphones sales started to grow rapidly by the late 2000s. In the third quarter of 2012, one billion smartphones were in use worldwide. Global smartphone sales surpassed the sales figures for feature phones in early 2013.
The first commercially available device that could be properly referred to as a "smartphone" began as a prototype called "Angler" developed by Frank Canova in 1992 while at IBM and demonstrated in November of that year at the COMDEX computer industry trade show. A refined version was marketed to consumers in 1994 by BellSouth under the name Simon Personal Communicator. In addition to placing and receiving cellular calls, the touchscreen-equipped Simon could send and receive faxes and emails. It included an address book, calendar, appointment scheduler, calculator, world time clock, and notepad, as well as other visionary mobile applications such as maps, stock reports and news. The term "smart phone" or "smartphone" was not coined until a year after the introduction of the Simon, appearing in print as early as 1995, describing AT&T's PhoneWriter Communicator.
Early integration of data signals with telephony
The first integration of data signals with telephony was conceptualized by Nikola Tesla in 1909 and pioneered by Theodore Paraskevakos beginning in 1968 with his work on transmission of electronic data through telephone lines. In 1971, while he was working with Boeing in Huntsville, Alabama, Paraskevakos demonstrated a transmitter and receiver that provided additional ways to communicate with remote equipment. This formed the original basis for what is now known as caller ID. The first caller ID equipment was installed at Peoples' Telephone Company in Leesburg, Alabama and was demonstrated to several telephone companies. The original and historic working models are still in the possession of Paraskevakos.
In the mid-late 1990s, many people who had mobile phones carried a separate dedicated PDA device, running early versions of operating systems such as Palm OS, Newton OS, Symbian or Windows CE/Pocket PC. These operating systems would later evolve into early mobile operating systems. Most of the "smartphones" in this era were hybrid devices that combined these existing familiar PDA OSes with basic phone hardware. The results were devices that were bulkier than either dedicated mobile phones or PDAs, but allowed a limited amount of cellular Internet access. The trend at the time, however, that manufacturers competed on in both mobile phones and PDAs was to make devices smaller and slimmer. The bulk of these smartphones combined with their high cost and expensive data plans, plus other drawbacks such as expansion limitations and decreased battery life compared to separate standalone devices, generally limited their popularity to "early adopters" and business users who needed portable connectivity.
In March 1996, Hewlett-Packard released the OmniGo 700LX, a modified HP 200LX palmtop PC with a Nokia 2110 mobile phone piggybacked onto it and ROM-based software to support it. It had a 640×200 resolution CGA compatible four-shade gray-scale LCD screen and could be used to place and receive calls, and to create and receive text messages, emails and faxes. It was also 100% DOS 5.0 compatible, allowing it to run thousands of existing software titles, including early versions of Windows.
In August 1996, Nokia released the Nokia 9000 Communicator, a digital cellular PDA based on the Nokia 2110 with an integrated system based on the PEN/GEOS 3.0 operating system from Geoworks. The two components were attached by a hinge in what became known as a clamshell design, with the display above and a physical QWERTY keyboard below. The PDA provided e-mail; calendar, address book, calculator and notebook applications; text-based Web browsing; and could send and receive faxes. When closed, the device could be used as a digital cellular telephone.
Subsequent landmark devices included:
- The Ericsson R380 (2000) by Ericsson Mobile Communications. The first device marketed as a "smartphone", it was the first Symbian-based phone, with PDA functionality and limited Web browsing on a resistive touchscreen utilizing a stylus. Users could not install their own software on the device, however.
- The Kyocera 6035 (early 2001), a dual-nature device with a separate Palm OS PDA operating system and CDMA mobile phone firmware. It supported limited Web browsing with the PDA software treating the phone hardware as an attached modem.
- Handspring's Treo 180 (2002), the first smartphone that fully integrated the Palm OS on a GSM mobile phone having telephony, SMS messaging and Internet access built in to the OS. The 180 model had a thumb-type keyboard and the 180g version had a Graffiti handwriting recognition area, instead.
Mass adoption in Japan
In 1999, the Japanese firm NTT DoCoMo released the first smartphones to achieve mass adoption within a country. These phones ran on i-mode, which provided data transmission speeds up to 9.6 kbit/s. Unlike future generations of wireless services, NTT DoCoMo's i-mode used cHTML, a language which restricted some aspects of traditional HTML in favor of increasing data speed for the devices. Limited functionality, small screens and limited bandwidth allowed for phones to use the slower data speeds available. The rise of i-mode helped NTT DoCoMo accumulate an estimated 40 million subscribers by the end of 2001. It was also ranked first in market capitalization in Japan and second globally. This power would later wane in the face of the rise of 3G and new phones with advanced wireless network capabilities.
Early smartphones outside Japan
Smartphones were still rare outside Japan until the introduction of the Danger Hiptop in 2002, which saw moderate success among U.S. consumers as the T-Mobile Sidekick. Later, in the mid-2000s, business users in the U.S. started to adopt devices based on Microsoft's Windows Mobile, and then BlackBerry smartphones from Research In Motion. American users popularized the term "CrackBerry" in 2006 due to the BlackBerry's addictive nature.
Outside the U.S. and Japan, Nokia was seeing success with its smartphones based on Symbian, originally developed by Psion for their personal organisers, and it was the most popular smartphone OS in Europe during the middle to late 2000s. Initially, Nokia's Symbian smartphones were focused on business with the Eseries, similar to Windows Mobile and BlackBerry devices at the time. From 2006 onwards, Nokia started producing consumer-focused smartphones, popularized by the entertainment-focused Nseries. In Asia, with the exception of Japan, the trend was similar to that of Europe. Until 2010, Symbian was the world's most widely used smartphone operating system.
Form factor shift
In the early to mid-2000s, it was common for smartphones to have a physical T9 numeric keypad or QWERTY keyboard in either a candybar or sliding form factor. At that time, many smartphones had resistive touchscreens, which allowed for input with a stylus in addition to fingers, thus allowing the entry of Asian characters. Keyboards were also common for smartphones in the late-2000s.
In 2007, the LG Prada was the first mobile phone released with a large capacitive touchscreen. Later that year, Apple Inc. introduced the iPhone, which used a multi-touch capacitive touch screen. Such phones were notable for abandoning the use of a stylus, keyboard, or keypad typical for smartphones at the time up till the early 2010s, in favor of a capacitive touchscreen for direct finger input as its only input type. The iPhone was "not a smartphone by conventional terms, being that a smartphone is a platform device that allows software to be installed", until the opening of Apple's App Store a year later, which became a common means for smartphone software distribution and installation.
In October 2008, the first phone to use Google's Android operating system, called the HTC Dream (also known as the T-Mobile G1), was released. It was also a smartphone with a large multi-touch touchscreen, but still retained a slide-out physical keyboard. Later versions of Android added and then improved on-screen keyboard support, and physical keyboards on Android devices quickly became rare. Although Android's adoption was relatively slow at first, it started to gain widespread popularity in 2012, and in early 2012 dominated the smartphone market share worldwide, which continues to this day.
The iPhone and Android phones with their capacitive touchscreens popularized the smartphone form factor based on a large capacitive touchscreen and led to the decline of earlier, keyboard- and keypad-focused platforms. Microsoft, for instance, discontinued Windows Mobile and started a new touchscreen-oriented OS from scratch, called Windows Phone. Nokia abandoned Symbian and partnered with Microsoft to use Windows Phone on its smartphones. Windows Phone became the third-most-popular smartphone OS, before being replaced by Windows 10 Mobile, which declined in share to become "largely irrelevant" at less than 0.5% of the smartphone market. Palm replaced their Palm OS with webOS, which was bought by Hewlett-Packard and later sold to LG Electronics for use on LG smart TVs. BlackBerry Limited, formerly known as Research In Motion, made a new platform based on QNX, BlackBerry 10, with which it was possible to control a device without having to press any physical buttons; this platform was later discontinued.
Technological developments in the 2010s
In 2013, Fairphone launched its first "socially ethical" smartphone at the London Design Festival to address concerns regarding the sourcing of materials in the manufacturing. In late 2013, QSAlpha commenced production of a smartphone designed entirely around security, encryption and identity protection. Some companies began to release smartphones incorporating flexible displays to create curved form factors, such as the Samsung Galaxy Round and LG G Flex.
In October 2013, Motorola Mobility announced Project Ara, a concept for a modular smartphone platform that would allow users to customize and upgrade their phones with add-on modules that attached magnetically to a frame. Ara was retained by Google following its sale of Motorola Mobility to Lenovo, but was shelved in 2016. That year, LG and Motorola both unveiled smartphones featuring a limited form of modularity for accessories; the LG G5 allowed accessories to be installed via the removal of its battery compartment, while the Moto Z utilizes accessories attached magnetically to the rear of the device.
By 2014, 1440p displays began to appear on high-end smartphones. In 2015, Sony released the Xperia Z5 Premium, featuring a 4K resolution display, although only images and videos could actually be rendered at that resolution (all other software is upscaled from 1080p). Microsoft, expanding upon the concept of Motorola's short-lived "Webtop", unveiled functionality for its Windows 10 operating system for phones that allows supported devices to be docked for use with a PC-styled desktop environment. Other major technologies began to trend in 2016, including a focus on virtual reality and augmented reality experiences catered towards smartphones, the newly introduced USB-C connector, and improving LTE technologies. As of 2015, the global median for smartphone ownership was 43%. Statista has forecast that 2.87 billion people will own smartphones in 2020.
The first mobile phone with a fingerprint scanner was the Toshiba G500 in 2007 and the first smartphone with a fingerprint scanner was the Motorola Atrix 4G in 2011. In September 2013, the iPhone 5S was unveiled as the first smartphone on a major U.S. carrier since the Atrix to feature the technology, which was called Touch ID. This feature proved popular with users and by 2017 all of Apple's major competitor's included a fingerprint scanner.
Future possible developments
Foldable OLED smartphones have been anticipated for years but have failed to materialize because of the relatively high failure rate when producing these screens. Creating a battery that can be folded is another hurdle. Samsung has attempted to make a smartphone with a flexible display. Samsung is still on some finishing touches which after then may become the first OLED or flexible smartphone made.
One of the main characteristics of smartphones is the screen. On older models, it fills some of the device's front surface (about 70%), however, with the newest smartphones like the Essential Phone, Galaxy S9, and iPhone X, most of the available space on the front is dedicated to the screen in a style referred to as "edge-to-edge"; hardly any of the bezel is present on the front display. This causes edge-to-edge smartphones to possess more screen than a non-edge-to-edge phone of an equivalent size. Many smartphone displays have an aspect ratio of 16:9; others are 18:9, and some are 4:3 or other ratios. They are measured in diagonal inches, starting from 2.45 inches. Phones with screens larger than 5.2 inches are often called "phablets." Smartphones with screens over 4.5 inches commonly are difficult to use with only a single hand, since most thumbs cannot reach the entire screen surface; they may need to be shifted around in the hand, held in one hand and manipulated by the other, or used in place with both hands.
Liquid-crystal displays are the most common; others are IPS, LED, OLED, AMOLED and E Ink displays. In the 2010s, Braille screens, which can be used by visually impaired people are being developed. It is expected that Braille screens will use some type of microfluidics technology. In addition, some displays are integrated with pressure-sensitive digitizers, such as those developed by Wacom and Samsung. Wacom’s models allows users to have greater precision when drawing. Starting with the iPhone 6S, Apple released pressure sensitivity for their smartphones under the name 3D Touch. Apple’s 3D Touch uniquely utilizes the digitizer by giving users the availability to display additional menus and options by applying pressure to specified icons.
A wide range of accessories are sold for smartphones, including cases, screen protectors, power charging cables, wireless power stations, USB On-The-Go adapters (for connecting USB drives and or, in some cases, a HDMI cable to an external monitor), add-on batteries, headphones, combined headphone-microphones (which, for example, allow a person to privately conduct calls on the device without holding it to the ear), and Bluetooth-enabled powered speakers that enable users to listen to media from their smartphones wirelessly.
Cases range from relatively inexpensive rubber or soft plastic cases which provide moderate protection from bumps and good protection from scratches to more expensive, heavy-duty cases that combine a rubber padding with a hard outer shell. Some cases have a "book"-like form, with a cover that the user opens to use the device; when the cover is closed, it protects the screen. Some "book"-like cases have additional pockets for credit cards, thus enabling people to use them as wallets.
Accessories include products sold by the manufacturer of the smartphone and compatible products made by other manufacturers.
By the end of 2017, smartphone battery life has become generally adequate; however, earlier smartphone battery life was poor due to the weak batteries that could not handle the significant power requirements of the smartphones' computer systems and color screens.
Smartphone users purchase additional chargers for use outside the home, at work, and in cars and by buying portable external "battery packs". External battery packs include generic models which are connected to the smartphone with a cable and custom-made models that "piggyback" onto a smartphone's case. In 2016, Samsung had to recall millions of the Galaxy Note 7 smartphones due to an explosive battery issue. For consumer convenience, wireless charging stations have been introduced in some hotels, bars, and other public spaces.
Mobile operating systems
Android is a mobile operating system founded by Andy Rubin, now owned and developed by Google, and backed by an industry consortium known as the Open Handset Alliance. It is a Linux-based open source platform with optional proprietary components, including a suite of flagship software for Google services, and the application and content storefront Google Play. Android was officially introduced via the release of its inaugural device, the HTC Dream (T-Mobile G1) on 20 October 2008. As an open source product, Android has also been the subject of third-party development. Development groups have used the Android source code to develop and distribute their own modified versions of the operating system, such as CyanogenMod (now LineageOS), to add features to the OS and provide newer versions of Android to devices that no longer receive official updates from their vendor. Forked versions of Android have also been adopted by other vendors, such as Amazon.com, who used its "Fire OS" on a range of tablets and the Fire Phone. As it is a non-proprietary platform that has shipped on devices covering a wide range of market segments, Android has seen significant adoption. Gartner Research estimated that 325 million Android smartphones were sold during the fourth quarter of 2015, leading all other platforms. Samsung Electronics, who produces Android devices, was also the top smartphone vendor across all platforms in the same period of time. Android is the top-selling smartphone OS in 2016. Google Pay is available on Android software.
iOS (formerly iPhone OS) is a proprietary mobile operating system developed by Apple Inc. primarily for its iPhone product line. The iPhone was first unveiled in January 2007. The device introduced the use of multi-touch gestures for navigation. In 2008, Apple introduced the App Store, a centralized storefront for purchasing new software for iPhone devices. iOS can also integrate with Apple's desktop music program iTunes to sync media to a desktop/laptop. The dependency of a desktop/laptop was removed with the introduction of iCloud on later versions of iOS, which provides synchronization of user data via Internet servers between multiple devices. The iPhone line's early dominance was credited with helping make Apple one of the world's most valuable publicly traded companies by 2011. However, the iPhone and iOS have generally been in second place in worldwide market share.
Tizen is a Linux-based operating system for devices, including smartphones, tablets, in-vehicle infotainment (IVI) devices, smart TVs, laptops and smart cameras. Tizen is a project within the Linux Foundation and is governed by a Technical Steering Group (TSG) composed of Samsung and Intel among others. In April 2014, Samsung released the Samsung Gear 2 and the Gear 2 Neo, running Tizen. The Samsung Z1 is the first smartphone produced by Samsung that runs Tizen; it was released in the Indian market on January 14, 2015.
The Sailfish OS is based on the Linux kernel and Mer. Additionally Sailfish OS includes a partially or completely proprietary multi-tasking user interface programmed by Jolla. This user interface differentiate Jolla smartphones from others. Sailfish OS is intended to be a system made by many of the MeeGo team, which left Nokia to form Jolla, utilizing funding from Nokia's "Bridge" program which helps establish and support start-up companies formed by ex-Nokia employees.
Ubuntu Touch (also known as Ubuntu Phone) is a mobile version of the Ubuntu operating system developed by Canonical UK Ltd and Ubuntu Community. It is designed primarily for touchscreen mobile devices such as smartphones and tablet computers and is planned to be available on the Librem 5.
PureOS is a Debian GNU/Linux derivative using only free software, developed by Purism, SPC, already used on Purism's laptops and planned for use on the Librem 5 smartphone. Purism, in partnership with GNOME and KDE, aims to separate the CPU from the baseband processor and include hardware kill switches for the phone's Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, camera, microphone and baseband processor, and provide both GNOME and KDE Plasma Mobile as options for the desktop environment.
Discontinued operating systems
In 1999, RIM released its first BlackBerry smartphone, providing secure real-time push-email communications on wireless devices. Services such as BlackBerry Messenger provide the integration of all communications into a single inbox. In September 2012, RIM announced that the 200 millionth BlackBerry smartphone was shipped. As of September 2014, there were around 46 million active BlackBerry service subscribers. In the early 2010s, RIM underwent a platform transition, changing its company name to BlackBerry Limited and releasing devices on a new platform named "BlackBerry 10".
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. Windows Mobile was eventually phased out in favor of Windows Phone OS.
Symbian was originally developed by Psion as EPOC32. It was the world's most widely used smartphone operating system until Q4 2010, though the platform never gained popularity in the U.S., as it did in Europe and Asia. The first Symbian phone, the touchscreen Ericsson R380 Smartphone, was released in 2000, and was the first device marketed as a "smartphone". It combined a PDA with a mobile phone. Variants of Symbian OS began to emerge, most notably Symbian UIQ, MOAP and S60, each supported by different manufacturers. With the creation of Symbian Foundation in 2008, Symbian OS was unified under one variant under the stewardship of Nokia. In February 2011, Nokia announced that it would replace Symbian with Windows Phone as the operating system on all of its future smartphones, with the platform being abandoned over the following few years.
Firefox OS was demonstrated by Mozilla in February 2012. It was designed to have a complete community-based alternative system for mobile devices, using open standards and HTML5 applications. The first commercially available Firefox OS phones were ZTE Open and Alcatel One Touch Fire. As of 2014, more companies had partnered with Mozilla including Panasonic (which was making a smart TV with Firefox OS) and Sony. In December 2015, Mozilla announced that it would phase out development of Firefox OS for smartphones, and would reposition the project to focus on other forms of Internet-connected devices.
The Bada operating system for smartphones was announced by Samsung in November 2009. The first Bada-based phone was the Samsung Wave S8500, released in June 2010. Samsung shipped 4.5 million phones running Bada in Q2 of 2011. In 2013, Bada merged with a similar platform called Tizen.
webOS is a proprietary mobile operating system running on the Linux kernel, initially developed by Palm, which launched with the Palm Pre. After being acquired by HP, two phones (the Veer and the Pre 3) and a tablet (the TouchPad) running webOS were introduced in 2011. On August 18, 2011, HP announced that webOS hardware was to be discontinued but would continue to support and update webOS software and develop the webOS ecosystem. HP released webOS as open source under the name Open webOS, and plans to update it with additional features. On February 25, 2013 HP announced the sale of WebOS to LG Electronics, who used the operating system for its current "smart" or Internet-connected TVs, but not smartphones. In January 2014, Qualcomm has announced that it has acquired technology patents from HP, which includes all the WebOS patents.
In late 2001, Handspring launched the Springboard GSM phone module with limited success. In May 2002, Handspring released the Palm OS Treo 270 smartphone, which did not support Springboard, with both a touchscreen and a full keyboard. The Treo had wireless web browsing, email, calendar, a contact organizer and mobile third-party applications that could be downloaded or synced with a computer. Handspring was purchased by Palm, Inc which released the Treo 600 and continued releasing Treo devices with a few Treo devices using Windows Mobile.
MeeGo is an operating system created from the source code of Moblin (produced by Intel) and Maemo (produced by Nokia). Before that, Nokia used Maemo on some of its smartphones and tablets (such as Nokia N810 and N900). MeeGo was originally envisioned to power a variety of devices from netbooks, tablets to smartphones and smart TVs. However, the only smartphones which used MeeGo was the Nokia N9 and Nokia N950 (MeeGo v1.2 Harmattan). Following Nokia's decision to move to Windows Phone OS in 2011 and to cease MeeGo development, the Linux Foundation canceled MeeGo in September 2011 in favor of the development of Tizen.
In 2003, Motorola launched the first smartphone to use Linux, the A760. While the initial release was limited to a single high-end device only available in the Asia-Pacific region, the maker's intention was to eventually use Linux on most of its devices, including the lower-end models. Further models to use Linux such as the Motorola Ming A1200i in 2005 and several successors to the Ming line would be unveiled through 2010. In late 2009, Motorola released the Motorola Cliq, the first of Motorola's smartphones to run the Linux-based Android operating system. Subsequently, Motorola stopped developing phones based on other Linux variants.
Windows 10 Mobile
Unveiled on February 15, 2010, Windows Phone includes a user interface inspired by Microsoft's Metro Design Language. It is integrated with Microsoft services such as OneDrive and Office, Xbox Music, Xbox Video, Xbox Live games and Bing, but also integrates with many other non-Microsoft services such as Facebook and Google accounts. Windows Phone devices are made primarily by Microsoft Mobile/Nokia, and also by HTC and Samsung.
In January 2015, Microsoft announced that its Windows Phone brand will be phased out and replaced with Windows 10 Mobile, bringing tighter integration and unification with its PC counterpart Windows 10, and provide a platform for smartphones and tablets with screen sizes under 8 inches.
Windows Mobile smartphone series has had poor adoption, that also led to a decrease in third-party applications, and some vendors ended their support for Windows Mobile altogether. As of 2016, Windows 10 Mobile global market share dropped below 0.6%.
In the early 2010s, BlackBerry Limited started making new devices on a new platform named "BlackBerry 10", which is based on their BlackBerry Tablet OS, to replace the BlackBerry OS. In 2015, BlackBerry said there would be no new devices with BB10 but they will still support the OS for existing devices. In 2016, BlackBerry Limited ceased making smartphones and licensed TCL Communication to manufacture them under the name BlackBerry Mobile. BlackBerry Mobile smartphones abandoned BlackBerry 10 in favor of the Android operating system, beginning with the 2017 BlackBerry KEYone. The first BlackBerry phone to ship with Android, however, was BlackBerry Limited's Priv.
A mobile app is a computer program designed to run on a mobile device, such as a smartphone. The term "app" is a shortening of the term "software application".
The introduction of Apple's App Store for the iPhone and iPod Touch in July 2008 popularized manufacturer-hosted online distribution for third-party applications (software and computer programs) focused on a single platform. There are a huge variety of apps, including video games, music products and business tools. Up until that point, smartphone application distribution depended on third-party sources providing applications for multiple platforms, such as GetJar, Handango, Handmark, and PocketGear. Following the success of the App Store, other smartphone manufacturers launched application stores, such as Google's Android Market (later renamed to the Google Play Store) and RIM's BlackBerry App World and Android-related app stores like F-Droid. In February 2014, 93% of mobile developers were targeting smartphones first for mobile app development.
Since 1996, smartphone shipments have had positive growth. In November 2011, 27% of all photographs created were taken with camera-equipped smartphones. In September 2012, a study concluded that 4 out of 5 smartphone owners use the device to shop online. Global smartphone sales surpassed the sales figures for feature phones in early 2013. Worldwide shipments of smartphones topped 1 billion units in 2013, up 38% from 2012's 725 million, while comprising a 55% share of the mobile phone market in 2013, up from 42% in 2012. In Q1 2016 for the first time the shipments dropped by 3 percent year on year. The situation was caused by the maturing China market.
In 2011, Samsung had the highest shipment market share worldwide, followed by Apple. In 2013, Samsung had 31.3% market share, a slight increase from 30.3% in 2012, while Apple was at 15.3%, a decrease from 18.7% in 2012. Huawei, LG and Lenovo were at about 5% each, significantly better than 2012 figures, while others had about 40%, the same as the previous years figure. Only Apple lost market share, although their shipment volume still increased by 12.9 percent; the rest had significant increases in shipment volumes of 36 to 92 percent. In Q1 2014, Samsung had a 31% share and Apple had 16%. In Q4 2014, Apple had a 20.4% share and Samsung had 19.9%. In Q2 2016, Samsung had a 22.3% share and Apple had 12.9%. In Q1 2017, IDC reported that Samsung was first placed, with 80 million units, followed by Apple with 50.8 million, Huawei with 34.6 million, Oppo with 25.5 million and Vivo with 22.7 million.
By operating system
The market has been dominated by the Android operating system since 2010. Android's market share (measured by units shipment) rose from 33.2% in Q4 2011 to 81.7% of the market in Q4 2016. Apple's market share oscillated between 18% and 12.5% during the same period. Windows Phone market share also oscillated between 1.5% and 0.3% during the same time frame. As of the end of Q4 2016, Android was the most popular operating system sold with new smartphones with an 81.7% market share, followed by iOS with 17.9%, Windows 10 Mobile with 0.3% and other OSes at 0.1%.
Historical sales figures, in millions
A 2012 University of Southern California study found that unprotected adolescent sexual activity was more common among owners of smartphones. A study conducted by the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute's (RPI) Lighting Research Center (LRC) concluded that smartphones, or any backlit devices, can seriously affect sleep cycles. Some persons might become psychologically attached to smartphones resulting in anxiety when separated from the devices. A "smombie" (a combination of "smartphone" and "zombie") is a walking person using a smartphone and not paying attention as they walk, possibly risking an accident in the process, an increasing social phenomenon. The issue of slow-moving smartphone users led to the temporary creation of a "mobile lane" for walking in Chongqing, China. The issue of distracted smartphone users led the city of Augsburg, Germany to embed pedestrian traffic lights in the pavement.
Mobile phone use while driving—including calling, text messaging, playing media, web browsing, gaming, using mapping apps or operating other phone features—is common but controversial, since it is widely considered dangerous due to what is known as distracted driving. Being distracted while operating a motor vehicle has been shown to increase the risk of accidents. In September 2010, the US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reported that 995 people were killed by drivers distracted by phones. In March 2011 a US insurance company, State Farm Insurance, announced the results of a study which showed 19% of drivers surveyed accessed the Internet on a smartphone while driving. Many jurisdictions prohibit the use of mobile phones while driving. In Egypt, Israel, Japan, Portugal and Singapore, both handheld and hands-free calling on a mobile phone (which uses a speakerphone) is banned. In other countries including the UK and France and in many US states, only the use of calling on handheld phones is banned, while hands-free use is permitted.
A 2011 study reported that over 90% of college students surveyed text (initiate, reply or read) while driving. The scientific literature on the danger of driving while sending a text message from a mobile phone, or texting while driving, is limited. A simulation study at the University of Utah found a sixfold increase in distraction-related accidents when texting. Due to the complexity of smartphones that began to grow more after, this has introduced additional difficulties for law enforcement officials when attempting to distinguish one usage from another in drivers using their devices. This is more apparent in countries which ban both handheld and hands-free usage, rather than those which ban handheld use only, as officials cannot easily tell which function of the phone is being used simply by looking at the driver. This can lead to drivers being stopped for using their device illegally for a call when, in fact, they were using the device legally, for example, when using the phone's incorporated controls for car stereo, GPS or satnav.
A 2010 study reviewed the incidence of phone use while cycling and its effects on behavior and safety. In 2013 a national survey in the US reported the number of drivers who reported using their phones to access the Internet while driving had risen to nearly one of four. A study conducted by the University of Vienna examined approaches for reducing inappropriate and problematic use of mobile phones, such as using phones while driving.
Accidents involving a driver being distracted by being in a call on a phone have begun to be prosecuted as negligence similar to speeding. In the United Kingdom, from 27 February 2007, motorists who are caught using a handheld phone while driving will have three penalty points added to their license in addition to the fine of £60. This increase was introduced to try to stem the increase in drivers ignoring the law. Japan prohibits all use of phones while driving, including use of hands-free devices. New Zealand has banned handheld phone use since 1 November 2009. Many states in the United States have banned text messaging on phones while driving. Illinois became the 17th American state to enforce this law. As of July 2010, 30 states had banned texting while driving, with Kentucky becoming the most recent addition on July 15.
Public Health Law Research maintains a list of distracted driving laws in the United States. This database of laws provides a comprehensive view of the provisions of laws that restrict the use of mobile devices while driving for all 50 states and the District of Columbia between 1992, when first law was passed through December 1, 2010. The dataset contains information on 22 dichotomous, continuous or categorical variables including, for example, activities regulated (e.g., texting versus talking, hands-free versus handheld calls, web browsing, gaming), targeted populations, and exemptions.
A "patent war" between Samsung and Apple started when the latter claimed that the original Galaxy S Android phone copied the interface—and possibly the hardware—of Apple's iOS for the iPhone 3GS. There was also smartphone patents licensing and litigation involving Sony Mobile, Google, Apple Inc., Samsung, Microsoft, Nokia, Motorola, HTC, Huawei and ZTE, among others. The conflict is part of the wider "patent wars" between multinational technology and software corporations. To secure and increase market share, companies granted a patent can sue to prevent competitors from using the methods the patent covers. Since the 2010's the number of lawsuits, counter-suits, and trade complaints based on patents and designs in the market for smartphones, and devices based on smartphone OSes such as Android and iOS, has increased significantly. Initial suits, countersuits, rulings, license agreements, and other major events began in 2009 as the smartphone market stated to grow more rapidly by 2012.
Some apps allows for sending and receiving facsimile (Fax), over a smartphone, including facsimile data (composed of raster bi-level graphics) generated directly and digitally from document and image file formats.
With the rise in number of mobile medical apps in the market place, government regulatory agencies raised concerns on the safety of the use of such applications. These concerns were transformed into regulation initiatives worldwide with the aim of safeguarding users from untrusted medical advice.
Smartphone malware is easily distributed through an insecure app store. Often, malware is hidden in pirated versions of legitimate apps, which are then distributed through third-party app stores. Malware risk also comes from what is known as an "update attack", where a legitimate application is later changed to include a malware component, which users then install when they are notified that the app has been updated. As well, one out of three robberies in 2012 in the United States involved the theft of a mobile phone. An online petition has urged smartphone makers to install kill switches in their devices. In 2014, Apple's "Find my iPhone" and Google's "Android Device Manager" can locate, disable, and wipe the data from phones that have been lost or stolen. With BlackBerry Protect in OS version 10.3.2, devices can be rendered unrecoverable to even BlackBerry's own Operating System recovery tools if incorrectly authenticated or dissociated from their account.
Leaked documents published by WikiLeaks, codenamed Vault 7 and dated from 2013–2016, detail the capabilities of the United States Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) to perform electronic surveillance and cyber warfare, including the ability to compromise the operating systems of most smartphones (including iOS and Android).
Using smartphones late at night can disturb sleep, due to the blue light and brightly lit screen, which affects melatonin levels and sleep cycles. In an effort to alleviate these issues, several apps that change the color temperature of a screen to a warmer hue based on the time of day to reduce the amount of blue light generated have been developed for Android, while iOS 9.3 integrated similar, system-level functionality known as "Night Shift". Amazon released a feature known as "blue shade" in their Fire OS "Bellini" 5.0 and later. It has also been theorized that for some users, addicted use of their phones, especially before they go to bed, can result in "ego depletion". Many people also use their phones as alarm clocks, which can also lead to loss of sleep.
Pocket cameras have difficulty producing bokeh in images, but nowadays, some smartphones have dual-lens cameras that produce the bokeh effect easily, and can even rearrange the level of bokeh after shooting. The iPhone 7 Plus debuted with a dual-lens camera in the back of the smartphone. More advanced smartphones may come with 'quad cameras', or two dual-lens cameras such as the Honor 9 Lite smartphone. The back and front of the smartphone each have a 13MP main lens and a 2MP lens for capturing depth information. The Evercoss U50A Max smartphone has 4 cameras, and costs less than $100.
Huawei P20 Pro smartphone with triple lenses in the back of the smartphone has been launched as bokeh camera smartphone with optical zoom. First lens has 40MP RGB, second lens has 20MP monochrome and third lens has 8MP RGB telephoto 3x. The zoom can be enhanced to 5x with combination of the optical zoom and megapixel lens 40MP RGB to produce undeteriorated (optical+digital) zoom or digital zoom without loss of quality.
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