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Smart Phones

Aug 29, 2008
Today, many are confused by the wide-ranging spectrum of mobile phone models and capabilities. For those seeking a phone with the greatest expanse of functionality, there is no better choice than a smart phone.

The smart phone is simply a cellular phone that offers higher capability above the average mobile phone. This simple definition is unfortunately complicated by the lack of an industry standard definition. One may see a smart phone as one that offers a complete keyboard with internet and email functionality, and some may only view a smart phone as a phone with a full operating system (OS) and applications.

Smart phones, as a whole, carry the ability to function as much as a cell phone as a PDA.

Most have complete email capability, web browsing, calendar support, and contact support. Extended functionality offered by various manufacturers and models include GPS or A-GPS navigation, multimedia playback, document reading or editing, integrated camera, touch screen, etc. The smart phones available on the market today are characterized by their respective operating systems, which are:

* Windows Mobile
* iPhone OS
* Symbian OS
* RIM Blackberry
* Palm OS
* Linux-based OS

Windows Mobile is a platform developed by Microsoft that supports mobile devices including smart phones. It is close in appearance and features to the desktop Windows operating systems, including a very large selection of third party applications. Windows Mobile applications can add an unlimited functionality to a smart phone within hardware limits, but some examples are Skype support, instant messaging over AIM or other protocols, RSS feeds, and media players that extend the built-in file format ability.

The iPhone OS is built by Apple to run on their iPhone. The iPhone OS is actually a stripped down, but complete version of the original OS X operating system. This OS supports media playback identical to the iPod line, but with a layout designed to take advantage of the iPhone's multi-touch screen. It also supports a portable version of the iTunes store, third-party applications through an application store, a full version of the Safari web browser, full e-mail support with HTML and attachment viewing, maps via Google, YouTube, calendar and contacts support, photo viewing, etc.

The Symbian OS is developed and owned by Symbian Ltd., and while similar in functionality to the Windows Mobile operating system, enjoys 65% of all smart phone market share. This OS has all of the basic smart phone features that any other smart phone has, but also an extensive library of third party applications that provide the phone with nearly unlimited functionality (with respect to hardware limitations). Some phone manufacturers that utilize the Symbian OS are Nokia, Motorola, and Sony Ericsson.

The Blackberry, Palm, and Linux-based operating systems are the last three operating systems employed by smart phones today, and share the main functionality of all other smart phones, as well as third-party applications. These systems are similar in their narrow smart phone deployment. The Blackberry OS only runs on Blackberry devices, and the Palm OS runs primarily on the Treo devices. The Linux-based systems are unique in that it is not its own platform, but rather a base for other platforms used by Samsung, Panasonic, NEC, and Vodafone, to name a few.
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