Smartphones

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Smartphones; one of if not the most innovative personal devices within the past 10 years.

The rise of the smartphone
It's almost unthinkable how much mobile technology has transformed the way we receive information and communicate in this day and age. It was only in 1999 that Nokia announced the world's first phone dedicated towards media. The Nokia 7110, which was designed for media first off, and especially the internet. It might only have allowed a person to access text-based WAP internet pages, but it did so with large display ( for the time ) without being too bulky. Mobile based internet was still rather new, and the first BlackBerry only now released was basically just a glorified pagers with email capabilities. The user experience was simplistic, hard to use and rather expensive with data networks such as DataTAC and Mobitex offering expensive and slow connections of around 8Kbps. Over the next 10 years smartphones would change drastically, along with their user base and technologies they use.

What is a smartphone?
The phones from the 90's and early 2000's can hardly be considered smartphones anymore by today's standards. To be a smartphone you need to be able to do more than just make calls, receive emails, have a calendar, calculator and address book. Things that use to be the latest and greatest in technology and innovation. Smartphones are more than just phones with features, they need to be able to perform functions similar to that of handheld or portable computing devices. This can date back to the mid 2000's where Windows Mobile phones were seen taking a dual role as phone and PDA, featuring a resistive touch screen and a stylus for input. Like windows the phone had a start button and list of programs to run. Third party applications could be installed and run. Despite this many phones still featured large keyboard and small screens. Enter the iPhone

In 2007 Apple announced their iPhone, and this would completely revolutionise and redefine what smartphone was and what they were capable of. It completely did away with the physical keyboard, instead relying completely a capacitive touch screen. These allowed people to actually touch the screen, with their finger as opposed to relying on a stylus, which could easily be lost. Now a person can merely flick through pages, applications, images, music and video selections with their finger. All your content was for the first time at your fingers tips, all in a small hand held device. The iPhone also featured another new technology called Multi-Touch, where you "pinch" your fingers together in order to zoom , expand your fingers to zoom out. You can simple double tap your finger as well to zoom in or out of a particular area. The new smartphone also featured an accelerometer and the first non WAP reliant browser. The Accelerometer allowed the phone to rotate its image as the phone was rotated. Allowing it to display the content in a landscape. This made typing and watching videos far easier, as things tend to get cramped in a portrait view. The new Web browser which was called MobileSafari brought mobile users a similar experience to that which they can get on a desktop.

Up until 2007 apps for phones were usually bought through mobile providers or online; which meant that they could cost a rather large amount, along with not being readily available or guaranteed to work on all models of your phone. Windows Mobile was terrible in this regard as an app made for Windows Mobile 4, might not work at all on 5 if you had upgraded. This was changed with the introduction of the AppStore from Apple. It was the first time that a user friendly way to browse, purchase and install apps was introduced. It was available directly through your phone or online and within months Apple device users had downloaded 1 Billion apps, anything from fart noise makers to word processing apps.

Where are we now?
Since 2007 smartphones have changed dramatically, all for the...
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