By definition, a smart phone is a mobile device that has more features as well as capabilities than a contemporary mole device. Some of the unique features of a smart phone include but are not limited to enhanced computing abilities. Further, it can be noted that smart phones are enabled to run a wide range of advanced applications. In this text, I concern myself with the history of smart phones including how their development has evolved over the years as well as the main players in the marketplace today. I also briefly look into the future of smart phones going forward.
According to Smart phone Guide (July 5th 2010), IBM Simon was the very first smart phone to be offered for sale in the mass market. This mobile device which many analysts saw as being way ahead of its time was developed in 1992 (as a concept product) had a number of enhanced applications as well as features which made it a combine and condense into one a number of stand alone devices at the time including but not limited to a PDA, a conventional phone as well as a pager.
Other hugely popular features of this very first smart phone which were largely missing in other phones included a calculator, a world clock, an address book as well as a stylus. But one of the most surprising things about this phone at the time (and perhaps the reason it was seen as being way ahead of its time) was a touch screen. The touch screen allowed individuals to do a number of things including keying-in in characters.
This smart phone also came complete with a memory card. Indeed, as an indicator of its wild popularity at the time, the smart phone featured prominently in the net movie.However, it is important to note that today, recent developments in the smart phones marketplace would earn the Simons Smart phone a much lower rank in the marketplace in relation to the position it held in the early 90s.
Some of the main players in the smart phones marketplace have been Nokia, HP, Samsung, Blackberry (RIM) as well as Apple. By far however, Nokia has been one of the most dominant figures especially in the earlier periods of the smart phones “revolution.” Nokia’s first smart phone was released in the mid 90s and it essentially contained features fished from Nokia’s best-selling mobile then and HP’s PDA. However, the very first color screen smart phone was the Nokia 9210.
It is important to note that originally, the Nokia series of smart phones (though not the only ones in the marketplace) were extremely expensive sometimes beating the next phones in their category by a margin of more 20%. It is also important to note that though there were earlier versions of the smart phone, the first mobile device to contain the ‘smart phone’ initials was a GS88 concept phone by Eriksson (Brandon 2010).The year 2002 was however the year that saw the release of the first phone utilizing the relatively new Symbian OS. By definition, the Symbian operating system is essentially a software platform made for smart phones.
Nokia currently maintains the open source operating system. After this came the very first smart phone fully equipped with a camera; the P800 (Reed, June 18th 2010). It can however be noted that though the earlier versions of smart phones gained prominence in the marketplace, their success cannot be compared to the Kyocera 6035 by Palm, Inc. This smart phone which received an extremely warm welcome reception from the populace as well as technology publications supported web browsing (limited) and it went ahead to rake in a tidy sum through sales revenues for Palm Inc.
However, the real game changer as far as the smart phones marketplace is concerned has been RIM’s Blackberry. From as early as 2002, the Blackberry phone was already showing signs of the high-end market dominance. This is indeed the first smart phone where deliberate measures were undertaken to ensure that the wireless email use was optimized. As an indicator of the popularity of the Blackberry, by around December 2009, the smart phone had a subscriber base of close to 32 million customers.
One of the main competitors of blackberry has been Nokia especially through its relatively successful N-series phones. Indeed, Nokia is largely seen as a pioneer of the market wide acceptance of the Wi-Fi as well as 3G connectivity in addition to the LED flash as standard features of the smart phones competing on the high-end side of the smart phones marketplace (Smart phone Guide, July 5th 2010).In the last two years, we have also seen a number of smart phone advancements mainly driven by Nokia, Apple and a few other players like Samsung. However, the new generation version of the smart phone is the iPhone which was developed by Apple Inc.
Indeed, it is one of the smart phones whose control as well as use is primarily through the use of a highly interactive screen. Other smart phones of its generation have also shown a tendency towards this trend of using the interactive touch screen as the primary input device. These include but are not in any way limited to the HTC Touch and LG Prada. Another significant development to advancement that has been witnessed in the smart phones marketplace includes the recent android operating system. This operating system has a wide rang of features including but not in any way limited to enhanced handset layouts, support for a wide range of connectivity i.e. Wi-Fi, WiMax, IDEN etc. It also supports Java as well as Streaming media amongst others.
According to Dave Coustan and Jonathan Strickland (2010), it is not entirely possible to map the future of smart phones but one thing is certain though; that they shall be cheaper and much smaller. In addition to that, it is projected that smart phones shall be more consumer tailored with more customer friendly applications. However, one thing that is seen as a challenge going forward is security. With corporate executives as well as business chiefs using smart phones for purposes of confidential information transmission, smart phones are increasingly being seen as significantly prone to malicious attacks as well as other security breaches. There is hence a need for smart phone developers to take into consideration the issue of security when configuring smart phones.
From the reading above, it is quite clear that smart phones have indeed come a long way from simple smart phones offering basic applications to the now advanced smart phones offering global positioning capabilities. It however remains anyone’s guess as to what the future holds for smart phones in regard to the anticipated advancement of technology.
Coustan, D. & Strickland J. (2010). “How Smart phones Work” Retrieved from http://communication.howstuffworks.com/smartphone5.htm on 30th March 2010
Brandon, J. (Feb 16th 2010). The Future of Smart phones: 2010-2015 and beyond. Retrieved from http://www.digitaltrends.com/features/the-future-of-smartphones-2010-2015-and-beyond/ on 30th March 2010
2010). A Brief History of Smart phones: How the smart phone went from a high-end enterprise device to an everyday consumer staple. Retrieved from http://www.pcworld.com/article/199243/a_brief_history_of_smartphones.html on 30th March 2010
Smart phone Guide (July 5th 2010). A short history of the smart phone. Retrieved from http://smartphone-guide.com/a-short-history-of-the-smartphone.html on 30th March 2010