What does Smartphone mean to you?


Image via Wikipedia

In his post Mordy Gilden asks What makes a Smartphone ‘Smart’. He gives a few examples of what might be construed as a Smartphone, but with a plethora of phones from different tiers having similar functionality that we may attribute to a Smartphone, how do we define what it really is.

I think “Smartphone” was a term coined by marketers to differentiate their PDA-cum-Phone from the rest of pack. A few examples:

  • Microsoft’s PocketPC spinoff called Smartphone which looked more like a phone and along with everything that PocketPC did, could also make calls
  • Palm’s PDAs with calling features
  • Nokia’s Communicator… a huge, bulky handheld PC which could “also” do calls.

“Smartphone” was a marketing term associated with hi-end phones, a brand if you will, with a feature set that identified with it. But as the industry progressed the same feature set was available in the not so high-end phones. In the minds of end-user, however, “Smartphone” was still associated with that same feature-set, hence our current dilemma of what constitutes a Smartphone.

Maybe we should go back to the tiering structure Low-tier, Mid-tier, High-tier. We’ll probably need to add “Ultra-low-tier” (<$30) and “ultra-high-tier” to the fray as well 🙂 .  Or maybe we need to come up with a new term for the high-end phones.

What do you think?

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About Sachendra Yadav

Mobilist and Social Media enthusiast
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6 Responses to What does Smartphone mean to you?

  1. Phil Barrett says:

    Agreed that the definition of “smartphone” is not as easy as it was a few years ago… but i still define it as a feature rich mobile device that allows for email, access to mobile web, and ability to download / support other applications for device.

    For me, smartphone = mobile office… it’s really my ultra ultra light laptop 🙂

  2. AC says:

    I’m taking my cues from something Steve Litchfield said on the most recent All About Symbian Podcast, that with the iPhone and the rising tide of feature phones the very term “smartphone” is quickly becoming irrelevant.

    I’ve even gone so far as to delete that particular tag from my WP.com blog…

  3. At least at Nokia, they used to use Symbian (or more specifically S60) to differentiate “smart phones” from not. S40–the OS they usually use on the “feature phones”–is rapidly catching up. It will also be interesting to see how much Linux plays a role in future Nokia handsets.

  4. Brian says:

    I think you made a mistake regarding the author of that post.
    It was not Justin Oberman, but rather one of the new writers for MoPocket, Mordy Gilden.

    Its also posted on his personal blog at mobile-enthusiast.blogspot.com

    You might want to correct that…

  5. Brian,
    Thanks for pointing it out, I’ve corrected it

  6. In my opinion:
    the smartphones have the ability to do more than ordinary cellphone. It may allow You to create and edit Microsoft Office documents – or at least see the files.

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