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Is your mobile phone smart?

Created date

February 23rd, 2010
Even if you haven t heard the term smartphone, most likely you ve seen more and more people s faces glued to their mobile phones. Five years ago, most phones offered just the basics they made and received calls, took pictures, and many sent text messages through the numerical dial pad on the phone. Today s smartphones are like having a full computer in your pocket. Most include a camera, maps, e-mail, driving directions and GPS, interactive games, and Internet browsing. With the recent addition of downloadable third-party applications ( apps ), a wide range of services are now available from checking movie times in your area to reviewing your bank balance or ordering food online, from updating your social networking profiles (Facebook) to remembering where you parked your car.

Apple s iPhone

Introduced to the world in 2007, the iPhone was the first touch screen phone on the market. This smartphone includes e-mail, maps, You Tube videos, Web browser (Safari), photo viewer and camera, compass, iPod music player, and voice and video recorder. It was one of the first phones to offer downloadable applications through the Apple App Store which went live in 2008. As of January 2010, more than 100,000 applications have been downloaded over three million times. The iPhone is great for multitasking you can look up a contact, review directions on a map, or find other relevant information, all while being on a phone call at the same time. (Many applications, however, do not run in the background like a computer, so when you go back to the home screen to open another application, the first application you had open quits.)

Pros and cons

While the touch screen is easy to use, text entry can be hard if you have large fingers or prefer to press buttons instead of a screen. Another possible drawback: the battery is built into the phone which means the entire iPhone would need to be replaced if the battery goes bad. The quality of the photos is slightly lower than other smartphones (3 megapixels compared to others as high as 5 megapixels), but photos are still great quality. Some smartphone users have thrown barbs at the iPhone for not being able to take external flash memory cards (SD) to transfer music and photos to and from the device. Instead, iPhone users connect to their computer via an included USB cable and sync music to iTunes, and photos to their Mac or PC. Next time, we ll look at the Droid, HTC, and BlackBerry smartphones.