What Makes a Smartphone Smart?

Smartphones offer additional features beyond a typical cell phone

A modern smartphone comes with enough hardware and software to be the only computer most people need most of the time. You can, of course, make calls, but you can also watch movies, message nearly anyone in the world, and take spectacular photos. You can also record, edit, and post movies that would have been impossible to do with a desktop computer just a few years ago. One could make an argument that today's smartphones are truly the embodiment of the most personal of computers ever made.


Why Are They Called Smartphones?

Key Smartphone Features

In general, a smartphone runs an advanced operating system that supports mobile and web applications and is generally far more capable than only making and receiving calls. At this point, there are two dominating operating systems: iOS for the iPhone and Android for phones from Google, Samsung, and others. The operating systems are capable of multitasking and running software as powerful as desktop systems can run.


Smartphones run applications that are, by and large, as robust as their desktop counterparts and, sometimes, better than what's available on the desktop. While all the basics are more than covered (email, messaging, word processing), you can easily find software to edit movies, create music, and even translate signs from one language to another in real-time.

Internet Access

Thanks to advanced antennas and better infrastructure, you can often find your fastest connection to the internet in the palm of your hand. Being able to stream 4K movies is now table stakes for any smartphone.


Smartphones can handle SMS without any issue, but thanks to their ability to run more advanced software, nearly any form of messaging and communication is possible. Think about Apple's Message and FaceTime services and the endless social media services (which offer public and private messaging).

Advanced Hardware

Not only do today's smartphones have advanced screens with enough brightness to be seen in any sunny condition, but they also come with cameras that rival almost any camera you've ever owned and they most certainly have a better video camera than you've ever owned. Thanks to advanced microprocessors and better battery chemistry, these little computers last all day on just one charge.

  • Is an Android phone considered a smartphone?

    Yes, Android phones are smartphones, although their capabilities might different from manufacturer to manufacturer. Each Android smartphone is capable of messaging, emailing, web browsing, picture taking, and stream movies.

  • What's the most popular smartphone?

    This answer is a little tricky. If you are going by operating system, then Android smartphones are the most popular worldwide with about 70% of the market. If you are going by just the United States, then iOS and iPhone edge out Android by just a few percentage points.

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