What Qualifies As a Smartphone?


Quick Answer

Although no standard definition for the word "smartphone" exists, the general consensus is that a mobile phone must have a widely used operating system and be able to run third-party apps to be deemed so. Some experts also consider Internet connectivity, embedded memory and other similar technologies as necessary features.

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Full Answer

While experts do not agree completely on the smartphone's defining characteristics, most smartphones share several features aside from the ones previously mentioned. Most, if not all, are shipped with email features built directly into their operating systems. The vast majority are equipped with digital cameras that are able to both take still pictures and record video. Many are equipped with GPS receivers for obtaining location and navigation data, as well as hardware capable of sensing other types of input, such as acceleration, gravity, orientation and the direction of the Earth's magnetic north pole.

Ambiguity when trying to delineate what constitutes a smartphone and what doesn't arises when taking into account the fact that feature phones, as mobile phones not considered smartphones are often called, can sometimes share features that are generally only available on their higher-end counterparts. For example, some experts consider the Nokia Asha 501 a feature phone, despite the fact that it comes with a touchscreen, is Wi-Fi and Bluetooth capable and can be loaded with different apps.

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