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What Is The Difference Between A Smartphone And A Feature Phone?

We get so caught up with staying on the cutting edge of mobile technology that we assume everyone knows and understands what a smartphone is and what a feature phone is. But it is a wrong assumption. In this article, we define a smartphone and a feature phone and highlight the differences between them. Let’s start with the smartphone; shall we?


What Is A Smartphone?

A smartphone is a mobile phone that has advanced functions similar to a personal computer. Those computing functions include an operating system, ability to install and run downloaded apps, email and web browsing. Essentially, a smartphone is a mobile computer.

As such, you can create and edit Office documents and other kinds of documents, edit images and video, read ebooks, manage websites and web servers, run accounting software, run health monitors and medical software, and a whole lot more.

How Convergence Created Smartphones

Smartphones evolved from the marriage of mobile phones (or cell phones in American parlance) and PDAs (personal digital assistants). PDAs were handheld devices that featured a large screen, a QWERTY keyboard or a touchscreen and stylus for text input, personal organizer, web browser, and other computing abilities.

Eventually, manufacturers began to combine telephony into PDAs – or PDA functions into telephones. Operating systems for mobile devices evolved along with that. And so the first smartphones were born. These first smartphones included the Nokia Communicator series and the Sony Ericsson R380, among others.

Today’s smartphones are mostly classified based on the operating systems that they run – Android OS, iOS, Windows 10 Mobile, etc.

How Is A Smartphone Different From A Feature Phone?

A feature phone is a basic mobile phone with much more limited computing capabilities than a smartphone. A feature phone runs on proprietary firmware, with third-party software support through a platform like Java ME. A feature phone may or may not include internet capabilities. Where internet capabilities is available, the features are very basic – email client and web browser with limited capabilities.

Feature phones often provide a basic calendar, media player, alarm, and a few others. As mentioned before, the range of activities that are possible on a feature phone is much more limited than what obtains on a smartphone.

There you have it. Hopefully, this article helps you better understand the differences between smartphones and feature phones.

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3 thoughts on “What Is The Difference Between A Smartphone And A Feature Phone?

  1. Nice info. Can we call Symbian OS a ‘smart-OS’

  2. Ahhh Nokia Symbian very popular then. Just remembered my Nokia E75 and N8.

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