How Smart Is Your Smartphone?

Posted by Dayo Olutunfese

This article was co-authored with Yomi Adegboye. His thoughts are inserted right after Dayo’s. – Admin


In the early days of my adopting the smartphone genre, I used to define a smartphone by how complex it was. For me, if a phone didn’t let you dig into several layers of menu to get to a feature, I simply didn’t consider it a smartphone at all. My thinking then was, “This phone is too simple to qualify to be called a smartphone“.



After using more than 15 smartphones and still counting, my thinking and definition of what a smartphone is has changed considerably. Now, it is not enough for a smartphone to have all the features in the world, it must be able to perform its functions in a very smart way.

User Interface:
Doing things smart begins with the user interface. The user interface must be fluid and it must have a flow to it. What I mean is that there must be consistency in the user interface. A lack of consistency is highly disorienting and takes away from the usability of the phone altogether. Also, the user interface must be well implemented in that it allows different applications to communicate seamlessly.

My Blackberry Experience:
The Blackberry phone may not tick all the boxes when it comes to features, but it is one of the smartest phones I have used. In fact smartness is the name of the game the Blackberry plays, especially those powered by OS 6.0.



Copy, cut and paste is implemented throughout the Blackberry OS and also well integrated into third party apps. Using Yahoo Messenger, for example, I was able to copy a phone number from the messenger app and paste into the phone menu and to make a phone call without having to write out the number first, punch it in, and then place the call. How’s that for usability?

I was sent an email with someone’s Twitter handle. All I had to do was place my cursor on the Twitter handle, click the menu button and there was an option to view the person’s profile. Selecting that option simply launched the Twitter application. I didn’t have to first leave the email window, launch my Twitter app and then type in the Twitter handle to locate the fellow.

Honestly, it has been a joy using a phone that makes it easy for me to get things done. That’s my new definition of what a smartphone is.

Yomi Says

I agree that the definition of a smartphone should be defined more by how truly smart that device handles its tasks. It is just not enough that a device has legion of features. The entrance of the iPhone in the mobile market helped redefine the concept of smartphones.

In the last one week, I have had the opportunity of using a Windowsphone 7 device – and I was blown away by how smart this new OS works. While it currently lacks a lot of features that are regarded as standard fare in the smartphone world, the consistency in design, the fluidity of operations, and the tight integration of the different applications in the OS make for a truly compelling experience.


For example, the WP7 device had no PDF reader built in, but when I downloaded a PDF attachment, it simply notified me that a PDF reader is available for download from the Marketplace, with the option to click a download button. It was such a smart, seamless experience.

Being smart should certainly include ease of use and simplicity. Who wants to go through ten steps to execute a task when just three steps would do? Integration is key in today’s smartphone world.

Back to Dayo

How smart is your smartphone? Do you find it easy to get around and get things done? Let us know.


27 comments

  1. Well, I would say my smartphone is SuperSmart! It is a Nokia 5800, on acetylcholine steroid (applications).

    If not for the screen size, I would use the phone FOREVER.

    For the people that love to repeat the platitudinous statement that Symbian 60 5th Edition is inconsistent, it is badly implemented,bla, bla I say, ‘na them sabi!

    My smartphone (with the array of software) makes my life easier, keeps me better organized. I can not ask for more.

    End of story.

  2. Perhaps the Authors should have addressed this article as “How smart is MY smartphone”. THe title makes one believe that the topic was for Smartphones in general. But sad that only the Blackberry was actually reviewed or compared with itself. Bias?

    With all that said, copy and paste doesn’t really seem rocket science for modern smartphones. Even launching application from another menu as mentioned above too. Apart from Windows phone 7, virtually all other Smartphones OS have incorporated this feature. By my last count; Symbian, iOS, Blackberry, Bada, and Android all have virtually UI-wide copy and paste functionality.

    Features that differentiate a smartphone from the pack these days include subtle and high Tech features like Gyroscope, accelerometer, Compass, ability to Dock on a netbook like entity (Motorola Atrix), wireless printing, USB on the Go, Bluetooth Keyboard and maybe NFC (Smasung galaxy S).
    If UI is your thing, then having an intuitive, polished browser able to handle downloads and integrate with apps installed in the phone should be your cup of tea. Apart from USB on the Go, and NFC the iphone can easily perform all the tasks mentioned. Other Platforms too like Android could equally do the same.

  3. @EyeBeeKay

    Lovely statement from a 5800 devotee.

    The Nokia 5800 is indeed a joy to use and one of the best smartphones i have ever used. Believe me, if i had not used a Blackberry, i might have said the same things you said. But having used a BB Tour, i realise there is more to a smartphone. Just one example will suffice.

    Try copy a potrion of an email you received on your 5800. Its impossible unless you forward it first then copy from the forwarded text. In a BB, you just copy directly. its that simple. Many other little hitches here and there but i will agree all in all that 5800 is a worthy smartphone.

    Now there are phones like Samsung Jet, though not a called smartphone, yet command our respect and almost qualify as a smartphone. While the likes of Samsung Wave, though a smartphone with tons of features still need some finetuning here and there to make it really shine.

    I have used all these mentioned phones, so am in possition to know their strength and shortcomings.

  4. Perhaps the Authors should have addressed this article as “How smart is MY smartphone”. THe title makes one believe that the topic was for Smartphones in general. But sad that only the Blackberry was actually reviewed or compared with itself. Bias?

    Yes; bias. Plus some bad case of being unable to understand basic writing principles – and both on your part.

    First, the above article is NOT a review. Check again.

    Second, an author or speaker will often use one or two examples to pass across a point. That does not mean that he/she is saying that only those examples fit into the picture he is painting.

    With all that said, copy and paste doesn’t really seem rocket science for modern smartphones. Even launching application from another menu as mentioned above too. Apart from Windows phone 7, virtually all other Smartphones OS have incorporated this feature.

    Well said about copy and paste – though it is important to note to you that your beloved iPhone did not have that functionality at its first coming either. Taking a cue from you, it must have sounded like rocket science for Apple back then.

    I wasn’t alluding to launching an application from another menu when I spoke of WP7. Even non-smartphones do that. My point was smart integration –

    1. the OS recognises the file type,
    2. the OS recognises that there is no app installed to run that file,
    3. the OS notifies you, then presents you with a direct download link from the application store.

    That is being smart.

    Excuse me, but I have used devices running Android, Symbian, Palm, Windows Mobile, and your beloved iOS – and none of them have ever pulled that stunt off. At best, those others simply throw you an error message that the file cannot be opened – leaving the user to his own devices.

    I stand to be corrected, perhaps this has been implemented in some of those others since the last time I used them.

    Lastly, the above article did not say that smart handling of tasks is the only criteria for defining smartphones. It simply pointed out the importance of smart integration as a core factor in defining smartphones.

    Afewgoodmen, please endeavour to take the time to read and understand. Your penchant for simply jumping in with all guns firing is to say the least very amusing.

  5. @DeolaDoctor, you said,”Try copy a portionn of an email you received on your 5800. Its impossible unless you forward it first then copy from the forwarded text. In a BB, you just copy directly. its that simple.”

    Bro, that is NOT a limitation of the phone! If I was using a UcWeb 7.4 mobile browser (Symbian), what you have just outlined is child’s play. It is easily done.

    Like I must have mentioned on this site to the point of nausea, some of the so-called capabilities of some phones are (easily) reproducible. Only if you know the app-for-that.

    What I would term as true smarties in a smartphone would be true hardware technologies as succintly listed by AFewGoodMen upstairs. [Gyroscope, accelerometer, Compass, wireless printing, USB on the Go, Bluetooth Keyboard and NFC].

    Apart from those irreproducible hardware features, all other features can be obtained from your smartphone. With the right software!

  6. the most interactive and simply fluid smartphone I have ever used is the Blackbeery. Without any question and with a little bit of bias, I will give it to BlackBerry.

    Most normobs can can set it up and understand how to use it in time. No single smart device in entirely complete. But My current blackberry 9700 does a Smart-good job for me.

  7. Apologies. I actually wanted to give Yomi’s comment a ThumbsUp, but the page was still loading, and I accidentally clicked the ThumbsDown.

    I consider my Nokia 5320XM running S60v3 to be a better smartphone than my Samsung Wave running badaOS. Symbian offers far more functionality to me than bada.

  8. Yomi, I noted your comments with great trepidation as well as with keen scrutiny. If you noticed my comments above, it was balanced; never placing iphone above other platforms. I consider the Symbian ^1 phones (eg 5230/5800) a capable phone. In fact very capable.

    I only want to point out that if you were discussing or posting about “How Smart Is Your Smartphone?” and all the examples you have is only the User interface for “smartness” then perhaps we should reframe the heading to “How smart is the User interface of your phone?” And by the way, the two phones examples only revolved around user interface.

    “I wasn’t alluding to launching an application from another menu when I spoke of WP7. Even non-smartphones do that. My point was smart integration –

    ……..
    3. the OS notifies you, then presents you with a direct download link from the application store.”

    You rushed to the defence of the Windows phone 7 when I was in effect criticizing the statement made by Blackberry ‘Smartness’; “I was sent an email with someone’s Twitter handle. All I had to do was place my cursor on the Twitter handle, click the menu button and there was an option to view the person’s profile. Selecting that option simply launched the Twitter application. I didn’t have to first leave the email window, launch my Twitter app and then type in the Twitter handle to locate the fellow.”

    Finally, “Excuse me, but I have used devices running Android, Symbian, Palm, Windows Mobile, and your beloved iOS – and none of them have ever pulled that stunt off. At best, those others simply throw you an error message that the file cannot be opened – leaving the user to his own devices.”

    The iphone doesn’t need to do that because it has an integrated PDF and multiple file viewers integrated with the Operating system itself. As such the OS just handles the file automatically without a need to install a document viewer! The OS natively handles PDf in browsers be it email or any attachment. It can also open the file/attachment in third-party apps like Quick Office or Goodreader. If you ask me, which would I choose? I would definitely prefer the OS with a built in reader over that that need to download a viewer to read a PDF file!

  9. @Eyebeekay. I understand why Deoladoctor drew a question mark over acetylcholine steroids after your first comment. those are perhaps two very contrasting medical terms. Are they applications?

    I also agree with you on the power of third party applications. if you know where to look they transfer your phone to very smart and capable device.

    As shown by the various manufacturers and OS builders rushing to get their own app stores, third party apps is or maybe a prerequisite in the making of a successful smartphone!

  10. @EyeBeeKay,

    You say:
    “What I would term as true smarties in a smartphone would be true hardware technologies as succintly listed by AFewGoodMen upstairs. [Gyroscope, accelerometer, Compass, wireless printing, USB on the Go, Bluetooth Keyboard and NFC].
    Apart from those irreproducible hardware features, all other features can be obtained from your smartphone. With the right software!”

    While I agree with you on other things. I find it difficult agreeing with above statement. The reason is quite obvious. All the things mentioned above could be done by any phone without an operating system. If your criteria were to be taken as yardstick, then, the likes of Samsung jet would qualify as smartphones.

    This brings me to the question often asked with resulting varied answers:
    ‘What really is the definition of a smartphone?’

  11. Afewgoodmen,

    Your comment was far from balanced. The article approaches the question of smartphones from the perspective of smart integration. For you to be balanced, your responses would need to be in the light of the context of the article. No one is disputing other smartphone factors. But get back to the context of tjis article please.

    My defending a point I made in the article was the result of your inability to sit down and point out what specifically you were refering to. Next time when commenting, please quote or reference what exactly you are responding to.

    Again, your last paragraph shows that you miss the point of the article. It is not about what comes pre-installed with the phone but how smartly integrated the OS and user interface are.

  12. The Copy and Paste thing is largely overrated and is seldomly used compared to the hype it generates. My Symbian device Nokia 6220 classic or boy Symbian device out there is totally incredible. I never have to ask for directions again courtsey the Ovi map app, thanks to Nokia Situation or Best Profiles it’s both location and context aware, it switches profiles for me when i’m in a meeting or just left the house, going silent in scheduled meetings, turning down the ringer as soon as i get to the Office, and turning it back on when i get to the house. For email i pretty don’t care much for how soon i get it, realtime messaging in my opinion should be left to either phone calls or sms. If i do need push email Se7en or Mobile documents pretty much covers it.

  13. @martinkem,

    its easy for me to agree on all you have said except what you mentioned about copy & paste. To me, copy & paste is a must on any phone i use. This is one function i heavily rely on. Am sure many others phase my feelings. A phone without copy & paste, no matter how good or flashy is of no use to me.

  14. @DeolaDoctor, I said, ‘What I would term as true smarties in a SMARTPHONE.. …’

    To e-LUCID-ate…

    I thought we have already agreed on what a smartphone is? We are discussing smartphones in this post.

    A ‘smartphone’ must have an OS, and must be extensible thru thirdparty apos. A Samsung Jet fails @ those!

    it is possible for a SMARTPHONE to lack those things (NFC, accelerometre..) and still be a bona fide smartphone.

    But a phone with all those features does not necessarily qualify as one.

    I was merely saying that the addition of Gyroscope, accelerometer, Compass, wireless printing, USB on the Go, Bluetooth Keyboardand NFC makes any smartphone even SMARTER, as these are things no software application can achieve.Those are hardware issues.
    My Nokia 5800 .is as functional / smart as much as software can make a phone .

    But having ALL those hardware features will be a STEROIDdal shot in the BRAIN for it.
    Without the right array of software for a smartphone, its talents remain buried.

  15. For me, a smart phone is one powerful enough to enable me perform my task faster than ever. I use an android powered phone known as LG P500, this phone runs android 2.2, it is superfast, switching from one app to another is lightning fast, apps available for this phone is unlimited, with this phone in my pocket, i will be able to find my way if i get lost. As if this is not enough, i got this super phone for just N38,000 which is cheap when compared to other smart phones, my phone is a wifi router, my phone is a barcode scanner and generator, my phone even track peoples location, ANDROID POWERED DEVICES ARE SIMPLY THE SMARTEST.

  16. @EyeBeeKay,

    Agreed.
    But you’re not going to get that steroid shot on your 5800 ever. Sorry bout that.
    I suggest you move up by placing a pre order for nokia E7 for 600 euros.

  17. Another functionality I truly desire in a smartphone is the ability to record phone calls. This is 1 of the main reasons that I still use my Nokia 5320XM. With Total Recall, ALL my phone are recorded, and I regularly back them up. The Samsung Wave can record calls too, but it has to be done manually by the user, thus losing the 1st seconds of the phone call.

    I understand this is an issue with Android phones, especially in hardware. Total Recall for Android is universal for all droids. http://www.killermobile.com/en/applications/android/total-recall-android-%7C-call-recorder.html

    @Oluwatosin Omoniyi – Will your phone be upgraded to Android 2.3? I just spent the last 30 mins researching online, and the LG P500 seems like a good bargain.

  18. @DeolaDoctor, You said, “I suggest you move up by placing a pre order for nokia E7 for 600 euros.”

    Not me. My Mama will beat me if I spend that kind of colossal sum on a TOY..

    I shall move up, but not THAT up..

    No, thanks!

  19. The smartness of any phone depends on how well it helps one accomplish one’s objectives. I’ve used a blackberry storm 2, but it seems it comes up short of my needs. I got my first android phone, a Droid Incredible on a CDMA network. Since then it has been bliss. Everything works for me, Exchange email, tethering, apps. I’m happy with my droid.

  20. Pardon me for sounding off-topic. The owner of the LG P500 android phone… pray, do tell where you bought it. I am looking for a GSM android phone. Already have a Droid Incredible I bought off ebay, but I would be glad if I can get it here in Nigeria.
    Cheers…

  21. @Eze Uba – A colleague of mine also saw his praise of the LG Optimus One P500, fell in love with it, and resolved to buy it. On Monday & Tuesday, we visited more than 15 shops in Abuja (including SLOT, who listed the phone on their website) but couldn’t find it. We called Slot’s Ikeja/Head office, and they confirm it had run out of stock. I sent Oluwatosin Omoniyi an email asking the same question, and he replied that he bought it at Slot. I dont know where else to find the phone in Abuja.

  22. Now u will never problem getting a nokia phone….I will visit slot in akure today and will ask if they ve but I doubt they will have it sha

  23. LG P500 appears to be the Android phone. With good price/feature ratio. Is it available in the mobilityNigeria online store?

  24. My SmartPhone is so smart that
    It gives me access to my 6emails on the go.
    It serves as my reminder and alarms
    It is my media player
    It carries my document along
    It is set to ensure i am not disturbed by night callers when am supposed to be asleep
    It changes it looks everyday
    It takes note of all my calls
    It gives me access to the internet
    It connects me with my family
    It stays with me all day(battery)
    It is 100% customizable.

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