A telephone with advanced information access features. It is a cellular telephone that provides digital voice service as well as any combination of e-mail, text messaging, pager, Web access, voice recognition, still and/or video camera, MP3, TV or video player and organizer. Smartphones are basically phones that integrate the abilities of personal digital assistants, Pocket PCs, or other similar devices. Smartphones generally run a mobile operating systems, Symbian OS, for example, and usually have the capability of creating basic text documents, sending/accessing e-mails, accessing websites, and other capabilities that vary by each phone. Newer smartphones are now being integrated with wireless network cards so that accessing a local wireless network is simple and does not require any extra devices.

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This earlier Treo model was one of the first smartphones. Introduced in 2002, it used the Palm OS for organizer applications and offered e-mail, Web browsing and cellular phone service. (Image courtesy of Palm, Inc.)

Operating Systems:

As mentioned above most phones use the Symbian OS, however other operating systems exist:
--Windows Mobile/WindowsCE
Some phones running Windows include the Motorola Nextel i930, the Audiovox SMT5600 and the Motorola MPX-220.
--Palm OS
The Handspring Treo devices and the Samsung SGH-i500 use this.
The Motorola A760 and E680 use embedded Linux.


Smartphones are becoming a great alternative to a laptop. Smartphones are especially useful for the business traveler who needs to check e-mail frequently while out of the office. Smartphones allow the user to access all of the information he or she would need at the tips of their fingers. Smartphones can support the systems GPRS, Bluetooth, SyncML, and Java.
--GPRS (General Packet Radio Service)
a packet-switched, always on connection that stays online as long as the phone is within distance of the service. It allows Symbian type phones to run applications remotely over a network. Faster protocols will soon replace this in the future.
a short range wireless radio service that can link other devices together like scanners, printers, headsets, and computers.
an open project used to elminate the compatibility issues with PIM devices. SyncML is used to sync any phone application and hardware together as long as it uses SyncML standards.
used to run thousands of Java applications, known as MIDlets, that are freely available.

6 steps to buying a smartphone

1. Do you need a smart phone or a PDA-phone? Smart phones are typically cell phones with strong organizer functions in one unit. They're most appropriate if you spend most of your time away from the office and need to sync or have access to your email and appointments.
2. Find a smart phone you like. If you've decided that a smart phone is the way to go, you can find a handset that combines the most suitable features and style for you at our Mobile Phones channel.
3. See which models your carrier is offering with a rebate. Signing a contract often entitles you to rebates and discounts for phones--find out which ones they are
4. Check third-party retailers. You also can buy phones from general electronics stores or online stores not affiliated with any carriers. Not only may prices be different, but you could find alternative models not directly sold by a network operator.
5. Alternatively, suss out the classifieds or second-hand stores. The problem with buying second-hand phones is caveat emptor, buyer beware. So do check if the store offers refunds as sometimes some phones may have hidden problems that are not apparent until you've bought and brought it home.
6. Choose a plan that suits your smart phone lifestyle. Keep in mind that if you go the smart phone route, you'll need a plan (3G or GPRS) that can accommodate the extra data required for sending email and surfing the Web.
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Security Issues:

If you are going to buy a Smartphone it is important that you understand what security issues are present and how to protect yourself. One of the problems with Smartphones is that like laptops they are susceptible to security breaches. Smartphones can have many of the same problems as computers including viruses and Bluetooth infiltration.
--Bluejacking - sending unsolicited messages to a user's phone
--Bluesnarfing - gaining unauthorized access to a user's data stored on their phone or PDA
--Bluebugging - taking control of another user's PDA or phone and dial calls
--How To Protect Yourself
- Bluetooth Infiltration - Be careful while using Bluetooth in public places. Also, be sure to turn off your Bluetooth device while it is not in use.
- Viruses - In order to protect against viruses you should purchase an anti virus program such as Semantic and Trend Micro.

Web Resources:
Symbian OS