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
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 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
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