Dr Rajiv Desai

An Educational Blog

SMARTPHONE

SMARTPHONE:

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The figure above shows transition of telephone from landline phone to smartphone.

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Prologue:

Alexander Graham Bell’s invention has come a long way since its prototype in 1876. The latest model of telephone requires no external wiring, fits in your pocket, takes dictation, and answers any question in seconds. For most of us, our compulsion to look at that little screen is so powerful that we can’t go for any more than a few minutes without checking it. Smartphones have gained so much significance in our lives that choosing one is a little like choosing a religion. Our preference for either an iPhone or an Android model seems to suggest something fundamental about who we are. Smartphone is a combination phone having computer, web browser, camera, GPS etc and therefore, if you lose your smartphone, you lose everything. There are three screens of the ‘Digital Lifestyle’ in the 21’st century; the PC, the TV and the Smartphone. With the plethora of software and services available on smartphone, it is by far the most important digital screen in life. One article suggested that using and looking at the smartphone constantly makes us use our left brain (logical, linear thinking) because that side of the brain deals with language and reading. Using the smartphone constantly can effectively keep us ‘locked’ on left brain mode for the majority of the day. This means that our brain is ‘out of balance’ and we are not allowing our right brain to engage. The right side of the brain (creativity, intuition) allows thinking “out of the box”, coming up with creative ideas, and solving problems using our intuition. That doesn’t sound good for business, entertainment, communication or health. We have to give smartphone a break. We have to show that we are not slaves of that cold rectangular piece of plastic, metal, and glass in our pocket. Few years ago, I did not know the difference between iPod, iPad and iPhone. Now I know that iPod is a portable digital media player & pocket computer, iPad is a tablet computer and iPhone is a smartphone, all three designed and marketed by Apple Inc. Now I also know that if you have latest iPhone 6, you probably won’t need iPod and iPad. That is the power of smartphone.

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Introduction to smartphones:

People are now very fond of smartphones due to the many advantages that they offer. One can have increased connectivity, immediate access to data and information, play games and do office work with this hand-held device. Smartphones are altering the world in a remarkable manner by becoming an essential commodity for young people and drastically providing options such as having a personal assistance that can help in almost all demands. Smartphones gained popularity recently; however they already have a huge influence on human behavior. For instance, people are giving their smartphones more attention than their spouses which may create cracks in their relationship.  It should be considered that it is due to Smartphone’s internet compatibility and application features that people now have boundless access to their families, friends, photos, videos, games, music, news, and basically all knowledge accumulated by humankind everywhere they go. Smartphones are changing the way people shop and bank. Some people have changed their shopping, financial and payment behavior as a result of owning a smartphone and these people are called “Smartphonatics”. These reasons show how smartphones have become an important device which people cannot leave home without. A smartphone can keep people connected with the world at their fingertips. Millions of people around the world are carrying around smartphones that keep them constantly connected to the internet.

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Smartphones with Internet access, GPS, sensors, and various applications are recently seeing explosive adoption. The Apple iPhone, Blackberry smartphones, and the Google Android phone are a few prominent examples. In a slightly more advanced capability bracket also lie mobile Internet devices (MIDs) such as the Nokia N810 and Moblin-based devices that provide a richer untethered Internet experience. With popularity, such devices also see new applications by a broader set of developers, beyond the mobile staples of personal information management and music playback. Now mobile users play games; capture, edit, annotate and upload video; handle their finances; manage their personal health and “wellness” (e.g., iPhone Heart Monitor and Diamedic). However, with greater application power comes greater responsibility for the mobile execution platform: it is now important to track memory leaks and runaway processes sucking up power, to avoid or detect malicious intrusions and private data disclosure, and to manage applications with expensive tastes for high-volume data or advanced computational capabilities such as floating-point or vector operations. As smartphone technology advances, smartphones will be used in new contexts and environments. Along with wearables, smartphones will offer connected screens in the workplace and in public. User experience will be key.

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Prominent smartphones:

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Basics of phones:

Landline phone:

A telephone, or phone, is a telecommunications device that permits two or more users to conduct a conversation when they are not in the same vicinity of each other to be heard directly. A telephone converts sound, typically and most efficiently the human voice, into electronic signals suitable for transmission via cables or other transmission media over long distances, and replays such signals simultaneously in audible form to its user. The essential elements of a telephone are a microphone (transmitter) to speak into and an earphone (receiver) which reproduces the voice of the distant person. The transmitter converts the sound waves to electrical signals which are sent through the telephone network to the receiving phone. The receiving telephone converts the signals into audible sound in the receiver. A landline telephone is connected by a pair of wires to the telephone network, while a mobile phone, such as a cellular phone, is portable and communicates with the telephone network by radio transmissions. Although originally designed for simple voice communications, most modern telephones have many additional capabilities. They may be able to record spoken messages, send and receive text messages, take and display photographs or video, play music, and surf the Internet. A current trend is phones that integrate all mobile communication and computing needs; these are called smartphones.

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VoIP/IP phone:

The invention of the transistor in 1947 dramatically changed the technology used in telephone systems and in the long-distance transmission networks. With the development of electronic switching systems in the 1960s, telephony gradually evolved towards digital telephony which improved the capacity, quality, and cost of the network. The development of digital data communications method, such as the protocols used for the Internet, it became possible to digitize voice and transmit it as real-time data across computer networks, giving rise to the field of Internet Protocol (IP) telephony, also known as voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP), a term that reflects the methodology memorably. From a customer perspective, IP telephony uses a high-bandwidth Internet connection and specialized customer premises equipment to transmit telephone calls via the Internet, or any modern private data network. The customer equipment may be an analog telephone adapter (ATA) which interfaces a conventional analog telephone to the IP networking equipment, or it may be an IP phone that has the networking and interface technology built into the desk-top set and provides the traditional, familiar parts of a telephone, the handset, the dial or keypad, and a ringer in a package that usually resembles a standard telephone set. A VoIP phone or IP Phone uses Voice over IP (Voice over Internet Protocol – VoIP) technologies for placing and transmitting telephone calls over an IP network, such as the Internet, instead of the traditional public switched telephone network (PSTN).

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Cell phone:

The Cell Phone(CP) also known as mobile phone/mobile/cell/hand phone/wireless phone etc is defined as a mobile electronic device which is used in voice/data communication within a specific geographical network area known as CELL, which are interconnected to increase coverage area to a very long distance.  CP is basically a sophisticated Radio which emits radio waves which is a part of the spectrum of Electromagnetic Waves.

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Hybrid phone:
Hybrid systems merge analog, digital and VoIP telephony into a single transparent experience for the user. Connecting the outside world to your internal phone network typically involves specialized wiring and equipment, and forces a choice between traditional telephony and VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol). Hybrid phone systems utilize sophisticated signal management codecs to route any kind of call technology to any other kind.

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Camera phone:

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A camera phone is a mobile phone which is able to capture photographs. Most camera phones also record video. Most cameras, and most mobile phones, are camera phones. Images are usually saved in the JPEG file format. The camera phone solution allows instant sharing of pictures. As it’s automatic and instant, the user does not have to use a cable or removable media to connect to a personal computer. The principal advantages of camera phones are cost and compactness; indeed for a user who carries a mobile phone anyway, the additional size and cost are negligible. Smartphones that are camera phones may run mobile applications to add capabilities such as geotagging and image stitching. A few high end phones can use their touch screen to direct their camera to focus on a particular object in the field of view, giving even an inexperienced user a degree of focus control exceeded only by seasoned photographers using manual focus. However, the touch screen, being a general purpose control, lacks the agility of a separate camera’s dedicated buttons and dial(s). Some camera phones use CMOS image sensors, due to largely reduced power consumption compared to CCD type cameras, which are also used, but not in today camera phones. Some today camera phones even use more expensive Back Side Illuminated CMOS which use energy lesser than CMOS, although more expensive than CMOS and CCD. Camera phones can share pictures almost instantly and automatically via a sharing infrastructure integrated with the carrier network. The resulting technologies, Multimedia Messaging Service (MMS) and Sha-Mail were developed parallel to and in competition to open Internet based mobile communication provided by GPRS and later 3G networks. Modern smartphones have more connectivity and transfer options with photograph attachment features.

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Videophone:

A videophone is a telephone with a video display, capable of simultaneous video and audio for communication between people in real-time. Videophone service provided the first form of videotelephony, later to be followed by videoconferencing, webcams, and finally high-definition telepresence. In the present day videophones have become widely available at reasonable cost, although not widely used in everyday communications for a variety of reasons. However, they are particularly useful to the deaf and speech-impaired who can use them with sign language, and are becoming increasingly popular for educational instruction, telemedicine and to those with mobility issues. Videophone calls (video-calls or video-chat) differ from videoconferencing in that they expect to serve individuals, not groups. However that distinction has become increasingly blurred with technology improvements such as increased bandwidth and sophisticated software clients that can allow for multiple parties on a call. In general everyday usage the term videoconferencing is now frequently used instead of video-call for point-to-point calls between two units. Both videophone calls and videoconferencing are also now commonly referred to as a video-link. Today the principles, if not the precise mechanisms of a videophone are employed by many users worldwide in the form of webcam videocalls using personal computers, with inexpensive webcams, microphones and free videocalling Web client programs.  The widest deployment of video telephony now occurs in mobile phones, as nearly all mobile phones supporting UMTS networks can work as videophones using their internal cameras, and are able to make video calls wirelessly to other UMTS users in the same country or internationally. The Universal Mobile Telecommunications System (UMTS) is a third generation (3G) mobile cellular system for networks based on the GSM standard.

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The figure below depicts video call on videophone:

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Smartphone is a type of mobile phone:

A mobile phone (also known as a cellular phone or cell phone) is a phone that can make and receive telephone calls over a radio link while moving around a wide geographic area. It does so by connecting to a cellular network provided by a mobile phone operator, allowing access to the public telephone network. A mobile phone is more frequently called a cellular phone or cell-phone. These communication devices connect to a wireless communications network through radio waves or satellite transmissions. In addition to telephony, modern mobile phones also support a wide variety of other services such as text messaging, MMS, email, Internet access, short-range wireless communications (infrared, Bluetooth), business applications, gaming, and photography. Mobile phones that offer these and more general computing capabilities are referred to as smartphones.

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Smartphone:

A smartphone is a cell phone that is based on a mobile operating system (OS). Smartphones typically include the features of a phone with those of another popular consumer device, such as a personal digital assistant, a digital camera, a media player or a GPS navigation unit. Later smartphones include all of those plus a touchscreen interface, broadband internet, web browsing, Wi-Fi, 3rd-party apps, motion sensors and mobile payment mechanisms. It comes equipped with applications and is set up for Internet access. Browsing the Internet or using one of the many applications available to do things such as track a run or check the weather is made simple. Smartphones come equipped with everything that a standard cellular phone has, such as voice service and text-messaging capabilities. There are many advantages to having a smartphone. Most come equipped with a GPS and combine the features of a personal digital assistant (PDA). Smartphones give you instant access to the Internet to stay on top of your email, watch a video or search for a place to eat. Plus, it is still a cell phone, so you are able to make and receive calls as normal. Once you define smartphone and understand the benefits, you want to know any drawbacks of this device. While smartphones offer many advantages, there are some downsides. Almost all cell phone companies require that you have a data package with a smartphone. This increases your monthly bill. When you use applications and the Internet on your phone, your battery life is relatively short. Also, some people who are used to using keys have a hard time adjusting to a touchscreen, especially for texting. Smartphones have come down in price over the past few years since they have grown in popularity. Many contract cell phone companies offer reduced rates on various models with the agreement to a two-year contract. Even prepaid services offer low-cost options for smartphones. Smartphones are a great advancement in technology. They combine many features and products into a simple device, making them a convenient option for almost everyone. In between simple mobile phones and smartphones, there is a third category of device – the feature phone. While smartphones have all the features of standard phones, run a complex OS and have a huge library of apps available, feature phones mimic the abilities of smartphones in a more limited way, offering built-in apps for email, web browsing and social networking but not allowing the user to add extra apps to his device. Ironically, the least spectacular thing about a smartphone is the phone. A smartphone can cut in and out and drop calls like an ordinary cellphone, and the more users within the cell tower’s reach, the more likely interruptions will occur.

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Smartphone is a mobile phone that operates on an operating system, similar to a mini computer. Smartphones are basically that – a mini computer. Smartphones offer a variety of features that allows advanced computing capability and connectivity. They offer a variety of features such as calling capabilities, computing capabilities, video conferencing, online surfing, cameras, media players, GPS navigation units, etc. Any mobile phone that lets you do the work of a computer is considered as a smartphone. Smartphone are powered by operating systems such as Android, iOS, Windows Mobile, etc.  The term ‘smartphone’ was introduced into the market by Ericsson in 1997, when it used the word to describe its GS 88 ‘Penelope’ concept as a smartphone. There is no clear distinction that decides which phones are smartphone and which phones are not. However, with the increasing technology and offerings in a phone, the category has expanded to include all the new features that are currently available in the market.

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Jubien (2013) defined the smartphone as a handheld computing device that has the ability to perform functions such as telephone calling, cellular and wireless internet connecting and downloading, installing and running applications. “These technologies and new forms of mobile communication and collaboration have been widely adopted by young people and integrated into their everyday lives” (Milrad & Spikol, 2007). According to The World report ninety percent of the world population has access to mobile technologies and networks (Gedik, Hanci-Karademirci, Kursun, & Cagitay, 2012). As a result the smartphone is a steadily emerging technological tool that is being utilized in educational environments to support and enhance the learning process (Clough, Jones, McAndrew, & Scanlon, 2007). “The rapid proliferation of mobile phones among students is generating a novel platform for the development of technology-supported learning experiences” (Echeverria, et al., 2011). The smartphones’ ability to shift between a multitude of built-in and downloaded applications and functions allow it to be a versatile educational tool (Jubien, 2013).

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A smartphone is a mobile phone with highly advanced features. A typical smartphone has a high-resolution touch screen display, WiFi connectivity, Web browsing capabilities, and the ability to accept sophisticated applications. The majority of these devices run on any of these popular mobile operating systems: Android, Symbian, iOS, BlackBerry OS and Windows Mobile. A smartphone is expected to have a more powerful CPU, more storage space, more RAM, greater connectivity options and larger screen than a regular cell phone. High-end smartphones now run on processors with high processing speeds coupled with low power consumptions. That means, they’ll allow you to play 3D games, browse the Web, update your Facebook account, call, and text much longer than you used to. In addition to the features mentioned earlier, smartphones are also equipped with innovative sensors like accelerometers or even gyrscopes. Accelerometers are responsible for displaying screens in portrait and landscape mode, while gyroscopes make it possible for games to support motion-based navigation.  The earliest touch screen smartphones used resistive touchscreen displays, which required the use of slender pointing objects known as styli (or stylus in singular form). Most of the later models however, like the iPhone and most Android phones, employ capacitive displays, which feature multi-touch finger gestures.

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Smartphone is a combination of cell phone and handheld computer that created the greatest tech revolution since the Internet. A smartphone can do everything a personal computer can do, and because of its GPS, much more. Although screen size is a limitation, increasingly better voice recognition eliminates most typing, and text and video are easy to read and watch, especially on large screens (Galaxy S, Note, iPhone 6+, etc.). A smartphone combines cellular telephone, Internet access for e-mail and Web, music and movie player, camera and camcorder, GPS navigation system and a voice search for asking a question about anything. A smartphone is much more personal than a personal computer, because it is with you all the time when traveling and nearby if you use it as your main phone.

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Defining a smartphone by functionality:

One definition of the smartphone largely defines it by the combination of other features with phone capability into a single multifunction device. Early smartphones were primarily personal digital assistants with phone capabilities. As smartphones evolved, more functionality like Internet access or media storage and playback capabilities were added.

Defining a smartphone by architecture:

Another definition of a smartphone is articulated by those who believe that using a mobile operating system is the core of what the smartphone is. In this case, any phone using an operating system like iOS or Android that runs apps qualifies as a smartphone. However, many smaller phones now also use mobile operating systems. These devices would not usually be considered as full-fledged smartphones, as most smartphones have a high-performance computing architecture in comparison to other mobile devices.

Defining a smartphone by physical features:

The defining feature of the modern smartphone is almost certainly the touchscreen. Touch-sensitive screens allow the smartphone to offer up an endless variety of interfaces to the user and open up the phone’s surface to display images and information over almost the entire area. Earlier smartphones might have used stylus devices or other forms of navigation to achieve the same effect. Very early smartphones are more likely to have integrated a physical keyboard of some kind, though many modern phones still include them as well. A smartphone is also usually somewhat larger than other phones to permit a large display.

Understanding smartphone-like devices:

As the smartphone class has evolved, devices both smaller and larger have taken on smartphone features. Smaller phones with touchscreens and slideout keyboards and even some flip phones use mobile operating systems and run some apps. The line between these devices and “true” smartphones is usually based on processing power and interface features. On the other end of the spectrum, some tablets or “phablets” integrate tablet computing with phone features. Many consider these devices too large to qualify as phones, while others would classify them as simply very large smartphones.

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Cell phone vs. feature phone vs. smartphone:

The simplest way to tell a cell phone apart from a smartphone is to determine whether or not the device has a mobile operating system.  A smartphone gives its owner access to just about every kind of data usage he or she might desire. It is, in essence, a pocket computer which may even be able to read documents attached to email. Traditionally, the cell phone was clearly differentiated by its lack of a mobile operating system. That is to say, a smartphone has inside it something similar to what runs a home or office computer, just much smaller and designed to take more bumps. A mobile operating system is much like what’s powering your personal computer at home or at work. In the mobile world, though, the software goes by different names. While cell phones don’t have operating systems at all, smartphones can be powered by:

•Windows Mobile

•iPhone OS(iOS)

•Google’s Android

•Symbian OS

•RIM’s BlackBerry

•Palm’s WebOS

•Linux

Of these, Linux is the only one which is also used to operate full scale computing systems.

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Having an operating system similar to a computer allows smartphones to accomplish some functions that are unique to them:

•Reading documents attached to email

•Synching to home or office servers

•Showing streaming video

•Using GPS to locate and navigate

Having an operating system also requires that a smartphone must have a full keyboard to allow for user input. The keyboard may be a small physical keyboard that slides out or is otherwise attached to the screen. Alternatively, it may be a virtual keyboard on a touchscreen, where the user taps on the image of keys.

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Feature phone:

Feature phone is a bridge between cell phone and smartphone. Smartphones have larger displays and faster processors than so-called feature phones. Where the definition of a cell phone becomes tricky is in distinguishing between the stripped down models offered for users who truly want a phone with the most limited functions and the stuffed feature phones created for people who really want a smartphone but can’t bring themselves to buy one yet. Feature phone is a category of mobile phones that have minimal features and are moderately priced. These phones are aimed at customers that want a medium range phone that is not overly priced and also offers some of the features of a smartphone. A feature phone has more functions than a basic phone but less features than a smartphone. It can be considered that feature phones offer functions that are required and can be important in daily life. However, with the constant rise in technology a feature phone will have more advance capabilities than the feature phones that were available a couple of years back. The constant evolution of technology ensures that feature phone category is open and expanding, with new devices that are being added to the category. Feature phones can also be marketed under various other terms such as: smartphone lite, smartphone (by certain people such as Bell Mobility) and low-end smartphone.

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A feature phone is a class of mobile phone; the term is typically used as a retronym to describe low-end mobile phones which are limited in capabilities in contrast to a modern smartphone. Feature phones typically provide voice calling and text messaging functionality, in addition to basic multimedia and internet capabilities, and other services offered by the user’s wireless service provider. In an effort to provide parity with smartphones, modern feature phones have also incorporated support for 3G connectivity, touchscreens, and access to popular social networking services. However, their functionality and support for third-party software is still relatively limited in comparison to smartphones—as a result of this contrast, some feature phones are also referred to as dumb phones. Feature phones are marketed as a lower-cost alternative to smartphones, especially in emerging markets. However, even in these markets, manufacturers have, in recent years, begun to produce and sell low-cost smartphones in an effort to tap into markets where adoption of high-end smartphones has been low. In 2011, feature phones accounted for 60 percent of the mobile telephones in the United States and 70 percent of mobile phones sold worldwide. Smartphones accounted for 51.8 percent of mobile phone sales in the second quarter of 2013, resulting in smartphone sales surpassing feature phone sales for the first time. Hence, since 2015, feature phones have been completely relegated to ultra low end category.

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Here is a brief summary of what you can expect from a cell phone, a feature phone, and a smartphone:

Features Cell Phone Feature Phone Smartphone
Local and Long Distance Calling Yes Yes Yes
Camera Most Yes, often both still and video Yes
Text Messaging Most Yes Yes
Photo Transfer Capability Some Yes Yes
Email No Yes Yes
Internet Access No Yes Yes
Wi-Fi Capability No Some Yes
Music Player No Some Yes
GPS Navigation No Some Yes
Access to Apps for Social Networking, Travel Planning, and Games No Some Yes
Headphone Jack No Some Yes
Status Symbol Never Never Some

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Non-smartphones (dumb phones):

Smartphones have become a prominent component in our daily lives. It has become a huge part in who we are and how we live. Smartphones are also the top one thing on many people’s list of things they cannot live without. Smartphones weren’t always the smartphone we have now. They have gradually changed and evolved from the once landlines, basic phones that would allow us to make calls to a phone that allows to do almost everything. The popularity of these technologically advanced phones has earned them their own category known as smartphones. Any phone that doesn’t belong in this category is dubbed as s non-smartphone. A non-smartphone is a phone that does not belong in the smartphone category, which basically means that it does not have an operating system, computing capabilities, GPS, syncing capabilities, video conferencing, etc. A non-smartphone can also be a basic or a feature phone. A basic phone is any phone that allows the user basic features such as sending/receive calls and texts. A feature phone is a budget phone; it is a phone that has cut down on many features of a smartphone to offer a budgeted counterpart of the phone. A non-smartphone can also offer internet connectivity and browsing capability, but it is usually limited. A non-smartphone is a broad category that incorporates any other phones that are not smartphones. The popularity of smartphones has also increased the cost of using cell phones in many countries. Purchasing a smartphone in many countries requires people purchasing a data plan compulsory. This requires people shell money on a data plan, even if they do not require it or use it. A lot of people that do not require a cell phone for anything other than making/receiving calls or text are now opting for non-smartphones as a money saving option.

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Basic Features of a Smartphone:

When it comes to the basic features smart phones most phones have the same core functionality. This would be the ability to act as a communication device, a multimedia device, and a mini application operating platform.  One of the first basic features of a smart phone is that it has the ability to not only made and receive phone calls, text messages, and voicemail, but that it also had the ability to access the Internet. Most smart phones have a built-in browser, which is proprietary to the maker of the phone. However, recently major browsers have begun to develop versions of their software which will run on smart phone operating systems. This allows the user to choose what Internet browser they are most comfortable with. All cell phones can send and receive text messages, but what sets a smartphone apart is its handling of e-mail. A smartphone can sync with your personal and, most likely, your professional e-mail account. Some smartphones can support multiple e-mail accounts. Another basic feature of smart phones is the ability to access digital media. This means that the user can load music, video, and pictures onto their phone and be able to enjoy all of their media while on the go. Digital media devices have been around for many years, but with smart phones incorporating the functions of these devices, users now have less items to carry around, less expense to invest in technology, and more convenience by being able to access, share, and utilize their digital media all from one easy-to-use interface. Almost every smart phone on the market has the ability to access digital media files.  Most smart phones, even those at the lower end of the quality spectrum, incorporate some sort of audio video recording technology. On most every smartphone on the market has some type of camera built in. Most phones have voice recording functions as well. This means that a person can easily take pictures, shoot video and even record ideas and make notes to themselves while on the go. One of the biggest features of smart phones is their ability to make use of small computer programs called apps. These applications can perform a wide variety of functions for the user. Everything from looking up sport scores to displaying animated cartoons for key functions can be carried out with the use of apps. Almost all smart phones have the ability to access a repository of thousands of apps making the functionality of smart phones almost limitless. More smartphones can access the Web at higher speeds, thanks to the growth of 3G and 4G data networks, as well as the addition of Wi-Fi support to many handsets.

QWERTY Keyboard:

By definition, a smartphone includes a QWERTY keyboard. This means that the keys are laid out in the same manner they would be on your computer keyboard–not in alphabetical order on top of a numeric keypad, where you have to tap the number 1 to enter an A, B, or C. The keyboard can be hardware (physical keys that you type on) or software (on a touch screen, like you’ll find on the iPhone).

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Smartphone features:

Smartphones include several built-in applications, and countless free and paid apps are available from their respective online stores.

Primary Built-In Applications:

1. Cellular phone calls and contact list

2. Texting

3. Video calling (Apple FaceTime)

4. Web browser

5. E-mail app

6. Weather

7. Voice-activated personal assistant (see Siri, Google Voice Search and S Voice).

8. Alarm clock, stopwatch, timer

9. Calculator

10. Calendar

11. Note taker

12. Music player

13. Photo album

14. Camera (still and video)

15. GPS navigation

16. App store search

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Applications available for Download:

Following are some handy program categories out of the thousands of free and paid apps. Depending on model, some of the following may come with the phone.

1. Flashlight

2. Dictionaries, encyclopedias

3. News, weather and stock markets

4. Video calling (Skype, Tango, etc.)

5. Games and entertainment

6. E-book reader

7. Language translators

8. Retail store finders

9. Mobile tag readers

10. Converters (money, measurements)

11. Magnifying glass and mirror

12. Internet radio

13. Music identifier

14. YouTube viewer

15. Voice recorder

16. Emergency message sender

17. Compass

18. Social media sites (facebook, twitter etc)

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Superphone:

“Superphone” is used by some companies to market phones with unusually large screens and other expensive features in a smartphone.  Google coined the “superphone” nomenclature at the launch of the Nexus One. These devices are optimized from a silicon perspective, a hardware perspective and a software perspective. In general terms, a superphone has more deep access to hardware capabilities, and the hardware is a step above what you’d see in a smartphone. Screens are larger in excess of four inches. The superphone has an impressive camera, generally between five and eight megapixels, that lends itself to high-quality photo and video capturing. It has multiple microphones for noise cancellation, both for calls and video recording. Superphones have gigahertz processors. In addition to better hardware, superphones have better software. The operating system iterations including Android and iOS from Apple are adding “superfeatures” such as true multitasking and are allowing for signature experiences – a fine marriage of hardware and software. This union of hardware and software means that the better displays will allow for high-quality video and gaming experiences for not just social and casual gaming, but games that appeal to the hardcore gamer as well. And accelerometers, cameras and GPS systems built into superphones allow for amazing location-based service and augmented reality applications. In general, social applications on superphones are more integrated, and web browsing with open-source Webkit browsers is more advanced and much faster.

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Phablet:

“Phablet”, a portmanteau of the words phone and tablet, describes smartphones with larger screens. Phones with screens larger than 5.2 inches are called “phablets”. Screen size varies between 5-7 inches. Tablet is a gadget that has a touch screen interface, and usually measuring 7 to 11 inches. Phablet is a term commonly used to describe a gadget that combines the capabilities of smartphones and tablets. Phablet is usually larger than a smartphone, but smaller than a tablet.  Although larger than a smart phone, phablet tend to be smaller and thinner than the tablet, making it convenient to carry or bagged users. Phablet usually used for mobile web access and multimedia, including activities that require a large screen. In a series of Samsung Galaxy Note, phablet has special software that allows the stylus features sketches, and notes. Screen size varies between 5-7 inches. Phablet also has a feature that is owned by a smartphone such as voice calling, although the screen size of the tablet resembles. One of the traits – traits phablet, though not absolute, is a stylus pen, which can be used for sketching or writing something on phablet. In January 2013, IHS reported that 25.6 million phablet sold in 2012 and estimates that number will rise to 60.4 million units in 2013, and 146 million in 2016. In the analysis of 2013, Engadget saw a price drop screen, display increased energy efficiency, increased battery power and multimedia value change is a major factor in the popularity phablet.

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Tablets are essentially smartphones with larger screens and no built-in telephone capability (although Skype and other voice-over-Internet apps are available). Tablets may have only front-facing cameras for video calls, whereas smartphones have both front and rear cameras.

Find features which differentiate the Phablets from the Tablets:

Features Phablet Tablet
Size 5-7 inch 7 -11 inch
Optimized for mobile web and multimedia mobile web, multimedia, software, reading ebooks
Stylus Yes No
USB micro USB USB 2.0
Weight Upto 200 gms Upto 750 gms
HDMI No Yes
Battery Upto 3100 mAh upto 42 watt
 Customer base  People looking for phones with bigger screen size.  People who see Tablets as a replacement to laptops.
Popular branded models Samsung Galaxy Note, Samsung Grand, Dell Streak Ipad 2, Samsung Galaxy Tab, Micromax Funbook

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What makes a Smartphone Smart?

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Growing technologies, a wide array of apps, and clever gadgets make smartphones something of a necessity in today’s world, so it is important that you learn what makes a smartphone smart. This list of distinguishing smartphone features will illuminate what separates a smartphone from the rest of the cellular world. One of the best things about smartphones is the wide array of applications that you can use to customize, personalize, and make your smartphone more efficient, which is why you need an application processor that will make these apps available and effective. With a quality application processor, such as Qualcomm’s Snapdragon or the Nvidia Tegra, you can find several different games, utilities, word processors, and anything else you would want. A quality smartphone will allow you to check the local weather with a touch of a button, read different news articles as soon as they come out, and even receive updates to your social networks in real time. In addition to a quality applications processor, a good smartphone will also contain a baseband chip that allows you to connect to the fast and powerful 3G and 4G networks. Although many regular cell phones have a less developed baseband chip, a smartphone will also allow you to connect via Bluetooth, utilize GPS functions, and connect to wireless networks near you. Most smartphones can easily connect, which allows for greater data transfer and communications. The baseband chip is paramount if you want to download attachments from your email on the go, connect your apps to the Internet, and stream videos and music online. Although smartphones don’t have an operating system that is equivalent to that of a desktop or laptop, every smartphone has a fast and powerful operating system that allows you to do nearly everything that you can do on a laptop. A quality operating system will allow you to play games online without much of a delay, access the Internet in the same fashion as you would on a desktop, and even view and edit documents. For example, the Apple iPhones run on the iOS, Blackberry smartphones have the Blackberry OS, and many other devices run on Google’s Android OS. New updates and technologies continually improve these operating systems, where the more powerful the operating system, the more powerful and fast your app will run. Older cell phones and PDA devices didn’t have quality Internet access. Cell phones were mainly used for simple calling and text messaging, while smartphones will allow you to seamlessly browse the Web wherever you have Internet access. Additionally, because of the high resolution and crystal clear display quality, the Internet will look just as good as it would on a desktop or laptop, just smaller. You will be able to check your email, update your Facebook or Twitter, shop, or simply browse on virtually any smartphone. This feature is especially important, as you can access maps when you are lost or look up any bit of information that’s available on the Web. Many smartphones can take high definition pictures and videos that are comparable to that of most quality cameras. Not only will you be able to capture the most beloved moments in your life with ease, but you can also upload these photos online quickly and efficiently. Additionally, most smartphones contain large amounts of storage space, where you can store hundreds of pictures and hours of video. With the bright and colorful displays, you will be able to experience all your photos and videos in pristine quality. A good smartphone will contain at least a 5 MP camera with 720p video resolution, while high definition smartphones contain eight megapixels (MP) and 1080p video resolution. Another crucial aspect that makes a smartphone is its ability to become an mp3 player, video and movie player, and gaming device all in one. Unlike cell phones, a smartphone will have a 3.5-millimeter audio jack for headphones that allows you to listen to music while you are on the go, watch movies discreetly or in the comfort of your home, and play top quality games. Additionally, you can plug in speakers to your smartphone and play music for a whole group of people. With the good storage space that most smartphones offer, you can listen to entire playlists of music, while at the same time, if you have a call coming in, you will be instantly notified. With all the talk about smartphones these days, it is important to know what all the buzz is about. Although it is still rather difficult to know what exactly makes a smartphone smart, with this list, you can get a little insight into what makes smartphones so vastly popular. In fact, smartphones will replace most cell phones, which means that you need to know what you can expect out of your future smartphones. Whether you want a smartphone for your business or pleasure, the wide array of smartphone features will certainly make your life easier and more efficient. With the Apple iPhone 5, Samsung Galaxy S, and Blackberry smartphones, you will be able to stay connected to the Internet and all your friends and family wherever you go. In the beginning of the mobile device world, there were only cell phones, which were mostly limited to calling, and personal digital assistant (PDA) devices, which helped organize your life with to-do lists and calendars. Once PDA devices were created to connect to Wi-Fi for email access and cell phones were given text messaging services, both devices started to blend and integrate. As technology continued to grow, such as with 2G and 3G networks, different Internet applications, and music capabilities, the end result was the smartphone. Smartphones continue to grow in their efficiency and capabilities, and in the future, you can expect to see some smartphones with truly incredible features.

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The figure below depicts flow chart of telephones from landline phone to phablet:

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History of smartphone:

Devices that combined telephony and computing were first conceptualized by Theodore G. Paraskevakos in 1971 and patented in 1973, and were offered for sale beginning in 1993. He was the first to introduce the concepts of intelligence, data processing and visual display screens into telephones which gave rise to the “Smartphone.” However it did not yet have general purpose PDA (personal digital assistant) applications in a wireless device typical of smartphones. The first mobile phone to incorporate PDA features was an IBM prototype developed in 1992 and demonstrated that year at the COMDEX computer industry trade show. A refined version of the product was marketed to consumers in 1994 by BellSouth under the name Simon Personal Communicator. The Simon was the first cellular device that can be properly referred to as a “smartphone”, although it wasn’t called a smartphone in 1994.

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The Simon Personal Communicator (shown above), built by IBM, is now considered to be the world’s first smartphone. The Simon Personal Communicator had its coming-out party on Nov. 2, 1993, at a telecommunications trade show at Disney World (DIS) in Orlando. It had a screen, calendar, and could send email, making it by some measures the world’s first smartphone. The phone was not exceptionally well received when it was released. The phone was rather large and heavy, weighing half a kilogram, and was priced at the extreme high end of the market, costing $899 at launch. The model, which was only sold in the US, was not commercially successful, a victim of its size, expense, and a lack of the digital infrastructure taken for granted today, such as Wi-Fi hotspots and cellular data. By early 1995, Simon was off the market. IBM decided not to pursue the business.

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The first cell phone, on the other hand, was demonstrated 19 years before the first smartphone. Motorola employee Dr. Martin Cooper on April 3, 1973 called researcher Dr. Joel S. Engel of AT&T’s Bell Labs using a prototype from Motorola called the DynaTAC.

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In the late 1990s, many mobile phone users carried a separate dedicated PDA device, running early versions of operating systems such as Palm OS, BlackBerry OS or Windows CE/Pocket PC. These operating systems would later evolve into mobile operating systems. In 1996, Nokia released the Nokia 9000 which combined a PDA based on the GEOS V3.0 operating system from Geoworks with a digital cellular phone based on the Nokia 2110. The two devices were fixed together via a hinge in what became known as a clamshell design. When opened, the display was on the inside top surface and with a physical QWERTY keyboard on the bottom. The personal organizer provided e-mail, calendar, address book, calculator and notebook with text-based web browsing, and the ability to send and receive faxes. When the personal organizer was closed, it could be used as a digital cellular phone. In June 1999, Qualcomm released a “CDMA Digital PCS Smartphone” with integrated Palm PDA and Internet connectivity, known as the “pdQ Smartphone”. In early 2000, the Ericsson R380 was released by Ericsson Mobile Communications, and was the first device marketed as a “smartphone”. It combined the functions of a mobile phone and a personal digital assistant (PDA), supported limited web browsing with a resistive touchscreen utilizing a stylus. In early 2001, Palm, Inc. introduced the Kyocera 6035, which combined a PDA with a mobile phone and operated on Verizon. It also supported limited web browsing. Smartphones before Android, iOS, and Blackberry, typically ran on Symbian, which was originally developed by Psion. It was the world’s most widely used smartphone operating system until Q4 2010.

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Symbian was the most popular smartphone OS in Europe during the mid- and late 2000s. Initially, Nokia’s Symbian devices were focused on business, similar to Windows Mobile and BlackBerry devices at the time. From 2006 onwards, Nokia started producing entertainment-focused smartphones, popularized by the Nseries. In Asia, with the exception of Japan, the trend was similar to that of Europe. In 2007, Apple Inc. introduced the iPhone, one of the first mobile phones to use a multi-touch interface. The iPhone was notable for its use of a large touchscreen for direct finger input as its main means of interaction, instead of a stylus, keyboard, or keypad typical for smartphones at the time. 2008 saw the release of the first phone to use Android called the HTC Dream (also known as the T-Mobile G1). Android is an open-source platform founded by Andy Rubin and backed by Google. Although Android’s adoption was relatively slow at first, it started to gain widespread popularity in 2010, and now dominates the market. Both of these platforms led to the drop of the previous leading companies. Microsoft, for instance, started a new OS from scratch, in the form of Windows Phone, which is now the third largest OS. Nokia abandoned Symbian and partnered with Microsoft to use Windows Phone on its smartphones. Palm was bought by Hewlett-Packard, turned into webOS which became Open webOS and later sold to LG Electronics. BlackBerry also made a new system from scratch, BlackBerry 10. The capacitive touchscreen also had a knock-on effect on smartphone form factors. Before 2007 it was common for devices to have a numeric keypad or QWERTY keyboard in either a candybar or sliding form factor. However, by 2010, there were no top-tier smartphones with numeric keypads. As of 2014, BlackBerry Limited – with a 0.6% share of the market in Q4 2013 – is the sole remaining brand of high-end smartphones with physical keyboards.

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History and evolution of Touchscreen:

During the rapid rise of the computer in the second half of the twentieth century, people were always searching for the next best way to interact with them. The early days of punched cards and paper tape became too cumbersome as computers advanced and keyboards became the input device of choice. In the 1960’s, U.S. inventor Douglas Engelbart invented the computer mouse, which represented a milestone in computer interaction. The next big leap forward came in 1971 when Dr.Samuel C.Hurst invented the electronic touch screen interface. While teaching at the University of Kentucky, he was faced with the daunting task of reading a huge amount of data from a strip chart. Realizing that this work would normally take graduate students at least two months to complete, he decided to work on an easier method. What he came up with was the Elograph coordinate measuring system. It was an input tablet that could measure where the user was pressing a stylus. Hurst quickly formed the Elographics company (now Elo TouchSystems) to make and sell the device. Working furiously to develop their concept, Hurst and his team took just three years to make a proper transparent version that could sit over a screen. Four years later, in 1977, they came up with what was to become the most popular technology for touch screens today. The five-wire resistive touch screen contains transparent layers that are squeezed together by the pressure of a finger touching them. Easily translated into electrical resistive data, this modern touchscreen is durable and offers high resolution. The first touchscreen phone was launched in 1994 by IBM. The IBM Simon is also referred as the first smartphone as discussed above.

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Usage and statistics of smartphone:

Smartphones are taking over the cellphone market. Everyone has a smartphone, or so it seems. People are constantly talking on them, taking pictures, surfing the Internet and doing dozens of other things, including shopping for cars. The mobile phone market which was 4.08 billion users globally in 2012 grew in 2013 to 4.33 billion users. The mobile market grew to 4.55 billion users in 2014 and expected to grow to 4.77 billion users in 2015. The total mobile phone users are likely to reach 5.13 billion users globally by 2017. Among the mobile phone users, the percentage of Smartphone users is expected to increase drastically. There were around 1.13 billion Smartphone users in 2012. The number of Smartphone users increased in 2013 to 1.43 billion users. The number of Smartphone users is further increased to 1.75 billion users in 2014. Around 49% i.e. nearly half of the mobile phone users globally are likely to use Smartphone by 2017.

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As of January 2014:

•90% of American adults have a cell phone

•58% of American adults have a smartphone

•32% of American adults own an e-reader

•42% of American adults own a tablet computer

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Shocking facts about cell phone usage:

1. Driver reaction time is 33 percent slower when using a cell phone than when under the influence of alcohol.

2. 20 percent of U.S. teens take part in “sexting,” which is considered a felony as child pornography.

3. In America 200,000,000,000,000 (two hundred trillion) text messages are sent every single day; that is more than regular mail sent over an entire year. Of that number, the average American teenager sends 110 text messages each day.

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Smartphone usage:

In the third quarter of 2012, one billion smartphones were in use worldwide. Global smartphone sales surpassed the sales figures for features phones in early 2013. As of 2013, 65 percent U.S. mobile consumers own smartphones. The European mobile device market as of 2013 is 860 million.  In China, smartphones represented more than half of all handset shipments in the second quarter of 2012 and in 2014 there were 519.7 million smartphone users, with the number estimated to grow to 700 million by 2018. India is now the fast-growing mobile market to watch. A separate report from Emarketer states that India is poised to pass the US to become the world’s second largest smartphone market by 2016. By that time, India will have a little over 200 million active smartphone users. As of November 2011, 27% of all photographs were taken with camera-equipped smartphones.  A study conducted in September 2012 concluded that 4 out of 5 smartphone owners use the device to shop. Worldwide shipments of smartphones topped 1 billion units in 2013 (up 38% from 2012’s 725 million) while comprising a 55% share of the mobile phone market in 2013 (up from 42% in 2012).  As of the end of Q3 2014, Android was the most popular operating system, with a 84.4% market share, followed by iOS with 11.7%, Windows Phone with 2.9%, BlackBerry with 0.5% and Others with 0.6%.

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80% of all Online Adults now own a Smartphone: January 2015 report:

As in January 2015, among online adults, nearly 80 percent of people worldwide now own a smartphone while almost 50 percent have a tablet, a report from market research firm GlobalWebIndex says. The proportion of smartphone ownership has reached a new high, but it has not yet overtaken legacy ownership and usage of PCs, which is currently at 91% of all online adults. On an average, internet users now say they spend 1.85 hours online via a mobile each day, up from 1.24 hours in 2012.

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The figure below shows market share by product category of smart connected devices:

The market share of smartphone is increasing and desktop/laptop is decreasing.

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By 2020, more than six billion smartphones will be in use. Due to the affordability of smartphones and the rise of emerging markets, living standards are improving and new opportunities are being created because of these mobile devices.

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As seen in the figure below, U.S., Europe, Russia and Australia have highest mobile broadband internet penetration in the world:

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The figure below depicts a survey of 800 Irish people between the ages of 15 and 35 on their media and smartphone habits and the result is a very handy report for marketers and media brands:

A research discovered that young people from the ages of 18 to 24 exchange an average of 109.5 messages per day that totals to more than 3,200 texts per month.

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How often do you reach/check your smartphone every day?

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Technology of mobile phones:

Radio waves:

Radio waves are a type of electromagnetic radiation with wavelengths in the electromagnetic spectrum longer than infrared light. Radio waves have frequencies from 300 GHz to as low as 3 kHz, and corresponding wavelengths ranging from 1 millimeter to 100 kilometers. Like all other electromagnetic waves, they travel at the speed of light. Naturally occurring radio waves are made by lightning, or by astronomical objects. Artificially generated radio waves are used for fixed and mobile radio communication, broadcasting, radar and other navigation systems, communications satellites, computer networks and innumerable other applications. Different frequencies of radio waves have different propagation characteristics in the Earth’s atmosphere; long waves may cover a part of the Earth very consistently, shorter waves can reflect off the ionosphere and travel around the world, and much shorter wavelengths bend or reflect very little and travel on a line of sight. To prevent interference between different users, the artificial generation and use of radio waves is strictly regulated by law, coordinated by an international body called the International Telecommunications Union (ITU). The radio spectrum is divided into a number of radio bands on the basis of frequency, allocated to different uses.  “Radio waves” transmit music, conversations, pictures and data invisibly through the air, often over thousands of miles — it happens every day in thousands of different ways! Even though radio waves are invisible and completely undetectable to humans, they have totally changed society. Whether we are talking about a cell phone, a baby monitor, a cordless phone or any one of the thousands of other wireless technologies, all of them use radio waves to communicate.

Here are just a few of the everyday technologies that depend on radio waves:

•AM and FM radio broadcasts

•Cordless phones

•Garage door openers

•Wireless networks

•Radio-controlled toys

•Television broadcasts

•Cell phones

•GPS receivers

•Ham radios

•Satellite communications

•Police radios

•Wireless clocks

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A cell phone is also a radio and is a much more sophisticated device. A cell phone contains both a transmitter and a receiver, can use both of them simultaneously, can understand hundreds of different frequencies, and can automatically switch between frequencies. In its most common form, radio is used for the transmission of sounds (voice and music) and pictures (television). The sounds and images are converted into electrical signals by a microphone (sounds) or video camera (images), amplified, and used to modulate a carrier wave that has been generated by an oscillator circuit in a transmitter. The modulated carrier is also amplified, then applied to an antenna that converts the electrical signals to electromagnetic waves for radiation into space. Such waves radiate at the speed of light and are transmitted not only by line of sight but also by deflection from the ionosphere. Receiving antennas intercept part of this radiation, change it back to the form of electrical signals, and feed it to a receiver.

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CDMA (Code Division Multiple Access) and GSM (Global System for Mobiles) are shorthand for the two major radio systems used in cell phones:

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GSM (Global System for Mobile Communication) and CDMA (Code Division Multiple Access) are two dominant technologies for mobile communication. These two technologies differ in the way calls and data travel over the mobile phone networks take place. On comparing both the technologies GSM has some limitation when the call quality is concerned but still has more flexibility and an easy implementation relative to the CDMA technology. CDMA doesn’t use SIM cards (not to be confused with 4G SIM cards) and GSM uses SIM cards. CDMA stores your information on the phone, while GSM stores it on the SIM card. Therefore, if a GSM phone is unlocked, you can easily use it in any GSM carrier without having to go through the illegal hassle of unlocking. Furthermore, GSM is used in most countries. As a result, buying an unlocked GSM phones gives you more flexibility. Granted, newer CDMA phones do offer support for GSM, but the data may not work properly because of incompatible frequency signals. For example, you may not have access to 4G LTE. Again, those newer CDMA phones with GSM support will only work on the GSM carriers of other countries if they are unlocked. The major difference between the two lies in terms of the technology they use, security factors, their global reach and the data transfer speeds.

1. Technology:

The CDMA is based on spread spectrum technology which makes the optimal use of available bandwidth. It allows each user to transmit over the entire frequency spectrum all the time. On the other hand GSM operates on the wedge spectrum called a carrier. This carrier is divided into a number of time slots and each user is assigned a different time slot so that until the ongoing call is finished, no other subscriber can have access to this. GSM uses both Time Division Multiple Access (TDMA) and Frequency Division Multiple Access (FDMA) for user and cell separation. TDMA provides multiuser access by chopping up the channel into different time slices and FDMA provides multiuser access by separating the used frequencies.

2. Security:

More security is provided in CDMA technology as compared with the GSM technology as encryption is inbuilt in the CDMA. A unique code is provided to every user and all the conversation between two users are encoded ensuring a greater level of security for CDMA users. The signal cannot be detected easily in CDMA as compared to the signals of GSM, which are concentrated in the narrow bandwidth. Therefore, the CDMA phone calls are more secure than the GSM calls. In terms of encryption the GSM technology has to be upgraded so as to make it operate more securely.

3. Spectrum Frequencies:

The CDMA network operates in the frequency spectrum of CDMA 850 MHz and 1900 MHz while the GSM network operates in the frequency spectrum of GSM 850 MHz and 1900 MHz.

4. Global Reach:

GSM is in use over 80% of the world’s mobile networks in over 210 countries as compared to CDMA. CDMA is almost exclusively used in United States and some parts of Canada and Japan. As the European Union permissions GSM use, so CDMA is not supported in Europe. In North America, especially in rural areas, more coverage is offered by CDMA as compared to GSM. As GSM is an international standard, so it’s better to use GSM in international roaming. GSM is in use by 76% of users as compared to CDMA which is in use by 24% users.

5. Data Transfer Rate:

CDMA has faster data rate as compared to GSM as EVDO data transfer technology is used in CDMA which offers a maximum download speed of 2 Mbps.  EVDO ready mobile phones are required to use this technology. GSM uses EDGE data transfer technology that has a maximum download speed of 384 kbps which is slower as compared to CDMA. For browsing the web, to watch videos and to download music, CDMA is better choice as compared to GSM. So CDMA is known to cover more area with fewer towers.

6. Radiation Exposure:

GSM phones emit continuous wave pulses, so there is a large need to reduce the exposures to electromagnetic fields focused on cell phones with “continuous wave pulses”. On the other hand CDMA cell phones do not produce these pulses. GSM phones emit about 28 times more radiation on average as compared to CDMA phones. Moreover, GSM phones are more biologically reactive as compared to CDMA.

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Mobile Network Generations (wireless telephone technology generation):

G in 2G, 3G and 4G stands for the “Generation” of the mobile network. Today, mobile operators have started offering 4G services in the world. A higher number before the ‘G’ means more power to send out and receive more information and therefore the ability to achieve a higher efficiency through the wireless network. At their core, smartphones, and all cell phones for that matter, are mini radios, sending and receiving radio signals. Cell phone networks are divided into specific areas called Cells. Each cell has an antenna that receives cell phone signals. The antenna transmits signals just like a radio station, and your phone picks up those signals just as a radio does. Smartphones use cell phone network technology to send and receive data (phone calls, Web browsing, file transfers). Developers classify this technology into generations. First generation is analog cell phone technology. However, as cell phone technology progressed, the protocols became more advanced. In 2015, cell phones are in the world of the fourth generation, or 4G. Although most carriers are expanding their 4G technology, some companies, such as Samsung, are developing 5G technology, which if recent tests are any indication, will allow you to download an entire movie in less than a second.

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Mobile broadband is the marketing term for wireless Internet access through a portable modem, mobile phone, USB wireless modem, tablet or other mobile devices. The first wireless Internet access became available in 1991 as part of the second generation (2G) of mobile phone technology. Higher speeds became available in 2001 and 2006 as part of the third (3G) and fourth (4G) generations. In 2011, 90% of the world’s population lived in areas with 2G coverage, while 45% lived in areas with 2G and 3G coverage. Mobile broadband uses the spectrum of 225 MHz to 3700 MHz.

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0 G:

0 G refers to pre-cellphone mobile telephony technology, such as radio telephones that some had in cars before the advent of cellphones.

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0 G phone:

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1G:

1G (or 1-G) is short for first-generation wireless telephone technology, cellphones. These are the analog cellphone standards that were introduced in the 80’s and continued until being replaced by 2G digital cellphones. The main difference between the two mobile telephone systems (1G and 2G), is that the radio signals used by 1G networks are analog, while 2G networks are digital. 1G was the first generation of mobile networks. Here basically, radio signals were transmitted in ‘Analogue’ form and expectedly, one was not able to do much other than sending text messaging and making calls. But the biggest disadvantage, however came in the form of limited network availability, as in the network was available only within the country. Although both systems use digital signaling to connect the radio towers (which listen to the handsets) to the rest of the telephone system, the voice itself during a call is encoded to digital signals in 2G whereas 1G is only modulated to higher frequency, typically 150 MHz and up. The inherent advantages of digital technology over that of analog meant that 2G networks eventually replaced them almost everywhere.

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1 G phone:

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2 G:

2 G (or 2-G) is short for second-generation wireless telephone technology. Second generation 2G cellular telecom networks were commercially launched on the GSM standard in Finland by Radiolinja (now part of Elisa Oyj) in 1991.The 2G phone systems use the Digital Technology for communication. This means the transmission and reception of the signal is digital (bits), voice communications are digitally encrypted. It means greater privacy, efficient data transfer without noise and also less expensive devices. All text messages sent over 2G are digitally encrypted, allowing for the transfer of data in such a way that only the intended receiver can receive and read it. The other advantage of the 2G network came in the form of Semi Global Roaming System, which enabled the connectivity all over the world. It cannot normally transfer data, such as email or software, other than the digital voice call itself, and other basic ancillary data such as time and date.Similar to its predecessor 1G the devices work in Full Duplex mode. Due to the Digital technology 2G allowed Data Services (GPRS) and also introduced Short Messaging Service (SMS), Prepaid Service. Many other features like EDGE (Enhanced Data Rates for GSM Evolution) or EGPRS (Enhanced GPRS), WAP – Wireless Application Protocol, MMS – Multimedia Messaging Service were introduced with the two revisions 2.5G & 2.75G. This generation shares a major part in the global market till today. It means many cell phone users still use this technology.

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2 G phone:

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2.5 G:

2.5G is a stepping stone between 2G and 3G cellular wireless technologies. Between 2G and 3G there was a short phase in between where mobile phones became sleeker and more ‘pocketable’ if we can call it that.  This is popularly referred to as 2.5 G where the quantity of radio waves to be transmitted was much lower. This in turn had an effect on the shape and structure of mobile phones. But most of all, 2.5 G helped in the ushering of GPRS (General Pocket Radio Service).  The term “second and a half generation” is used to describe 2G-systems that have implemented a packet switched domain in addition to the circuit switched domain. It does not necessarily provide faster services because bundling of timeslots is used for circuit switched data services (HSCSD) as well. While the terms “2 G” and “3 G” are officially defined, “2.5 G” is not. It was invented for marketing purposes only. 2.5 G provides some of the benefits of 3 G (e.g. it is packet-switched) and can use some of the existing 2G infrastructure in GSM and CDMA networks. The commonly known 2.5 G technique is GPRS. Some protocols, such as EDGE for GSM and CDMA2000 1x-RTT for CDMA, officially qualify as “3G” services (because they have a data rate of above 144kbps), but are considered by most to be 2.5 G services (or 2.75 G which sounds even more sophisticated) because they are several times slower than “true” 3G services.

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Overview of 3 G communication:

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3 G is the third generation of mobile phone systems. The 3rd generation of mobile networks has become popular largely thanks to the ability of users to access the Internet over devices like mobiles and tablets. The speed of data transmission on a 3G network ranges between 384 kbps to 2 Mbps. This means a 3G network actually allows for more data transmission and therefore the network enables voice and video calling, file transmission, internet surfing, online TV, view high definition videos, play games and much more.  3G is the best option for users who need to always stay connected to Internet. They provide both a packet-switched and a circuit-switched domain from the beginning. It requires a new access network, different from that already available in 2G systems. Due to cost and complexity, rollout of 3G has been somewhat slower than anticipated.

3G Standards:

3G technologies are an answer to the International Telecommunications Union’s IMT-2000 specification. Originally, 3G was supposed to be a single, unified, worldwide standard, but in practice, the 3G world has been split into three camps.

1. UMTS (W-CDMA)

UMTS (Universal Mobile Telephone System), based on W-CDMA technology, is the solution generally preferred by countries that used GSM, centered in Europe. UMTS is managed by the 3GPP organization also responsible for GSM, GPRS and EDGE.

2. CDMA2000

The other significant 3G standard is CDMA2000, which is an outgrowth of the earlier 2G CDMA standard IS-95. CDMA2000’s primary proponents are outside the GSM zone in the Americas, Japan and Korea. CDMA2000 is managed by 3GPP2, which is separate and independent from UMTS’s 3GPP.

3. TD-SCDMA

A less well known standard is TD-SCDMA which is being developed in the People’s Republic of China by the companies Datang and Siemens. They are predicting an operational system for 2005.

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Definition of 3G by data speed:

A 3G network is a mobile broadband network, offering data speeds of at least 144 kilobits per second (Kbps). For comparison, a dial-up Internet connection on a computer typically offers speeds of about 56 Kbps. If you’ve ever sat and waited for a Web page to download over a dial-up connection, you know how slow that is. 3G networks can offers speeds of 3.1 megabits per second (Mbps) or more; that’s on par with speeds offered by cable modems. In day-to-day use, however, the actual speed of the 3G network will vary. Factors such as signal strength, your location, and network traffic all come into play.

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3 G Features include:

› Multimedia streaming & download: We can watch YouTube videos, download latest movies and watch them right in your mobile.

› High speed mobile broadband: Surfing internet at fast rate. If I had to download a 5mb file then with 2G network it may take around 5mins but with 3G network it just takes around 20 to 30seconds, that fast is this network. But this depends on the number of users accessing that network at a time.

› Download of large email attachments: We can download large files in seconds.

› Live Mobile TV: Live News, TV serials/Shows can be seen directly in our 3G phone with the help of Live streaming videos. This feature helps us while we are traveling and don’t want to miss our favorite show.

› Secure Mobile eCommerce: Making transactions on mobile like buying and selling stuffs, Mobile Banking.

› Mobile Gaming: Game freak guys can play multi player games on this network.

› Location-Based Services: We can utilize this feature for Navigation, Tracking, Maps.

› Video calling: You can have a live video conferencing with your loved ones, official purpose. To support this feature the network should have high bandwidth and 3G network has it.

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Pros & Cons of 3G:

The advantages include the features mentioned above and in addition to that the 3G enabled devices can also be used as the Data Cards for Laptops to access the Internet with a broadband experience.

The drawbacks are –

1. To support the 3G technology the Network operator should upgrade the whole base station since the bandwidth required for 3G is more. So it fetches lot of investment from the operator side

2. Cell Phone users have to pay more to buy a 3G enabled phone.

3. Power consumption increases.

4. Voice quality remains same as 2G.

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The figure below shows transition from 1G technology to 3G technology:

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3.5 G:

High-Speed Downlink Packet Access or HSDPA is a mobile telephony protocol. It is also called 3.5G (or 3½ G). High Speed Downlink Packet Access (HSDPA) is a packet-based data service in W-CDMA downlink with data transmission up to 8-10 Mbps (and 20 Mbps for MIMO systems) over a 5MHz bandwidth in WCDMA downlink. HSDPA implementations includes Adaptive Modulation and Coding (AMC), Multiple-Input Multiple-Output (MIMO), Hybrid Automatic Request (HARQ), fast cell search, and advanced receiver design.

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4 G:

4 G (or 4-G) is short for fourth-generation the successor of 3G and is a wireless access technology. 4th Generation mobile networks are believed to provide many value added features. In addition to all the 3G facilities, data transmission is believed to go through the roof with speeds ranging between 100 Mbps to 1 Gbps… Happy talking, surfing, conferencing, chatting, networking, partying, or whatever you want to do on your mobile phone. It describes two different but overlapping ideas.

1. High-speed mobile wireless access with a very high data transmission speed, of the same order of magnitude as a local area network connection (10 Mbps and up). It has been used to describe wireless LAN technologies like Wi-Fi, as well as other potential successors of the current 3G mobile telephone standards.

2. Pervasive networks. An amorphous and presently entirely hypothetical concept where the user can be simultaneously connected to several wireless access technologies and can seamlessly move between them. These access technologies can be Wi-Fi, UMTS, EDGE or any other future access technology. Included in this concept is also smart-radio technology to efficiently manage spectrum use and transmission power as well as the use of mesh routing protocols to create a pervasive network.

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‘LTE’ stands for Long Term Evolution and is a type of 4G technology.  4G LTE aims to offer users faster, more reliable mobile broadband internet for devices like smartphones, tablets and laptops. Loosely speaking, 4G is around five times faster than existing 3G services. Theoretically it can provide download speeds of up to 100 Mbps but you won’t achieve this in real-world use. Unless you’ve just bought an iPhone 5, a Samsung Galaxy S3 LTE (not a regular S3) or one of the other brand new 4G-capable smartphones, your existing handset won’t work on a 4G network. 4G networks use different frequencies to transmit data than 3G so you need a handset which has a modem that supports these new frequencies.

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5 G:

5 G (5th generation mobile networks or 5th generation wireless systems) also known as Tactile Internet denotes the next major phase of mobile telecommunications standards beyond the current 4G/IMT-Advanced standards. 5G does not describe any particular specification in any official document published by any telecommunication standardization body. 5G wireless networks will support 1,000-fold gains in capacity, connections for at least 100 billion devices, and a 10 Gbps individual user experience capable of extremely low latency and response times. Deployment of these networks will emerge between 2020 and 2030. 5G radio access will be built upon both new radio access technologies (RAT) and evolved existing wireless technologies (LTE, HSPA, GSM and Wi-Fi). Breakthroughs in wireless network innovation will also drive economic and societal growth in entirely new ways. 5G will realize networks capable of providing zero-distance connectivity between people and connected machines. In Seoul, South Korea, home of the fastest Internet speeds in the world, you can download an 800 MB movie in just 40 seconds on their advanced 4G networks. In comparison, if T-Mobile adopted 5G technology in the US, for example, that time would decrease to a jaw-dropping one second for an entire movie download. In addition, 5G networks would allow users to access the Internet even while traveling at speeds of up to 300 miles per hour, almost double current capabilities.

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Samsung has already delivered impressive data speeds of 1GB per second using the technology and it has been suggested mobile users connected to a 5G network could download an entire film in just one second. If researchers at Cornell University are right, 5G will offer consumers a “seamless user experience”. The impressive speeds of the technology will put an end to impatient waits and laggy apps. We have all suffered the frustration of an out of sync video call or an online video buffer, but experts predict that these niggles will be a thing of the past when 5G launches.  Given the natural life cycle of network development, we would have expected to see 5G arrive around 2021. However, the mobile-loving South Korea government has invested $1.5bn in upgrades that should see a trial 5G network rolled out in 2017. The rest of South Korea should be connected to 5G by 2020. Karl Bode, a tech writer, suggests that 5G will not hit the United States until 2018 at the earliest, or perhaps not until the 2020 Olympic Games. It is not likely to be a mainstream service until 2025.

How will 5G work?

Multiple input multiple output (MiMo) technology is set to be a key part of these efficiency measures, according to researchers. MiMo uses several small antennae to service individual data streams. Samsung’s impressive download speeds were delivered using the technology.

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You may be wondering what these Mobile Generations are and who creates them?

The answer is International Telecommunication Union (ITU). It is a body formed by the United Nations which takes care of maintaining the Telecommunication Standards worldwide. Data is transmitted via radio waves. Radio waves are split up into bands – or ranges – of different frequencies.  Each band is reserved for a different type of communication – such as aeronautical and maritime navigation signals, television broadcasts and mobile data. The use of these frequency bands is regulated by the International Telecommunications Union (ITU). Currently, the radio frequency spectrum is a bit of a mess. As new technologies have been developed, frequencies for them to use have been squeezed into its gaps. This has caused problems with connection speeds and reliability. 5G will be a dramatic overhaul and harmonization of the radio spectrum. That means the opportunity for properly connected smart cities, remote surgery, driverless cars and the “internet of things”. So, how best to understand this joined-up, superfast, all-encompassing 5G network? It seems that the term “harmonization of the radio spectrum” is the key.

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The comparison between 1G vs. 2G vs. 3G vs. 4G vs. 5G helps analyze capabilities of each of the technologies and features that can be supported by each of them.

Generation (1G,2G,3G,4G,5G) Definition Throughput/Speed Technology Time period Features
1G Analog 14.4 Kbps (peak) AMPS,NMT,TACS 1970 – 1980 During 1G Wireless phones are used for voice only.
2G Digital Narrow band circuit data 9.6/14.4 Kbps TDMA,CDMA 1990 to 2000 2G capabilities are achieved by allowing multiple users on a single channel via multiplexing. During 2G Cellular phones are used for data also along with voice.
2.5G Packet Data 171.2 Kbps(peak)
20-40 Kbps
GPRS 2001-2004 In 2.5G the internet becomes popular and data becomes more relevant.2.5G Multimedia services and streaming starts to show growth. Phones start supporting web browsing though limited and very few phones have that.
3G Digital Broadband Packet Data 3.1 Mbps (peak)
500-700 Kbps
CDMA 2000
(1xRTT, EVDO)
UMTS, EDGE
2004-2005 3G has Multimedia services support along with streaming are more popular. In 3G, Universal access and portability across different device types are made possible. (Telephones, PDA’s, etc.)
3.5G Packet Data 14.4 Mbps (peak)
1-3 Mbps
HSPA 2006 – 2010 3.5G supports higher throughput and speeds to support higher data needs of the consumers.
4G Digital Broadband Packet
All IP
Very high throughput
100-300 Mbps (peak)
3-5 Mbps
100 Mbps (Wi-Fi)
WiMax
LTE
Wi-Fi
Now (Read more on Transitioning to 4G) Speeds for 4G are further increased to keep up with data access demand used by various services. High definition streaming is now supported in 4G. New phones with HD capabilities surface. It gets pretty cool. In 4G, Portability is increased further. World-wide roaming is not a distant dream.
5G Not Yet Probably gigabits Not Yet Soon (probably 2020)Update: Samsung conducts tests on 5G Currently there is no 5G technology deployed. When this becomes available it will provide very high speeds to the consumers. It would also provide efficient use of available bandwidth as has been seen through development of each new technology.

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Computer basic:

Smartphone is a cell phone having computer functionality. So it has a hardware, operating system and applications.

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CPU:

A central processing unit (CPU) is the electronic circuitry within a computer that carries out the instructions of a computer program by performing the basic arithmetic, logical, control and input/output (I/O) operations specified by the instructions. Traditionally, the term “CPU” refers to a processor and its control unit (CU), distinguishing these core elements of a computer from external components such as main memory and peripherals. Most modern CPUs are microprocessors, meaning they are contained on a single integrated circuit (IC) chip. Some computers have multi-core processors with two or more CPUs (which are then called “cores”) within a single chip. A phone’s processor is the brain of the device, and a fast one will enable you to open apps quickly, play games smoothly and even edit video. Today’s state-of-the-art chip for Android and Windows Phones is Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 800. (The 805 is coming soon.) This CPU offers swift multitasking and high-powered graphics in devices such as the Galaxy Note 3 and Lumia 1520.

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Smartphone Hardware bedsides CPU:

Along with processors, smartphones also have computer chips that provide functionality. Phones with cameras have high-resolution image sensors, just like digital cameras. Other chips support complex functions such as browsing the Internet, sharing multimedia files or playing music without placing too great a demand on the phone’s battery. Some manufacturers develop chips that integrate multiple functions to help reduce the overall cost (fewer chips produced per phone help offset production costs).

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RAM:

Random-access memory (RAM) is a form of computer data storage. A random-access memory device allows data items to be read and written in roughly the same amount of time regardless of the order in which data items are accessed. In contrast, with other direct-access data storage media such as hard disks, CD-RWs, DVD-RWs and the older drum memory, the time required to read and write data items varies significantly depending on their physical locations on the recording medium, due to mechanical limitations such as media rotation speeds and arm movement delays. It is faster memory compared to your permanent storage which includes your SD card internal and external. When your processor computes data it is faster to retrieve data required for processing from your RAM rather than to load it from your permanent storage which takes time. Also it is less taxing on the battery of your phone when your CPU retrieves data from RAM rather than from Storage. In addition to serving as temporary storage and working space for the operating system and applications, RAM is used in numerous other ways. The amount of system memory plays a significant role in how well a smartphone performs. Today’s flagship devices offer 2GB to 3GB of RAM, while lower-end to midrange phones get away with 1 GB to 1.5 GB.  If you want to load applications from memory faster and switch between them faster, more RAM is better.

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ROM:

Read-only memory (ROM) is a class of storage medium used in computers and other electronic devices. Pronounced rahm, acronym for read-only memory, computer memory on which data has been prerecorded. Once data has been written onto a ROM chip, it cannot be removed and can only be read. Unlike main memory (RAM), ROM retains its contents even when the computer is turned off. ROM is referred to as being nonvolatile, whereas RAM is volatile. Since the ROM is the main program on smartphone, it doesn’t want to be changed. Unlike RAM, ROM retains its data even without power, so it serves as a smartphone’s long-term storage. It has a limited ability for accepting new data, however. The earliest ROM chips, first produced in 1965, received their programming at the factory, and it was permanent. Newer generations of ROM readily receive new programming, though mainly a cellphone doesn’t write to it. Through rooting your device you can install custom ROM. Custom ROMs can offer new features over the standard ones, allowing you to tailor your device to your needs. They also allow developers to port other manufacturers’ interfaces to other device makes.

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Operating system:

An operating system (OS) is software that manages computer hardware and software resources and provides common services for computer programs. The operating system is an essential component of the system software in a computer system. Application programs usually require an operating system to function. Time-sharing operating systems schedule tasks for efficient use of the system and may also include accounting software for cost allocation of processor time, mass storage, printing, and other resources. For hardware functions such as input and output and memory allocation, the operating system acts as an intermediary between programs and the computer hardware, although the application code is usually executed directly by the hardware and will frequently make a system call to an OS function or be interrupted by it. Operating systems can be found on almost any device that contains a computer—from cellular phones and video game consoles to supercomputers and web servers.

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Smartphone Operating Systems: Mobile operating system:

The most important software in any smartphone is its operating system (OS). An operating system manages the hardware and software resources of smartphones. A mobile operating system, also referred to as mobile OS, is an operating system that operates a smartphone, tablet, PDA, or other mobile device. Modern mobile operating systems combine the features of a personal computer operating system with other features, including a touchscreen, cellular, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, GPS mobile navigation, camera, video camera, speech recognition, voice recorder, music player, near field communication and infrared blaster. Mobile devices with mobile communications capabilities (e.g. smartphones) contain two mobile operating systems – the main user-facing software platform is supplemented by a second low-level proprietary real-time operating system which operates the radio and other hardware. Designed primarily for touch-screen mobile devices, Android, or Droid, technology is the operating system that most mobile telephones used as of Comscore’s February 2014 numbers. Developed by Google, most people consider the Droid technology revolutionary because its open source technology allows people to write program codes and applications for the operating system, which means Android is evolving constantly. Smartphone users can decide whether to download the applications. Moreover, Android operating systems can run multiple applications, allowing users to be multitasking mavens. And get this: Any hardware manufacturer is free to produce its own Android phone by using the operating system. In fact, many smartphone companies do just that. Android app’s store has hundreds of thousands of apps. Apple is always innovating, and iOS (iPhone operating system) allows iPhone screens to be used simply and logically. Touted by Apple as the “world’s most advance mobile operating system,” iOS supports more access from sports scores to restaurant recommendations. Reviewers say that Windows Phone 8 (WP8) is as simple to use as iOS and as easy to customize as Android. Its crowning achievement is LiveTiles, which are programmed squares that users can rearrange on their screen to easily access the information they want. WP8 works well with other Microsoft products, including Office and Exchange. For those who do a lot of calling, connecting to Facebook and texting, WP8 may meet their needs.

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2013 Worldwide Device Shipments by Operating System   
Operating System Millions of Units
Android 878
Windows 328
iOS/Mac OS 267
BlackBerry 24
Others 803
Total 2,300

So Google’s Android dominates mobile operating system of smartphones.

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Android:

Android is an open-source platform founded in October 2003 by Andy Rubin and backed by Google, along with major hardware and software developers (such as Intel, HTC, ARM, Motorola and Samsung) that form the Open Handset Alliance. In October 2008, HTC released the HTC Dream, the first phone to use Android. The software suite included on the phone consists of integration with Google’s proprietary applications, such as Maps, Calendar, and Gmail, and a full HTML web browser. Android supports the execution of native applications and third-party apps which are available via Google Play, which launched in October 2008 as Android Market. By Q4 2010, Android became the best-selling smartphone platform. Android is an open source, free, Linux-based operating system for smartphones and tablets. Android is a open source software, which means that it is free of cost and can be used, modified and re-sold. This is one of the reasons for its massive popularity, it allowed users to create and change any and all of Androids codes and settings trying to create the perfect OS. Android also has a large community of developers that constantly write applications and codes for the system. Another popular feature of Android is the number of apps and the Google Play. Google Play, formerly known as the Android Market is an application distribution platform, where developers publish applications for the many Android users. The applications are also developed by an open community and many of them are free for downloading through Google Play. Android is also popular because of constant and frequents updates that are available by Google. Google releases major updates every six to nine months, with minor updates much faster. The most recent major Android update was Lollipop 5.0, which was released on June 2014.

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Android’s user interface:

Notifications are accessed by sliding from the top of the display; individual notifications can be dismissed by sliding them away, and may contain additional functions (such as on the “missed call” notification seen here). Android’s default user interface is based on direct manipulation, using touch inputs, that loosely correspond to real-world actions, like swiping, tapping, pinching, and reverse pinching to manipulate on-screen objects, and a virtual keyboard. The response to user input is designed to be immediate and provides a fluid touch interface, often using the vibration capabilities of the device to provide haptic feedback to the user

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Android applications:
Android has a growing selection of third-party applications, which can be acquired by users by downloading and installing the application’s APK file, or by downloading them using an application store program that allows users to install, update, and remove applications from their devices. Google Play Store is the primary application store installed on Android devices that comply with Google’s compatibility requirements and license the Google Mobile Services software. Google Play Store allows users to browse, download and update applications published by Google and third-party developers; As of July 2013, there are more than one million applications available for Android in Play Store and 50 billion applications were installed from it on smartphones worldwide. Some carriers offer direct carrier billing for Google Play application purchases, where the cost of the application is added to the user’s monthly bill.  Due to the open nature of Android, a number of third-party application marketplace also exist for Android, either to provide a substitute for devices that are not allowed to ship with Google Play Store, provide applications that cannot be offered on Google Play Store due to policy violations, or for other reasons. Examples of these third-party stores have included the Amazon Appstore, GetJar, and SlideMe. F-Droid, another alternative marketplace, seeks to only provide applications that are distributed under free and open source licenses.

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iOS:

In 2007, Apple Inc. introduced the iPhone, one of the first mobile phones to use a multi-touch interface. The iPhone was notable for its use of a large touchscreen for direct finger input as its main means of interaction, instead of a stylus, keyboard, or keypad as typical for smartphones at the time. In July 2008, Apple introduced its second generation iPhone with a much lower list price and 3G support. Simultaneously, they introduced the App Store, which allowed any iPhone to install third-party native applications. Featuring over 500 applications at launch, the App Store eventually achieved 1 billion downloads in the first year, and 15 billion by 2011.

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Windows Phone:

In February 2010, Microsoft unveiled Windows Phone 7 with a User Interface inspired by Microsoft’s “Metro Design Language”, to replace Windows Mobile. Windows Phone 7 integrates with Microsoft services such as Microsoft SkyDrive, Office, Xbox and Bing, as well as non-Microsoft services such as Facebook, Twitter and Google accounts. This software platform runs the Microsoft Mobile smartphones, and has received some positive reception from the technology press and been praised for its uniqueness and differentiation.

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Firefox OS:

Firefox OS (originally called the boot to gecko project) was demonstrated by Mozilla in February 2012. It was designed to have a complete community based alternative system for mobile devices, using open standards and HTML5 applications. The first commercially available Firefox OS phones were ZTE Open and Alcatel One Touch Fire. As of 2014 more companies have partnered with Mozilla including Panasonic (which is making a smart TV with Firefox OS) and Sony.

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Tizen:

Tizen is a Linux-based operating system for devices, including smartphones, tablets, in-vehicle infotainment (IVI) devices, smart TVs, laptops and smart cameras. Tizen is a project within the Linux Foundation and is governed by a Technical Steering Group (TSG) composed of Samsung and Intel among others. In April 2014, Samsung released the Samsung Gear 2 and the Gear 2 Neo, running Tizen.

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BlackBerry:

In 1999, RIM released its first BlackBerry devices, providing secure real-time push-email communications on wireless devices. Services such as BlackBerry Messenger provide the integration of all communications into a single inbox. There are 80 million active BlackBerry service subscribers and the 200 millionth BlackBerry smartphone was shipped in September 2012. Most recently, RIM has undergone a platform transition, changing its name to BlackBerry and making new devices on a new platform named “BlackBerry 10.”

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Symbian:

Symbian was originally developed by Psion as EPOC32. It was the world’s most widely used smartphone operating system until Q4 2010, though the platform never gained popularity or widespread awareness in the U.S., as it did in Europe and Asia. The first Symbian phone, the touchscreen Ericsson R380 Smartphone, was released in 2000, and was the first device marketed as a “smartphone”. It combined a PDA with a mobile phone. In February 2011, Nokia announced that it would replace Symbian with Windows Phone as the operating system on all of its future smartphones, with the platform getting abandoned throughout the following few years.

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Android, iOS and windows phone operating system comparison:

Feature Android from Google iOS from Apple Windows Phone from Microsoft
Affordability 1st 3rd 2nd
Interface 1st 1st 1st
Apps 2nd 1st 3rd
App stores 2nd 1st 3rd
Alt app stores 1st 2nd 3rd
Battery life 1st 2nd 3rd
Updates 3rd 1st 2nd
Customizability 1st 3rd 2nd
Rooting 1st 2nd 3rd
Calls & messaging 1st 1st 1st
Email 1st 1st 1st
Peripherals 2nd 1st 3rd
Cloud services 1s 3rd 2nd
Photo Backup 1st 3rd 2nd
Voice assistants 2nd 3rd 1st
Connectivity 1st 1st 1st
Security 3rd 1st 2nd
Maps 1st 3rd 2nd
Camera 2nd 1st 3rd
Simplicity 1st 1st 1st

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There are four keys areas that differentiate the iPhone and Android phones:

1. Operating System:

One of the most important things that sets these types of smartphones apart is the operating system that they run. The operating system, or OS, is the foundational software that makes the phone work. The iPhone runs the iOS, while Android phones run the Android operating system. While all OSes do basically the same things, the iPhone and Android OSes aren’t the same and aren’t compatible. The iOS only runs on Apple devices, while the Android OS runs on Android phones and tablets.

2. Manufacturers:

Another major differentiator between the two is what companies make them. The iPhone is only made by Apple, while Android isn’t tied to a single manufacturer. Instead, Android phones are made by many different companies, including Motorola, HTC, Samsung, and Google. Any company that makes an agreement with Google, who created and owns the Android OS, can make an Android phone, while no company but Apple makes the iPhone.

3. Apps:

Both iOS and Android run apps, but their apps are not compatible with each other. While the same app may be available for both kinds of phone, you’ll need to get the version of the app designed for your operating system in order for it to work. There are more apps available for Android than for the iPhone, though according to some reports, tens of thousands of the apps in Google’s app store (called Google Play) are malware, don’t do what they say, or are low quality.

4. Security:

As smartphones become more and more central to our lives, how secure there are is an increasingly important issue. On this front, the two smartphone platforms are very different. Android is designed to be more interoperable and available on more devices; the downside of this is that it security is weaker. The amount of viruses and malware targeting iPhone is so small as to be unmeasurable, whereas 97% of the malware targeting smartphones attacks Android. Apple’s tight control of its platform, and some smart OS-design decisions, make iPhone the most secure mobile platform.

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The Differences between iPhone And Android Users:

As Business Insider’s Jim Edwards often points out, there’s a difference between “iPhone people” and “Android people.” A big aspect has to do with the price range of the handsets for those operating systems, but once those customers settle into their devices, it turns out that consumers use iPhones and Android phones rather differently. Based on comScore data charted for us by Statista, there are more people using Android apps than iPhone apps – which makes sense, since Android is killing iOS in global smartphone market share – but iPhone owners tend to spend more hours on their apps, and they also make more money in general. But that makes sense: More than 80% of Apple devices are “high-end,” while ~60% of Android devices are considered “low-end,” since they cost less than $200. Apple currently sells zero “low-end” devices.

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User interface:

Every computer that is to be operated by an individual requires a user interface. The user interface is usually referred to as a shell and is essential if human interaction is to be supported. The user interface views the directory structure and requests services from the operating system that will acquire data from input hardware devices, such as a keyboard, mouse or credit card reader, and requests operating system services to display prompts, status messages and such on output hardware devices, such as a video monitor or printer. The two most common forms of a user interface have historically been the command-line interface, where computer commands are typed out line-by-line, and the graphical user interface, where a visual environment (most commonly a WIMP) is present.

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Flexible Interfaces:

The core services on smartphones all tie in to the idea of a multipurpose device that can effectively multitask. A user can watch a video, field a phone call, then return to the video after the call, all without closing each application. Or he or she can flip through the digital calendar and to-do list applications without interrupting the voice call. All of the data stored on the phone can be synchronized with outside applications or manipulated by third-party phone applications in numerous ways

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Mobile app:

A mobile app is a computer program designed to run on smartphones, tablet computers and other mobile devices. The term “app” is a shortening of the term “application software”. It has become very popular and in 2010 was listed as “Word of the Year” by the American Dialect Society. Mobile apps were originally offered for general productivity and information retrieval, including email, calendar, contacts, and stock market and weather information. However, public demand and the availability of developer tools drove rapid expansion into other categories, such as mobile games, factory automation, GPS and location-based services, banking, order-tracking, ticket purchases and recently mobile medical apps. Mobile User Interface (UI) Design is essential in the creation of mobile apps. According to market research firm Gartner, 102 billion apps will be downloaded in 2013 (91% of them will be free) but they will still generate US$26 billion, up 44.4% on 2012’s US$18 billion. An analyst report estimates that the app economy creates revenues of more than €10 billion per year within the European Union, while over 529,000 jobs have been created in 28 EU states due to the growth of the app market.

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Mobile apps:

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With huge powerful applications, smartphones allow their users to stay in touch with each other in their work and extend their social connection in many ways. Smartphones offer limitless access to news, social networks, games, entertainment, e-mails, media management, core functionality and utility applications, business, productivity and lifestyle applications. Smartphones give access to a wide range of social networks with each one having one or more dedicated applications. Social networks like Facebook and Twitter have a number of dedicated applications that let people read,  post, share, like and follow from anywhere at any time.

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Third-party software/application:

These are software created by programmers or publishers independent of the manufacturer of the hardware for which it is intended. Because third party apps increase the capabilities of electronic devices, most manufacturers make their electronic devices compatible with them. Third party applications are programs written to work within operating systems, but are written by individuals or companies other than the provider of the operating system. For example, Microsoft® systems come packed with several software applications. Of these, any program authored by Microsoft is a first party application. Any program authored by a different company or an individual is a third party application; the same being true for Apple™ and Linux™ systems. In this equation the second party is the user.

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Currently, the two major smartphone platforms in use are Android (by Google) and iOS (by Apple). An application written for a specific platform can usually work on any smartphone using the same platform. Applications for smartphones are also faster and better integrated with the phone’s UI than Java applications. Applications written for a given smartphone platform can usually run on any smartphone with that platform, regardless of manufacturer. Compared to Java or BREW applications, native smartphone applications usually run faster and integrate more tightly with the phone’s features and user interface.

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Applications on smartphones:

As of July 2014, Android users were able to choose between 1.3 million apps. Apple’s App Store remained the second-largest app store with 1.2 million available apps.  But when exactly is too much, too much? Smartphones and their featured app markets have allowed us to do practically anything – shop online, download music, listen to music, send emails, play games, and banking. Apps are so diverse that they can virtually impact every facet of our lives. Data has become so intimately woven into our lives that it’s enhancing the way we engage with physical reality. The physical and digital worlds are coalescing to turn us into all-knowing, always-connected beings. Soon, manufacturers will no longer be able to sell single-function gadgets lacking an Internet connection because those gadgets will become obsolete. TV makers and car companies are marketing app store features – all with the common goal of trapping consumers inside their product lines. Many companies and industries find themselves threatened because an app can easily replace single-use products. Inevitably, the more people immerse their personal lives into digital media, the more privacy we give up. Businesses are already making apps that have more information about our personal lives than ever before. The Apple company’s single point of control over the digital world is threatening creative freedom and fostering conformity. In the future, smartphones will enable us to do more than they ever have before, but there are consequences, such as censorship, digital conformity, and loss of freedom and privacy.

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WhatsApp:

WhatsApp Messenger is a cross-platform mobile messaging app which allows you to exchange messages without having to pay for SMS. WhatsApp Messenger is available for iPhone, BlackBerry, Android, Windows Phone and Nokia and yes, those phones can all message each other! Because WhatsApp Messenger uses the same internet data plan that you use for email and web browsing, there is no cost to message and stay in touch with your friends. WhatsApp uses 3G or Wi-Fi (when available) to message with friends and family. Use WhatsApp to send and receive messages, pictures, audio notes, and video messages.

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Mobile Web vs. Apps:

The mobile web is just a way of referring to all the website that have mobile-enabled pages. The term also loosely includes most of the Internet because you can still see almost any wibsite with a mobile device … you just can’t necessarily see it all that well. Unlike mobile websites, apps are not hosted on servers. Apps are self-contained programs that are typically optimized for use on smartphones and tablets. Some apps have similar functionality to their sister websites and behave like little portable microsites, while other apps behave more like true software programs on your computer.

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You can visualize software for smartphones as a software stack. The stack consists of the following layers:

•kernel — management systems for processes and drivers for hardware

•middleware — software libraries that enable smartphone applications (such as security, Web browsing and messaging)

•application execution environment (AEE) — application programming interfaces, which allow developers to create their own programs

•user interface framework — the graphics and layouts seen on the screen

•application suite — the basic applications users access regularly such as menu screens, calendars and message inboxes

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Wi-Fi connection:

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Wi-Fi is the name of a popular wireless networking technology that uses radio waves to provide wireless high-speed Internet and network connections. Wi-Fi (or WiFi) is a local area wireless technology that allows an electronic device to participate in computer networking using 2.4 GHz UHF and 5 GHz SHF ISM radio bands. A common misconception is that the term Wi-Fi is short for “wireless fidelity,” however this is not the case. The Wi-Fi Alliance, the organization that owns the Wi-Fi registered trademark term specifically defines Wi-Fi as any “wireless local area network (WLAN) products that are based on the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers’ (IEEE) 802.11 standards.” Wi-Fi works with no physical wired connection between sender and receiver by using radio frequency (RF) technology, a frequency within the electromagnetic spectrum associated with radio wave propagation. When an RF current is supplied to an antenna, an electromagnetic field is created that then is able to propagate through space. The cornerstone of any wireless network is an access point (AP). The primary job of an access point is to broadcast a wireless signal that computers can detect and “tune” into. In order to connect to an access point and join a wireless network, computers and devices must be equipped with wireless network adapters. Many devices can use Wi-Fi, e.g. personal computers, video-game consoles, smartphones, digital cameras, tablet computers and digital audio players. These can connect to a network resource such as the Internet via a wireless network access point. Such an access point (or hotspot) has a range of about 20 meters (66 feet) indoors and a greater range outdoors. Hotspot coverage can comprise an area as small as a single room with walls that block radio waves, or as large as many square kilometers achieved by using multiple overlapping access points.

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Wi-Fi is a type of short-area wireless networking. It is commonly used in homes and offices to create a network that can be accessed by computers, smartphones, game consoles, home theater devices, and other gadgets. This allows these devices to access the Internet without needing a wired connection. Wi-Fi is also used in public hotspots, which is an Internet access point made available in a public location. Not all smartphones support Wi-Fi, but it is available on many models. Accessing the Internet on a smartphone via Wi-Fi can have several advantages. It typically offers a faster connection than many cellular networks/ data connection (though some 3G networks will offer speedier connections). You can use a Wi-Fi connection to send and receive e-mail and surf the Web, often without using the available minutes on your smartphone’s data plan. You should read the fine print of your contract to confirm this, but it can potentially save you money, especially if you don’t have an unlimited data plan.

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Smartphone Screen:

One of the main characteristics of smartphones is their screen. It usually fills virtually the entire phone surface; screen size usually defines the size of a smartphone. Their size is measured in diagonal inches, starting from 2.45 inches. Phones with screens larger than 5.2 inches are called “phablets”. Smartphones with screens over 4.5 inches commonly need to be moved around in a single hand or used with both hands, since the average thumb cannot cover the entire screen surface. There are several types of screens including LCD, LED, OLED, AMOLED, IPS and others.

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What is the right screen size?

The ideal screen size ranges from 4.0 to 5.0 inches, because handsets in this range maximize versatility and functionality. For example, smartphones in this category are more comfortable to hold in one hand and they easily fit into your pocket.

4.0 to 5.0 Inches are:

•Comfortable to hold

•Easily fits into your pocket

•Relatively light weight

•Not too big and not too small

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Why smartphone screens are getting bigger:

Glance at any major smartphone line, and you’ll find a similar pattern: Screen sizes are getting bigger, year after year, model after model. Let’s start with an audit of the world’s most famous Android smartphone line—just look at those Samsung phones inch upward. Not to be outdone, HTC has kept pace with Samsung’s escalating screen sizes, and Nokia has followed industry trends for its Lumia line as well. Even Apple—which once described its 4-inch iPhone’s screen as a “dazzling display of common sense”—appears poised to follow its rivals.  Big-screen phones are growing on shoppers. In fact, phablets (phones with displays 5.2 inches or larger) now account for about a quarter of all smartphones sold. Phablets such as the HTC One Max (5.9 inches) and Nokia Lumia 1520 (6 inches) tend to be heavier and can be a tight fit for front pockets. But some are willing to live with the larger size, especially those who don’t want to carry a separate tablet. After selling more 10 million units by the third quarter of 2012, it was clear that phablets captivated many customers. Why were some customers attracted by those seemingly cumbersome gigantic phones? Surprisingly, it is because of the same thing as average-sized smartphones – convenience. Phablets make it easier to see the content in the screen, especially webpages. As a result, you won’t have to zoom in and out repeatedly to view a webpage or read a document.

Benefits of Phablets:

•Larger screen enables you to see much more

•Ideal for the elderly and those with vision problems

•Suitable for watching movies and videos

•Good for reading ebooks

•Improved multitasking

Disadvantages of Phablets:

•Less comfort

•Difficult to use with one hand

•Cannot fit in small pockets

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The chart below shows that smartphone screen size is increasing over time:

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Manufacturers have always wanted to make bigger phones—technology simply hasn’t allowed it until recently. In 2007, both pixels and battery life came at a hefty premium. Trying to power a 5-inch display with a reasonably high pixel count just wasn’t a possibility. Today, battery and display technology allow manufacturers to make crisp, 6-inch-plus screens that run for well over a day. It’s the simplest explanation, and perhaps the best one so far. It helps explain why manufacturers wouldn’t touch designs bigger than 4 inches before, but now they churn out 5-inch-plus models routinely. The pixel densities and battery capacities have scaled high over time. The smartphone is turning into our primary computer.  Even in 2007, it wasn’t yet clear that the smartphone would become the staple product that it is today—the sort of device that could one day replace most personal computers. Seven years ago, the smartphone was still a combination of three less significant products: a music player, a mobile web browser, and cell phone. Today, the smartphone connects people around the world like nothing before it. Citizens of third-world countries are unlikely to own cars and computers, but they are rapidly buying smartphones. So how does this relate to screen size? As smartphones become our primary devices, doing the jobs once held by computers and even televisions, we need a product that can change, like a chameleon, to serve all of these functions.  Before 2010, the extra real estate was unnecessary. After all, we were using phones mostly for making calls, listening to music, or doing a bit of light web-browsing on bad mobile interfaces, making mental notes to do our real work when we got back to our computers. Today, the web—from site interfaces to television to native apps—is often designed primarily for the mobile format. The smartphone is no longer just a phone, but a hybrid of devices—and increasingly, the most common way to interact with the world. A bigger screen allows a mobile device to play all of these roles at once. We’ve ridiculed the so-called phablet, but perhaps we’ve been headed in that direction all along. Maybe bigger is better.

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Screen Resolution and Quality:

From the iPhone’s retina display to HTC’s Super LCD screens, it is obvious that manufacturers put a lot of emphasis on the display of their smartphones—and for good reasons. The display is the first thing you see when you turn on the screen. As a result, manufacturers are not only concerned with the size of the screen, but with the quality of it as well. Two key factors that determine display quality are resolution and display technology. Buy devices with at least a 720p display and a pixel density of 300 ppi. Screen resolution is basically the amount of pixels in the screen. If you move very close to a TV or a computer monitor, you would notice miniature individual squares, so to speak. Those “squares” are individual pixels. The more pixels a screen has, the clearer the display will be. If the screen has enough pixels, the human eye cannot see them—which is where the term “retina display” comes from. Therefore, a high resolution display enables you to see more on the screen with much more clarity and detail. When buying a phone, make sure the display has a resolution of 1280 by 720 or higher. LCD screens have a slight advantage over AMOLED screens due to accuracy and brightness. Newer forms of LCD displays such as IPS and S-LCD provide even greater color accuracy with excellent viewing angles. AMOLED displays provide saturated colors that make more vivid. Though they provide good color saturation, the colors are not always accurate in AMOLED displays. There always seems to be bluish tint or a yellow wish hue in the screen. The size of the screen definitely matters, but so do the brightness, sharpness, color and viewing angles. Right now, 1080p screens (1920 x 1080 pixels) are the sharpest you’ll find on smartphones. However there are some 720p displays (1280 x 720 pixels), such as the one on the Moto X, deliver fantastic image quality. You must put smartphone in your hand to evaluate the viewing angles; if the screen washes out when you tilt the device, think twice about that purchase.

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Touchscreen:

A touchscreen is an electronic visual display that the user can control through simple or multi-touch gestures by touching the screen with a special stylus/pen and/or one or more fingers. Some touchscreens use an ordinary or specially coated gloves to work while others use a special stylus/pen only. The user can use the touchscreen to react to what is displayed and to control how it is displayed (for example by zooming the text size). The touchscreen enables the user to interact directly with what is displayed, rather than using a mouse, touchpad, or any other intermediate device (other than a stylus, which is optional for most modern touchscreens). There are a variety of touchscreen technologies that have different methods of sensing touch including resistive touchscreen, surface acoustic wave touchscreen, capacitive touchscreen etc.

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Resistive and capacitive technologies dominate the market for transparent touch technology applied to display screens in mobile devices. And the two approaches have very distinct differences. One requires moving parts, while the other is solid state. One relies on electrical resistance to sense touches, while the other relies on electrical capacitance. One is analog and the other is digital. (Analog approaches measure a change in the value of a signal, such as the voltage, while digital technologies rely on the binary choice between the presence and absence of a signal.)

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Resistive touchscreen:

The traditional touch screen technology is analog resistive. Electrical resistance refers to how easily electricity can pass through a material. These panels work by detecting how much the resistance to current changes when a point is touched. This process is accomplished by having two separate layers. Typically, the bottom layer is made of glass and the top layer is a plastic film. When you push down on the film, it makes contact with the glass and completes a circuit. The glass and plastic film are each covered with a grid of electrical conductors. These can be fine metal wires, but more often they are made of a thin film of transparent conductor material. In most cases, this material is indium tin oxide (ITO). The electrodes on the two layers run at right angles to each other: parallel conductors run in one direction on the glass sheet and at right angles to those on the plastic film. When you press down on the touch screen, contact is made between the grid on the glass and the grid on the film. The voltage of the circuit is measured, and the X and Y coordinates of the touch position is calculated based on the amount of resistance at the point of contact. This analog voltage is processed by analog-to-digital converters (ADC) to create a digital signal that the device’s controller can use as an input signal from the user. You can use almost anything to create an input signal: finger tip, fingernail, stylus — just about anything with a smooth tip. (Sharp tips would damage the film layer.) The biggest problem with resistive panels in consumers’ eyes is that they can sense only one touch at a time. If you touch the panel in two places at once, the combined effect will produce one coordinate for the touch point, and that will be different from either of the two actual points. There are ways to create resistive panels that can sense multiple touches at one time, but these can be expensive and complex, such as creating a matrix of separate contact pads on one of the layers.

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Capacitive touchscreen:

Modern Smartphone uses capacitive touchscreen. A capacitive touchscreen panel consists of an insulator such as glass, coated with a transparent conductor such as indium tin oxide (ITO). In the capacitive system, a layer that stores electrical charge is placed on the glass panel of the monitor. When a user touches the monitor with his or her finger, some of the charge is transferred to the user, so the charge on the capacitive layer decreases. This decrease is measured in circuits located at each corner of the monitor. The computer calculates, from the relative differences in charge at each corner, exactly where the touch event took place and then relays that information to the touch-screen driver software. The electrical charge involved is tiny, which is why you don’t feel any shock when you touch the screen, but this little change is enough to be measured. Because each conductor is checked separately, it is possible to identify multiple simultaneous touch points. As the human body is also an electrical conductor, touching the surface of the screen results in a distortion of the screen’s electrostatic field, measurable as a change in capacitance. Different technologies may be used to determine the location of the touch. The location is then sent to the controller for processing. Unlike a resistive touchscreen, one cannot use a capacitive touchscreen through most types of electrically insulating material, such as gloves. This disadvantage especially affects usability in consumer electronics, such as touch tablet PCs and capacitive smartphones in cold weather. It can be overcome with a special capacitive stylus, or a special-application glove with an embroidered patch of conductive thread passing through it and contacting the user’s fingertip.

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Multi-touch:

In computing, multi-touch refers to the ability of a surface (touchscreen) to recognize the presence of more than one or more than two points of contact with the surface. This plural-point awareness is often used to implement advanced functionality such as pinch to zoom or to activate certain subroutines attached to predefined gestures.

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Windows Touch gestures:

If your touchscreen can recognize at least two touch points (multi-touch capacitive touchscreen), you can use Windows Touch gestures. Most modern smartphones have multi-touch capacitive touchscreen.

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The following table describes Windows Touch gestures.

Gesture How to perform Description
GesturePan Touch and drag the page with either one or two fingers. Use panning to see another part of a page that has scroll bars. For example, you can pan to see part of a long document or spreadsheet that doesn’t appear in the window. When you pan with one finger, dragging your finger vertically moves the page, while dragging your finger horizontally selects text on the page.
GestureZoom To zoom out, touch two points on the item, and then move your fingers toward each other, as if you’re pinching them together. To zoom in, touch two points on the item, and then move your fingers away from each other, as if you’re stretching them apart. Use zooming to make an item on the screen larger or smaller. With a picture, zooming in shows a smaller area in more detail; zooming out shows a larger area.
GestureRotate Touch two points on the item, and then move the item in the direction that you want to rotate it. Use rotating to move a picture or other item on the screen in a circular direction (clockwise or counter-clockwise).
GesturePress and tap Press the item with one finger, then quickly tap with another finger, while continuing to press the item with the first finger. Use press and tap to access the shortcut menu. Press and tap does the same thing as press and hold or right-clicking an item.

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Tap the screen, don’t stab it:

I always see smartphone novices stabbing at their screens, or holding their finger down much longer than necessary. To launch an app, just lightly tap its icon with the pad of your finger. (A fingernail won’t work, as touch screens require a capacitive–i.e. fingertip–touch.) On an iPhone, tapping and holding on an icon will make all the icons start shaking. That’s intentional: you can rearrange your icons (by dragging and dropping them) while in this mode. Press either the Home or Power button to stop the shaking. On Android phones, you tap, hold, and drag icons to rearrange them; there’s no special “mode” like on the iPhone.

But remember: when you want to run an app or swipe the screen, use a quick, light touch.

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Storage and Expansion:

Given that you’ll store everything from photos and music to videos and apps on your smartphone, opt for as much internal memory up front as you can. Although 16GB is fairly standard, you may opt for 32GB of storage so you don’t run out of room. The 32GB iPhone 5s, for example, costs $299. But you’ll also find some cheaper options with that much space, such as the HTC One; it starts at $199 for 32GB. It’s becoming a lot harder to find, but if you like the idea of expandable storage, choose a device that has a microSD card slot, such as the Samsung Galaxy S4, Note 3 and Mega. As users neglect MP3 players, point-and-shoot cameras and portable video cameras, storage space is quickly becoming an imperative feature. What is more, the price changes significantly between different levels of storage. For example, the iPhone 5S 16GB version was originally retailed at $649, while the 32 GB version was $749 – a whopping difference of $100. If you are on a budget, the version with the least amount of space is clearly the viable option.

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How much free storage space does your smartphone really have?

Apple is currently facing a lawsuit over the amount of space that the iOS 8 update takes up on iPhone, iPads, and iPods . The complaint claims that iOS 8 can occupy more than 23 percent of the storage available on some devices, and further goes on to claim that upgrading devices from iOS 7 to 8 can cause users to lose a further 1.3GB of storage. Apple has deep pockets, a factor that makes it a target for such lawsuits, but how much free space do other smartphones leave users with? As it turns out, finding the answer to this question is not as easy as it perhaps should be. The figure below shows free space offered by eight different 16GB handsets.

 

The reality is every phone has to sacrifice some of its internal memory to the operating system, they never live up to the sales talk of 8,16 or 32GB. But many manufacturers further stuff their phone with pre-loaded apps, skins and bloatware. And no phone has more piping, braiding and frills than the Samsung Galaxy S4. The problem is made worse by the fact that many high-end smartphones do not offer a micro SD card slot to allow the user to expand the storage, a move that enables the manufacturer to put a premium price tag on higher-capacity models. The fact that topping the list are iPhones and Nexus devices highlights how delivering a smartphone unencumbered by bloatware offers a real and tangible benefit to the end user. Bloatware costs gigabytes, which in turn costs money.

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The difference between off and standby:

When you’re not actually using your phone, it stands to reason it should be off, right? Wrong: “off” means actually powering down the phone, much like you do with your computer. When it’s off, you can’t make calls, run apps, or do anything else. Because, well, it’s off! Instead, when you’re not actually using your phone, you want it to retreat to standby mode–meaning only the screen shuts off. This happens one of two ways: automatically, after a set period of inactivity; or by pressing (but not holding!) the power button. You should get in the habit of doing the latter before sticking the phone back in your pocket or bag, if only to preserve battery life–but also to prevent accidental dialing or app launching.

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You can block numbers:

No longer do you have to suffer PPI claims lines and other nuisance callers, as most smartphones offer the ability to block numbers. Now that iOS 7 has arrived this is a breeze from an iPhone. There are several ways to do it but the easiest is usually just to go into your call log, tap the ‘i’ next to the number you want to block and then tap ‘block this caller’. On Android things can be a bit more convoluted as how you do it depends in part on what phone you have. It may be that you can do it in a similar way to iOS 7, as for example on the HTC One you can simply tap and hold a number in your call history and then tap ‘Block contact’. Many other smartphones, such as the Samsung Galaxy S4, feature an auto reject list, which is generally found in the settings menu and allows you to manually add numbers to a list of rejected callers. However if all else fails there are also apps to do the job, such as ‘Truecaller’ and ‘Mr. Number’. Sadly it’s not currently possible to natively block a number on BlackBerry 10, nor can Windows Phone 8 do it natively, however there are apps available from BlackBerry World that do the job, while Nokia has implemented a blocked numbers list on Lumia phones, which you can access from the ‘extras + info’ section of the settings screen.

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Best Voice Recognition Apps for Your Smartphone:

Voice-recognition software is nothing new. But put it on a smartphone, and it comes to life. All of the frustrations of trying to control your PC by voice–fiddling for a microphone, repeating yourself again and again, resisting the urge to relent and turn to your trusty keyboard–are eliminated when you use the same technology on your mobile phone. And it’s becoming more popular all the time, thanks in large measure to the improved speech recognition capabilities of today’s mobile phone platforms, such as Google’s Android and Apple’s iOS. But that’s not the only factor behind the uptick in mobile voice recognition. There is demand for improved user interfaces, especially from users who don’t want to rely solely on a touchscreen to interact with their phone. In addition, the increasing prevalence of laws restricting the use of cell phones while driving has fueled demand for these voice-based apps.

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Use Voice Dictation to save time on Android and iPhone:

Touch-screen keyboards can be slow, especially on phones with small screens. To enter text more naturally, you can use your Smartphone’s voice dictation feature. Just speak — punctuation included — and your device will convert what you say to text. This works in other languages besides English. In fact, it can even be more useful with non-English languages. For example, you can speak a language that requires accents or a larger alphabet of characters to save time over tapping them in. To use voice dictation on Android, open any app and bring up a keyboard by tapping in a text field you want to type in. Tap the microphone icon at the bottom-left corner of your keyboard.

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Voice dictation:

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Just start speaking to use voice dictation. Android will insert the words as you speak them. Bear in mind that it won’t automatically insert punctuation for you. You’ll need to speak the punctuation mark you want to use. For example, if you’d like to type “I’m good. How are you doing?” you’d need to speak the words “I’m good period how are you doing question mark.”

Here are the handful of voice dictation commands that work on Android:

•Punctuation: Period (.), comma (,), question mark (?), exclamation or exclamation point (!)

•Line spacing: Enter or new line, new paragraph

Unfortunately, Android’s list of voice dictation commands is very limited compared to the comprehensive set available on iPhone. On iPhone, words won’t appear as you speak. Instead, you’ll need to speak your message and then tap Done. After you do, the words you spoke will appear in the text field. Compared to Android, iOS offers much more fine-grained control over voice dictation. However, there’s still no “backspace”, “delete”, or “undo” command that you can speak to undo any mistakes you make while speaking. You’ll have to go and edit your message afterwards to perform any corrections. Remember that speaking clearly is very important. Obviously, voice dictation will work best in a quiet room and very poorly on a noisy street.

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Voice Search on smartphone to ask any questions:

Ask your questions out loud and get answers spoken back whether you are out and about or sitting at your desk. Just tap the microphone icon on the Google search bar and speak up. This works on the Google app for iOS, Android and Chrome browsers for laptops and desktops. Searching on a smartphone just by using your voice is a feature that is still in its infancy, and it’s not exactly a shock to learn that teens are using and embracing it more than their elders.

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OK Google:

“OK Google” is the voice command used to activate Google Now voice search on your Android smartphone, as well as other Google devices such as its Google Glass smartglasses. Google Now can be accessed by opening your phone’s Google Search app or Google Search widget and either tapping the microphone icon or saying “OK Google”.  You can ask Google Now pretty much anything you like, just as you normally would with Google Search. However, you can also use the “OK Google” command to set alarms, make calls and texts, schedule meetings and more on your Android device. For example, you might tell it to “Show me walking directions to get home”, “Remember to book flights tomorrow”, “Open Calendar app” or whatever you like.

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Connection of smartphone to PC to transfer data either way:

Android smartphones offer portable access to the Internet and hundreds of thousands of applications and serve as excellent companions to laptop computers. Once you enable your Android device’s mass storage mode and connect it to your laptop, you can browse the contents of your Android device’s memory from your computer and move files back and forth between the two devices. Connect your USB data cable to both your laptop and your Android device. A “USB connected” notification will appear in your Android device’s notification panel. Open your Android device’s notification panel, and then tap the “USB connected” notification. Tap the “Turn on USB storage” button at the bottom of your Android device’s screen, and then tap “OK.” Open the “Start” menu on your computer, click “Computer” and then double-click your Android device in the list of disk drives.

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Wireless transfer:

Bluetooth – Pairing phone to laptop:

Connecting a phone and laptop computer through bluetooth is known as pairing; the prime requirement for this to happen is for the laptop and phone to have bluetooth hardware installed and enabled at the time of pairing, to create a bluetooth wireless network. In most laptop computers, there is a dedicated key available to switch the bluetooth connection ON and OFF. If you have an older generation laptop, then additional hardware, known as a bluetooth adapter must be plugged in the USB port. After enabling Bluetooth, search for active devices on your laptop, then select the mobile phone. Now you are ready to transfer data through this secure network. First time pairing requires you to key in a 4-digit code to send and receive data.

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Transfer via Wi-Fi:

Apple users already know the convenience of Airdrop, which allows you basically set up an ad-hoc network to wirelessly share photos, videos, documents, and other content with nearby Apple users. This is the era of modern technology and now it is possible to transfer files from laptop to android mobiles using inbuilt Wi-Fi in computer as well as android mobiles using applications.

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QR code:

A QR code (quick response code) consists of black modules (square dots) arranged in a square grid on a white background, which can be read by an imaging device (such as a camera) and processed using Reed–Solomon error correction until the image can be appropriately interpreted. The required data are then extracted from patterns present in both horizontal and vertical components of the image. QR codes can be used on various mobile device operating systems. These devices support URL redirection, which allows QR codes to send metadata to existing applications on the device. Many paid or free apps are available with the ability to scan the codes and hard-link to an external URL.

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If you want to transfer data between smartphone and PC using Wi-Fi, you can use application MobileGo which uses QR code to get connected with PC. Then data exchange between PC and smartphone becomes easy.

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NFC:

Near Field Communications allows your smartphone to transmit data to other phones and tablets in the vicinity. It’s really handy for sharing pictures and music. You can even use it to pay at stores and restaurants. Plenty of great Android and Windows phones offer NFC, but not Apple.

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Internet connectivity to your PC via your smartphone:

Sharing Web connection between smartphone and PC:

Sharing a Web connection between a mobile device and a laptop can help you to cut down on your monthly Internet costs. An Android-powered mobile device can also provide you with Internet connectivity when no other Internet services are available. Sharing a Web connection in this way is called tethering. Your Android device has a feature called Portable Hotspot designed specifically for this purpose. Portable Hotspot rebroadcasts your Android device’s cellular network signal via Wi-Fi. If your laptop doesn’t have Wi-Fi capabilities, you can also tether your laptop to your Android device using a USB cable.

Portable Hotspot:

Touch the “Settings” icon on the home screen of your Android device to load the Settings app. Touch “Wireless & Networks” and then touch “Tethering & Portable Hotspot.” Place a check mark in the “Portable Wi-Fi Hotspot” check box to enable hot spot functionality. Touch the “Security” menu, select “WPA2 PSK” and then enter a password for your hot spot connection in the provided field. Swipe your mouse pointer to the upper-right corner of your laptop’s screen to launch the Charms menu. Click the “Settings” icon and then click the “Network” icon. The Network icon looks like a series of vertical bars. Click the name of your Android device’s hot spot connection in the list of available networks. Enter the password you created in Step 4 and then click “Connect” to begin tethering your Android device to your laptop.

USB Tethering:

Connect your Android device to your laptop using the USB cable that came with Android device. Touch the “Settings” icon on the home screen of the Android device. Touch “Wireless & networks” and then touch “Tethering & portable hotspot.” Place a check mark in the “USB Tethering” check box to begin sharing your Android’s Web connection with your laptop.

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Smartphone camera:

There’s now a handful of smartphones with 20-MP (megapixel) cameras or higher — and more are certainly on the way. However, the quality of both the sensor and the images is more important. For instance, the iPhone 5s has an 8-MP camera, but its new sensor allows for bigger pixels and, therefore, sharper-looking photos. Also look for camera features that you’ll actually use. The Galaxy S4 and Note 3 both sport a nifty Eraser mode feature that filters out photobombers from your images. The Nokia Lumia 1020 has prosumer-grade manual controls to help you get the best shot in all sorts of conditions. Optical image stabilization, which steadies your shots to reduce blur, is found in the LG G2 and Lumia 1020.

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Taking better Photos with Your Smartphone’s Camera:

Focus:

Before snapping a photo, look at the screen and ensure the focus is correct. If the object you want to take a photo of isn’t correctly in focus, try adjusting the position of your smartphone or moving back. You can also touch the part of the scene you want to focus on the screen, and your smartphone’s camera will focus on that part of the scene. Be sure to always glance at the screen and ensure the focus is right before snapping a photo.

Don’t Zoom — Digital Zoom is Bad:

Here’s the biggest difference when switching to a smartphone from an old point-and-shoot camera: Those point-and-shoot cameras offered optical zoom — when you zoomed in, the lens physically moved to magnify the image. Modern smartphone cameras still let you zoom in by pinching, but you shouldn’t do this. There’s no physical lens that moves in to magnify. In other words, digital zoom is really more like performing a crop. Picture taking a normal photograph, and then later cutting up the photograph, taking a single part of the photograph. That’s exactly what digital zoom is doing. You’re just cropping a photo before taking it, and you’ll lose detail you could pick up by moving closer to the thing you’re photographing.

Use the Back Camera, not the Front Camera:

A selfie is a self-portrait photograph, typically taken with a hand-held digital camera, camera phone or smartphone. Selfies are often shared on social networking services such as Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter. They are usually flattering and made to appear casual. Selfies are all the rage, so many people are going around taking photographs with their smartphone’s front-facing camera — the one above the display. However, smartphone manufacturers generally include better, higher-detail cameras on the back of the phone. Just taking a photo with your smartphone’s rear camera instead of its front camera can get you a better picture. Of course, it’s tougher to take a selfie in this way. You could always ask someone else nearby to snap a photo of you. That’s what we all had to do before smartphones with front-facing cameras. Front-camera is installed for video call. Back-camera is installed for taking photo or video.

Don’t Use the Flash — Use Environmental Lighting:

This tip applies to old point-and-shoot cameras, too. Flash usually isn’t helpful, especially if you don’t know what you’re doing. The bright light of a camera’s flash can illuminate an area and capture an image of something dark, but that’s not necessarily a good thing. Sure, this is good if you need to get detailed images of a crime scene at night, but you probably don’t just care about accurately documenting every detail. You’re probably trying to capture a photo that looks more like what you’re seeing at the moment. Rather than use your camera’s flash, illuminate the thing you’re photographing with normal light from your environment. You may want to go into your Camera app’s settings and disable the flash to prevent it from firing off automatically. This one tip — avoiding the flash unless absolutely necessary — will help you take much better-looking photographs.

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Be sure to keep your smartphone’s camera lens clean, too. You may need to carefully clean it if it’s picked up dirt and smudges. Try to avoid putting your phone in your pocket along with keys, coins, and other objects that could potentially scratch the lens. How resilient your phone’s camera lens is depends on the type of material it’s made of.

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Smartphone camera vs. point and shoot digital camera:

While the best camera is the one that you happen to have with you, smartphone cameras simply do not have the advanced capabilities of a full-sized digital camera. Most people have a cell phone or smartphone with a camera, and they usually carry their smartphone with them at all times, as the size and weight of a smartphone is very convenient. While smartphone cameras are improving and seeing greater usage, they are missing some major features found in regular digital cameras. The features that smartphones do have are usually automatic, not manual, limiting control over the photographic outcome. Consumers should know about the different feature sets of digital cameras and smartphone cameras, and how the advanced features in cameras make it desirable to have both a camera and a smartphone. Any camera is better than no camera at all. No picture means it did not happen. Since most people carry their smartphone with them at all times, a camera is always at hand and at least some kind of picture is feasible. But, what kind of photo is it? Chances are that a photograph from a smartphone will be less than desirable. Smartphones are limited in capability compared to their older, big brother, the venerable camera. While the smartphone is the cheeky newcomer on the block, it is missing the flexibility, the control, and the wisdom of the digital camera. Nonetheless, it’s no secret that the smartphone has cannibalized digital camera sales. Market research firm IDC reports that smartphone sales topped 1 billion in 2013, up 38 percent year over year. CIPA (the Camera & Imaging Products Association) shows a 36 percent drop in digital camera sales over the same period: Shipments plummeted from around 98 million in 2012 to 63 million units in 2013, with the biggest losses coming among mid- and low-priced models. Some consumers even swear their new phones are taking better pictures than their digital cameras ever did. When you see the comparisons, the quality does, indeed, look pretty darn close.

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Turn your Smartphone into a WebCam:

You can turn your smartphone into a webcam for your video calls. You can use your smartphone as webcam for Skype calls, GTalk, Yahoo video call etc. While some of these apps may be free, some may be premium apps. There are good numbers of apps in the Google Play Store that can turn your smartphone into a webcam, while some of these apps may work only on Wi-Fi, some others will work with Bluetooth connection.

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Thermal camera:

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Thermal camera in smartphone:

 

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When FLIR launched its first smartphone-based thermal camera, the biggest annoyance people had was that the hardware was baked into an iPhone 5 case. Anyone who wasn’t toting Apple’s newest two smartphones was understandably aggrieved about that decision. That’s why, as a do-over, the company has released a second-generation FLIR, one that clips onto the bottom of your smartphone over Lightning or micro-USB, letting Android users in on the fun. Fingersoft Thermal Camera application for Android is freely available for download.

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Video calling feature on smartphones:

Video calling is not a recent development, but one that has been processed throughout time. It has finally emerged and is making quite the splash in the technology world. These enjoy many of the features found in smartphones, however they are much more than that. Phones with video calling capabilities provide instant face-to-face communication with anyone, anywhere. No more missing those life-changing moments. You will be there and see everything, all through the lens of your mobile device. Many cell phone providers offer smartphones that have many of the same features as these video calling phones. However, one of the key features that sets video calling phones apart from smartphones is the front-facing camera. Having the camera placed in the front allows you to easily hold the phone and communicate with the person you are video calling. Because without the video calling feature, what good would two cameras on your phone truly do for you?

Video Chat Apps for Your Smartphone:

FaceTime is still the best app out there as far as fluidity and video quality are concerned, but it only works over Wi-Fi and it only supports Apple devices running iOS. Apps like Skype and ooVoo allow you to place quality video (and voice) calls between Android and iOS devices, not to mention desktops. Not only that, but they work over 3G and 4G connections as well. If you have an Android smartphone with a front-facing camera, you can make the video calls right from your mobile phone with the latest version of the Skype Android app.

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Smartphone to TV and TV to smartphone:

Watch videos from your Smartphone on Your TV:

It’s a pretty fantastic world we live in these days – especially when it comes to mobile technology. Hours upon hours of entertainment lay at our fingertips, available virtually any place, anytime, all from a sleek little unit that fits in your pocket. However, as convenient and wondrous as smartphones are, there’s still something to be said for watching your favorite content on a big flat screen TV. And for those who access more content from their smartphone than anywhere else, that big screen in the living room can create some serious size envy. So why can’t you have your cake and see it too? You can, thanks to the magic of mirroring. A rapidly growing arsenal of devices now exists to allow anything on your phone to be mirrored on your TV. Some smart accessories help you stream content from your smartphone to your TV. The NETGEAR Push2TV® Wireless Display Adapter, for instance, lets you stream your personal media collection to your TV using Wi-Fi on your home network. It also supports Wi-Fi Direct, Miracast™ (seamless screen-sharing technology on Droid Maxx by Motorola and Droid Mini by Motorola) and Intel® WiDi. Another smart accessory to try is Google Chromecast. Setup is easy. Simply plug Chromecast into your TV’s HDMI port and connect it to your Wi-Fi network. Then, grab your mobile device and stream videos and music to your television. For example, you can stream content from your laptop’s Google Chrome™ browser tabs or your YouTube app to your television. Visit this list of Chromecast-supported apps to see which of your favorites will work. If both smartphone and TV are from the same manufacturer (whether they use DLNA or Miracast technology), they may come with apps that facilitate the connection process or even allow you to mirror your smartphone screen directly on the TV. For example, the Samsung Galaxy S® 5 uses the AllShare® app to stream content to compatible Samsung HDTVs. Several popular streaming-video subscription services have complementary apps that work between your mobile devices and your television—no cable required. This means that you can watch a video on your smartphone, stop it and then resume watching where you left off on your compatible Internet TV or vice versa.

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MHL (aka Mobile High-Definition Link) is a way to connect phones and other portable electronics to HD televisions and monitors, using an MHL cable connected to the micro USB port on your phone at one end and your screen’s HDMI port at the other. Not all phones support this but some do, with Samsung and Sony in particular supporting MHL on a number of handsets. Assuming your phone supports it, you can pick up an MHL cable relatively cheaply and then you’ll be able to experience media from your smartphone on a big screen. Many smartphones and tablets can use an HDMI cable (or an MHL to HDMI adapter) for a direct hookup to an HDMI-ready TV. Simply plug one end of the cable into your device and the other end into your TV. Once connected, what appears on the device will also appear on the TV, so you can look at pictures and video, surf the web, use apps or play games. Be sure to select the HDMI cable that’s compatible with your device. That’s great for video, but for games you’re still stuck with a touchscreen interface. However there are also a number of Bluetooth smartphone controllers available, including Samsung’s own Game Pad. With one of those in hand you can take smartphone gaming to a level that approaches home consoles.

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Watch TV on smartphone:

Fox Mobile announced their entry into the tv-on-your-smartphone field recently during the CTIA wireless conference in Las Vegas. Called BitBop, it’s an on-demand streaming service that gives you access to a boatload of TV shows right on your BlackBerry — with iPhone and Android apps heading our way soon. FLO TV allows you to stream live television to your iPhone with the help of a battery pack from Mophie that acts as a receiver. Another app that brings you live TV on your smartphone is MobiTV, which works with AT&T, Sprint, and Verizon, and on over 400 devices. Exclusively for Android users, the SPB TV app doesn’t require a monthly subscription, but it does get you access to hundreds of public channels in over 17 countries. iTunes works perfectly with your iPhones or iPod Touches to bring you a variety of TV shows and movies to watch on the go. iTunes is free, of course, but unfortunately the shows you’ll be buying are not.

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Processing speed of smartphone:

Speed is still the ultimate prize in the smartphone arms race. You notice when apps lag or when swiping takes an eternity.

The iPhone 5s is the fastest smartphone on the market. Its A7 chip is even light years ahead of blazing fast phones like the Samsung Galaxy S4 or the surprisingly quick Motorola Moto X. But don’t despair if your phone feels a little sluggish — there are ways to speed it up.

Slow smartphones:

Why do smartphones become slower over time?  Is it just an illusion that gradually over time you come to think that they are running slowly compared to when you originally purchased them, even if you wipe all data and start fresh?  Or do they actually become slower?  Or perhaps the human brain learns to process faster?

We all use a lot of different tech everyday; some older, most newer. The more new tech we use, the older and slower we perceive our existing systems. They also become slower because the technology keeps evolving while your smartphone doesn’t. With time, files weigh more and more, software use more memory. Your hardware needs to work more nowadays than when you bought it. Also, it is true that over time you have many applications that could be running in the background. When installing various software to your device, it is customary for old system files and invalid entries will continue to launch and run upon start up. Looking into your registry for errors and outdated files is the key to preventative maintenance. You may also stumble upon security threats, which really makes it worth your time and trouble. And, the new technologies are always changing the way old systems operate.

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To Speed Up your Android Phone:

1. Clean Up Those Apps!

This is one of those things that isn’t absolutely necessary, but will also definitely help speed up your phone a bit. It always helps to go through your installed applications every once in awhile and check for any that you are not using or ones that you just installed to try out and forgot to uninstall. Go ahead and uninstall any apps that you don’t need or want. This isn’t a major speed increase, but will help some and is a very good habit to get yourself into.

2. Watch Your Widgets!

Everyone loves their widgets, but getting to crazy with them can cost you some performance and speed. Go ahead and check to see which widgets you have up that you are actually using. Lots of widgets can cause your smartphone to run a bit slower than it could normally. Also realize that live widgets, or widgets that update frequently such as different weather widgets, can cost you more performance than some of the more stationary widgets. That being said, take a look at your widgets and maybe consider taking some of them off, or changing the update settings of your live widgets to less frequent. If you’ve gone widget crazy, a little clean up on your home screen can go a long way!

3. Use a Task Killer!

Advanced Task Killer can be downloaded for free via the Android Market. This app includes a lot of useful settings, such as an ‘Auto Kill’ feature, an ‘Ignore List’, and a widget to place on your home screen that will kill all your designated apps on press. If you use this app right, you can gain a decent amount of performance back on your smartphone.

4. No Live Wallpapers!

Live wallpapers are the one thing that anyone with an android phone can simply avoid using to gain a lot of performance.  Avoid using live wallpapers and you will have a faster smartphone!

5. Get Rooted!

This is obviously the best way to gain the largest performance increase on your Android smartphone, but it takes a little more work. Not everyone may want to root their phone, although it is a fairly quick and easy process now for most devices. Once you’re rooted, you have access to lots of custom made ROMs for your Android smartphone. Most of these come pre-overclocked to allow your phone’s processor to run significantly faster. A lot of them have settings as well for you to tweak the overclock speed to what you want. If you do not want to install a custom ROM on your smartphone, being rooted still allows you to use some useful apps in the marketplace. A useful overclocking app for good, stable performance boosting is SetCpu, which can be found of the Android Marketplace. Another app for rooted users is Titanium Backup, which allows you to uninstall unwanted system applications. To sum up, you really can’t go wrong by rooting your smartphone. This is the best way to get the biggest performance boost on your Android device.

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Rooting and jailbreaking smartphones:

Rooting is the process of allowing users of smartphones, tablets and other devices running the Android mobile operating system to attain privileged control (known as “root access”) within Android’s sub-system. Rooting is often performed with the goal of overcoming limitations that carriers and hardware manufacturers put on some devices. Thus, rooting gives the ability (or permission) to alter or replace system applications and settings, run specialized apps that require administrator-level permissions, or perform other operations that are otherwise inaccessible to a normal Android user. On Android, rooting can also facilitate the complete removal and replacement of the device’s operating system, usually with a more recent release of its current operating system. Jailbreaking describes the bypass of several types of Apple prohibitions for the end user: modifying the operating system (enforced by a “locked bootloader”), installing non-officially approved apps via sideloading, and granting the user elevated administration-level privileges. In both jailbreaking and rooting, you take administrative control over the operating system. However, the purpose of rooting is a little different than jailbreaking. The cellular carriers and the phone makers hate the entire idea. That’s because it takes control away from them and gives it to the phone’s owner. Rooting is legal for the purpose of interoperability but not copyright infringement.

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Rebooting smartphones:

Cell phone users rely on the cell phone for phone numbers, news, alerts, email and text messages, the time, and much more. The list of services and features of cell phones continues to grow. As a result of this reliance on cellular devices, when they are inefficiently operating due to slow performance or poor reception, the cell phone user may need to reboot or restart the cell phone. Rebooting means the same thing whether you’re dealing with a smartphone or computer. You simply turn it off, wait about 30 seconds to 1 minutes (for electrical purposes), and turn it on. You just rebooted your device.

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Design and Build Quality:

From the Samsung Galaxy’s Note III’s idiosyncratic leather back to the HTC One’s aluminum uni-body, it is clear that manufacturers are ostentatiously flaunting their phones’ design to consumers. But, should design really matter to you? Perhaps, just perhaps it should. That may sound blunt and harsh, but a phone’s design is not necessary for many users. Why? To safeguard their highly cherished phones, many users buy elephantine cases for withstanding drops and impacts. However, buying a big bulky case that covers most of the phone defeats the purpose of buying a phone with a phenomenal design – it really does. For instance, consumers awed at the appearance of HTC’s flagship phones. But, such beauty is completely veiled when it is chastised by a cumbersome case. Don’t even bother designing custom phones like the Moto X if you are going to cover it up with case. The same thing applies to switching the back cover of the phone to get a massive battery. However, if you are the type of person who endears design, doesn’t drop phones and doesn’t need cases, buying a magnificent phone will provide a good experience.

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Water proof smartphone:

We’ll continue to see the advance in nanocoatings to protect devices from water, dust and other hazards. Right now these phones are called “life proof” but there’s really little reason that all devices can’t support the technology. Motorola has had a few devices with this on board, the Xperia Z offers it and Samsung’s Galaxy S4 Active takes advantage of it too. To put it simply, companies are able to spray down the components of a device with nanocoating so that, should they get wet, the entire phone isn’t damaged. It’s why we’re now seeing advertisements for devices that are “life proof” against a light spill or a dunk in the toilet. Now for the first time ever, you are able to take a device with yourself without having to worry about a big bulky waterproof case. You can go swimming in the pool with the Galaxy S4 Active in up to three feet of water for 30 minutes.

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Smartphone theft, security, malwares, spywares and encryption:

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Smartphone theft:

One out of two robberies involves the theft of a mobile phone. In order to minimize the chances of being a victim of theft of mobile devices, there have been several apps created to help those out that may be in a dangerous situation. There are now apps that may aid in personal security by providing immediate assistance. Kill switch solutions, a feature that is presently seen in Android and iOS smartphones on a software level, have become necessary in a world where cell phone theft has been on a dramatic rise in recent years. Thieves profit by reselling stolen devices, simply by doing a factory reset on the device, and making it ready for a new customer. The risk of theft means you should always be doing as much as you can to help protect your phone and its contents. In the event that your phone is lost or stolen, not only would you lose the device itself, but your personal information could also be vulnerable. A kill switch is a type of anti-theft software that, when activated, renders a smartphone useless by “bricking” the device in an attempt to make it much less attractive to a thief. The theft of smartphones has risen steadily alongside their increase in popularity and usage, prompting some companies, such as Apple and Samsung, to implement these kill switches on their own. Kill switches have proven to be a deterrent for thieves. San Francisco, for example, saw a 23 percent rise in smartphone thefts during 2013, but six months after the launch of Apple’s Activation Lock software, police reported a 38 percent drop in thefts. Even with positive results, there have been concerns over police use of kill switch software to cut short communications during civilian protests. And while bricking a smartphone has been shown to deter potential thieves, a stolen device can still be sold for parts or, in the case of kill switches, be put into airplane mode to render the switch ineffective. There’s always going to be value in smartphones, so there’s always going to be a reason to steal one as long as it’s easy. Qualcomm, the smartphone chipset manufacturer has officially announced SafeSwitch, a feature that can enable security in smartphones on a hardware level. Qualcomm SafeSwitch technology will enable users of SafeSwitch supported devices, using which, they can remotely lock their mobile devices if they are lost or stolen. Users will also be able to unlock them if they’re found. One of the advantages of Qualcomm’s kill switch solution is that SafeSwitch commands are verified by the hardware, making potential attacks (both malicious locking of phones, as well as unlocking stolen phones) less feasible.

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Lock screen security:

Have you got your device’s lock-screen settings sorted, so that if it gets stolen, the thief can’t access your apps and data?

Locking the screen on your smartphone is one of the easiest and most effective things you can do to protect it. Four little numbers or an alphanumeric password can be an incredible deterrent to thieves, or even to inquisitive friends and family members, yet more than a quarter of smartphone owners in a recent study declined to do so. Those had not locked their screens had more nebulous concerns. Some of them had simply put it off; others wanted good Samaritans to be able to access a phone’s contacts in case it was ever lost; some cited the inconvenience of constantly unlocking phones, which the study authors admitted amounted to an hour each month; and some felt that the data stored on the phone simply wasn’t worth stealing. Whatever the justifications, the researchers argued that not locking your phone is the much riskier option of the two. Most smartphone users never log out of their social media or e-mail accounts, both of which hold tantalizing information for phone thieves. Many banks require only a valid e-mail address to reset a password, and many users have their Social Security and credit-card numbers buried in their e-mail messages.

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If you’re primarily concerned with garden-variety thieves, a lock pattern or PIN might be sufficient, if the lock pattern or PIN is long and strong enough. Some caution is required, because your fingers are greasy and leave smears on the phone, which are visible later. The thief might be able to figure out your lock pattern or PIN from these smudges. If you just want to protect yourself from a thief who grabs your phone and runs, then an unlock pattern or PIN may be sufficient. Realistically, such a thief probably just wants a free phone of their own; they probably don’t care about your data very much, or won’t expend much effort to try to get to it. So, as long as there is no trivial way for them to gain access to your data, the average thief won’t bother; they’ll just reset your phone to factory defaults and then start using it. On the other hand, if you have reason to think that you might be targeted by someone with an interest in the data on your phone, I don’t think any of these methods are enough to provide strong protection. Turning on encryption helps a bit, but probably does not provide strong protection.

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Tips to protect you and your smartphone if it is lost or stolen:

1) Set a Pass-code (could also be a pattern or your fingerprint or password)

2) Activate Find My iPhone (on iPhones)

3) Set Auto-lock (Also saves battery life.)

4)  Activate Android Device Manager (for android phones)

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Remember, neither Android Device Manager nor any other tracking tool will be able to locate the device if your device is simply not connected to internet or turned off by the thief.

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Smartphone security:

Why are there so many infected Computers and so few infected smartphones?

The answer lies in how you install software onto your device. Generally speaking, if you want to install an app onto your phone, you will need to go through some sort of app store – such as Google Play for Android devices or the App Store for Apple iPhones. When a developer signs up to submit an app to one of these marketplaces, they generally have to give up their personal information. When they submit their app, the code gets reviewed by the company in charge of the store. Only after a series of checks can an app is published in the store for users to download. Now let’s compare this process to computer programs. Anybody can write a program right now and post it online. Anyone could download and run it against the wishes of their antivirus and that’s it. There’s no review of the code, no need for the developer to give up their personal information. While this makes developing software easier, it definitely makes for software that is much more insecure and troublesome. However, even though there is a pretty rigorous review process for apps, things can still get by the checks that the reviewers use. This has happened for every store and when it is discovered the app is generally removed right away. Another protection against malware in phones is that apps are kept separate from the main operating system. This makes it so the apps can’t gain access to the operating system to make changes throughout.  Where things get sticky is when users jailbreak, or root their devices. Once they gain access to the inner functioning of their device, they can install programs that have access to the operating system, and install apps whose code hasn’t been approved. While this action gives you full control of your device, and can give you some pretty awesome features that the manufacturer left out, it can expose your device to malware.

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Mobile virus:

A mobile virus is malicious software that targets mobile phones by causing the collapse of the system and loss or leakage of confidential information.

Is there really such a thing as an Android virus?

Historically carried over from the old PC world, a “virus” is a program that replicates itself by attaching to another program. Hackers often used this method to spread their nefarious work, and virus became a popular term to refer to all types of malicious software (malware) on computers. In the case of smartphones, to date we have not seen malware that replicate itself like a PC virus can, and specifically on Android this does not exist, so technically there are no Android viruses. However, there are many other types of Android malware. Most people think of any malicious software as a virus, even though it is technically inaccurate.

So what is Android malware?

Malware, short for malicious software, is software designed to secretly control a device, steal private information or money from the device’s owner. Malware has been used to steal passwords and account numbers from mobile phones, put false charges on user accounts and even track a user’s location and activity without their knowledge.

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The figure below shows how android malware is installed on the smartphone of end user:

On Android devices alone, malware and viruses rose by over 370% in 2011 and this trend continues. The more widespread smartphones get, the more attractive it will be for fraudsters. We see more and more fake apps sneaking up on the app stores, particularly on Google Play but also Apple’s App Store has been hit. Smartphone malware is more easily distributed through application stores that have minimal or no security mechanisms. Often malware is hidden in pirated versions of legitimate apps, which are then distributed through 3rd party app stores. Malware risk also comes from what’s known as an “update attack”, where a legitimate application is later changed to include a malware component, which users then install when they are notified that the app has been updated.

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The most common Android malicious apps will do at least one of the following:

•Collect and send GPS coordinates, contact lists, e-mail addresses etc. to third parties

•Send SMSs to premium-rate numbers

•Subscribe infected phones to premium services

•Record phone conversations and send them to attackers

•Take control over the infected phone

•Download other malware onto infected phones

•“Push notifications ads” delivering alerts to a phone’s notification bar – when the user swipes to pull down the notification bar from the top of the screen, an ad shows up under Notifications.

•“Icon ads” inserted onto a phone’s start screen – when the user touches the icon, it usually launches a search engine or a web service.

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There is growing Android malware epidemic, but iOS is far safer:

Apple’s stringent control over iOS has resulted in a far safer mobile platform for users. Currently malware and spyware have primarily targeted Android devices, though there are commercial spyware applications available for jailbroken iOS devices. The open nature of Android’s official Google Market, Amazon’s Appstore, and other alternative download sites has enabled malicious users to easily add malware to existing legitimate apps and then repost them for sale or free distribution. One example of this, known as DroidDream, has been added to at least 80 different Android titles. Android is the most popular operating system for smartphones, by far, and it’s also the most open, in terms of how much you can customize your device – replacing its default keyboard, for example – as well as the approval process for developers to release new apps for it. This openness is a boon for the tech-savvy Android user, because pretty much anything on their device that they don’t like can be swapped out for something better. They also tend to be pretty good at not installing apps that might play fast and loose with personal data. For them, Android doesn’t have a security problem. What about everyone else, though? Android’s status as the world’s most popular smartphone OS means it has hundreds of millions of users who aren’t so clued-in on security. They’re the reason so many developers of viruses, other malware and privacy-flouting apps are targeting Android. Cisco’s annual security report claimed that 99% of all malware in 2013 targeted Android devices. Android ticks all the boxes for cyber criminals – it’s a widely used OS that is easy to use for both app developers and malware authors alike.

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Android antivirus apps are useless:

If you pick up a free antivirus app from the Market, it is likely to miss nine out of ten potential threats. So is the answer to go with the paid apps? AV-Test also took a look at two paid anti-malware solutions for Android to answer that very question. The paid apps were able to scan and detect about half of all installed threats. That still leaves a huge number of malicious packages in the clear. The best way to stay safe on Android is to just stick to established apps from the official Android Market or the Amazon Appstore. While bad apps do occasionally show up in the Market, Google removes them swiftly and can remotely kill the apps on phones. Most of the truly dangerous threats have been detected on forums and third-party websites masquerading as well-known apps.

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Safety tips to protect your mobile device from malware:

1. Don’t open questionable emails or texts.

2. Don’t click on links unless you are certain of their source.

3. Do not allow your device to connect to unknown wireless networks.

4. Use the same precautions on your mobile phone as you would on your computer when using the Internet.

5. Turn off tethering, Wi-Fi™ and Bluetooth when not in use – These are the access points to your smartphone. If you don’t need to connect, keep them switched off and close the door to criminals.

6. Limit the amount of personal information on your phone – Any kind of personal information can be used to steal your identity and commit other kinds of fraud. By being careful about what you have stored on your smartphone you can reduce the risk if it gets compromised.

7. Never store passwords or PINs on your smartphone

8. Just stick to established apps from Google’s play store for android smartphones and Apple’s apps store for iPhones.

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How can you tell if your phone has been infected by malware?

1. Decreased battery life is a huge signal that should always raise a red flag. It won’t always mean an infection – it could be as simple as a buggy app that’s hogging a lot of CPU – but it should make you suspicious. Malware is always trying to collect information, always tapping into data streams, and always attempting to spread, and all of those processes make your phone work overtime.

2. Decreased performance. Malware tends to slow down your phone’s speed. You only have so much processing power. When malware is constantly running in the background, it leaves even fewer resources for the rest of your apps. In most cases, you should notice the performance hit.

3. Interrupted calls and apps. Malware is invasive and it often likes to interfere with running processes in order to snoop and pull information to which it might not normally have access. The result is that calls might unexpectedly drop (especially when malware tries to reroute them) and apps might unexpectedly crash. If these problems start occurring out of the blue, you may be infected.

There are some other yellow flags that could raise suspicions, but these are major warnings that you shouldn’t ignore.

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Spywares and cyberstalking:

Spyware is software you can use to track someone else by turning their smartphone, tablet or computer into a spy. Spyware companies offer their software as a service. It’s a pay-as-you-go subscription but it’s clearly enabling illegal activity. Detectives can give you a crash course on one popular brand called mSpy. It costs about $70 for a month or $200 for a year. Very cheap, considering what it can do.

Smartphones are used to Stalk and Control Domestic Abuse Victims:

They’re oozing data — from their phones, their tablets, their social media accounts — data that an abuser can access pretty easily. Smartphones and GPS have transformed domestic violence shelters across the U.S. NPR surveyed more than 70 shelters — not just in big coastal cities like New York and San Francisco, but also in smaller towns in the Midwest and the South. They found a trend: 85 percent of the shelters they surveyed say they’re working directly with victims whose abusers tracked them using GPS. Seventy-five percent say they’re working with victims whose abusers eavesdropped on their conversation remotely — using hidden mobile apps. And nearly half the shelters they surveyed have a policy against using Facebook on premises, because they are concerned a stalker can pinpoint location. Counselors in St. Paul, Minn., had to call the police when an abuser banged on the safe house doors; he had tracked down his wife using GPS. In Dallas, a woman inside a group therapy session thought her phone was off, but it turns out it was feeding data to her abuser. In Jamaica Plain, Mass., counselors had to help one victim debug her shoes after finding a GPS tracker embedded in them. A few shelters say abusers gave iPhones to their children as a gift, during the parents’ separation, in order to track down the mom. The strategy of offenders is to have complete and utter domination and control of their victims and so it’s not enough that they just monitor the victim. They will then taunt them or challenge them. Cyberstalking victims often don’t know they’re being tracked through their own phone because spyware apps like mSpy use misleading labels (labeled “android.sys.process” ) and don’t take up much data. They are cyberstalking — using digital tools that are a lot cheaper than hiring a private detective. NPR investigated these tools, also known as spyware, and spoke with domestic violence counselors and survivors around the country. They found that cyberstalking is now a standard part of domestic abuse in the U.S.

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Why smartphone encryption has law enforcement feathers ruffled:

There’s a downside to Android and iOS’s privacy-enhancing encryption—it’s going to be harder to catch criminals, police say. Facebook, Google, and Yahoo have all ramped up the encryption of computer traffic since revelations by whistleblower Edward Snowden indicated that mass surveillance was rampant by governments. The two biggest smartphone operating system makers, Apple and Google’s Android, already include some elements of encryption by default. Third-party apps and encrypted Internet circuits like TOR are available too. But it’s that large-scale mobile device-maker encryption, like that found in iOS and now Android natively, because of their widespread adoption, that has pro-law-and-order officials peeved. FBI Director James B. Comey, in an October 2014 speech, said that he’s increasingly concerned about encryption. He reckons it adversely affects public safety and creates an environment which he and his FBI cohorts call “Going Dark.” He says that, through court orders, the FBI has the legal authority to intercept communications, “but we often lack the technical ability to do so.” One of the problems going after baddies is logistical. You’ve got to seamlessly monitor disparate devices, like phone and tablet, and multiple types of networks like mobile wireless, Wi-Fi, and so on. Encryption makes this monitoring even harder. So, Comey is opposed to Apple and Google’s default encryption implementation in their mobile operating systems. Google’s “L,” its latest version, which is rolling out to existing devices now, includes some encryption. Apple has had parts of its OS encrypted for some time. Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. agrees with Comey, and cites kidnappers and sexual predators as targets that will be harder to catch.

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Determine your location using smartphone:

Determine your location without GPS:

A cell phone is basically a sophisticated two-way radio. Towers and base stations, arranged into a network of cells, send and receive radio signals. Cell phones contain low-power transmitters that let them communicate with the nearest tower. As you travel, you move from one cell to another, and the base stations monitor the strength of your phone’s signal. As you move toward the edge of one cell, your signal strength diminishes. At the same time, the base station in the cell you are approaching notices the strength of your signal increasing. As you move from cell to cell, the towers transfer your signal from one to the next. In remote locations, towers may be so far apart that they can’t provide a consistent signal. Even when towers are plentiful, mountains and tall buildings can interrupt their signals. Sometimes people have a hard time getting clear signals inside buildings, especially in elevators.

Even without a GPS receiver, your cell phone can provide information about your location. A computer can determine your location based on measurements of your signal, such as:

•Its angle of approach to the cell towers

•How long it takes the signal to travel to multiple towers

•The strength of your signal when it reaches the towers

Since obstacles like trees and buildings can affect how long it takes your signal to travel to a tower, this method is often less accurate than a GPS measurement.

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Determine your location using GPS:

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The Global Positioning System (GPS) is a space-based satellite navigation system that provides location and time information in all weather conditions, anywhere on or near the Earth where there is an unobstructed line of sight to four or more GPS satellites. The system provides critical capabilities to military, civil and commercial users around the world. It is maintained by the United States government and is freely accessible to anyone with a GPS receiver. The GPS system concept is based on time. The satellites carry atomic clocks which are synchronized and very stable; any drift from true time maintained on the ground is corrected daily. Likewise, the satellite locations are monitored precisely. User receivers have clocks as well. However, they are not synchronized with true time, and are less stable. GPS satellites transmit data continuously which contains their current time and position. A GPS receiver listens to multiple satellites and solves equations to determine the exact position of the receiver and its deviation from true time. GPS receivers come in a variety of formats, from standalone device to devices integrated into cars, smartphones, and watches. Like a cell phone, a GPS receiver relies on radio waves. But instead of using towers on the ground, it communicates with satellites that orbit the Earth. There are currently 27 GPS satellites in orbit — 24 are in active use and 3 act as a backup in case another satellite fails.

In order to determine your location, a GPS receiver has to determine:

•The locations of at least three satellites above you

•Where you are in relation to those satellites

The receiver then uses trilateration to determine your exact location. Basically, it draws a sphere around each of three satellites it can locate. These three spheres intersect in two points — one is in space, and one is on the ground. The point on the ground at which the three spheres intersect is your location. A GPS receiver has to have a clear line of sight to the satellite to operate, so dense tree cover and buildings can keep it from getting a fix on your location.

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GPS phones:

Imagine driving to a job interview and realizing that you’re lost. Your first impulse would probably be to call the business that’s interviewing you and ask for directions. But if you’re not sure where you are, getting directions can be tricky. But suppose you use your phone for another purpose — to figure out exactly where you are and to get turn-by-turn directions to where you’re going. New smartphones that include global positioning system (GPS) receivers can do exactly that. With the right software or service package, they can pinpoint your location, give directions to your destination and provide information about nearby businesses. Consumers have become increasingly reliant on GPS receivers and technology for navigation while driving around town or on long road trips.

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Wireless-Assisted GPS:

Some GPS phones use wireless-assisted GPS to determine the user’s location. In wireless-assisted systems, the phone uses the orbiting GPS satellites in conjunction with information about the cell phone’s signal. Sometimes called enhanced GPS, wireless-assisted GPS can often get a fix on the user’s location faster than a GPS-only receiver. Some wireless-assisted systems can work inside buildings, under dense foliage and in city areas where traditional receivers cannot receive signals.

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Do you need a mobile phone signal for GPS to work on smartphones?

No. There is some confusion in that, if a mobile signal is available to them, smartphones may use something called Assisted GPS to gain the approximate location from the phone signal. The mobile signal is then used to speed up the calculation of the position fix from the GPS satellites. The availability of a phone signal has no effect on the eventual accuracy of GPS readings once a device has fixed its position; the purpose is simply to get a fix faster when the GPS functionality is switched on. There are some cheap apps that do require an internet signal to show mapping, and so are not likely to work in wild areas. However, the better quality smartphone apps store any mapping legally on your phone so that it is always available.

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Smartphone as navigation device:

Most smartphones have full GPS capability onboard, so navigation is a natural use for that. All that is needed to get going is an app that handles the mapping and navigation. There are many options for all smartphone platforms, and my preferred app for navigation is available on both iOS and Android. If you have an android smartphone, it has free Google Maps navigation app installed. Using a smartphone as a navigation device is much easier if you mount the phone where it is easily visible without getting in the way of driving.

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How accurate are GPS devices?

The original generation of GPS devices gave an accuracy of around 15 meter, and often could not get a fix in narrow valleys or where there was forestry cover. More recent devices and smartphones tend to now use High Sensitivity GPS which is much more effective in forestry, and can be accurate to around 4 meter once the device has completed a fix. Occasionally GPS signals are jammed by the military.

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Smartphone Battery:

At a recent online security event, a Symantec senior product manager said that mobile analytics show a steep weekday decline in mobile Internet traffic throughout North America around 2 p.m. local time. The reason? That’s about the time when many smartphones start running low on battery charge. Compared to current generation non-smartphones, smartphone’s battery life has generally been poor which has become a significant drain on customer satisfaction. Although computer chips have doubled in speed every few years, and digital displays have become significantly brighter and sharper, battery technology is largely stuck in the 20th century. Device makers have relied on incremental improvements to battery power, now usually supplied by a decades-old lithium-ion concoction, in combination with more energy-efficient chips and screens. The problem, in part, is that it is hard to ensure the safety of many new power technologies. A faulty battery could potentially turn into a miniature bomb. So the products require exhaustive testing by regulators before hitting store shelves. Amid all the advances in smartphones, battery technology has lagged painfully behind — leaving users scrambling for AC outlets in awkward places like hotel lobbies, airport lounges and even public restrooms. But device makers, chip suppliers and third-party innovators hope to soon bridge the gap between the battery life consumers want and what devices can currently provide.

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Smartphone Battery Life has become a significant drain on Customer Satisfaction and Loyalty:

Satisfaction with smartphones is greatly impacted by battery performance, particularly the length of battery life before recharging is required. In addition, satisfaction with battery performance is by far the least satisfying aspect of smartphones, and satisfaction in this area is one of only a few attributes that have declined significantly. Satisfaction levels with battery performance differ widely between owners of 3G- and 4G-enabled smartphones. Among owners of 4G-enabled smartphones, battery performance ratings average 6.1 on a 10-point scale — considerably lower than satisfaction among owners of 3G smartphones (6.7). Part of this difference stems from the fact that new 4G smartphones use substantial battery life searching for next-generation network signals, which tend to be scarcer than 3G signals. In addition, owners of 4G-enabled smartphones use their device more extensively — they talk, text, email, and surf the Web more often than do customers with 3G smartphones or traditional handsets — which puts a significantly higher demand on the battery. Smartphone owners who are highly satisfied with their device’s battery life are more likely to repurchase the same brand of smartphone, compared with owners who are less satisfied. Approximately 25 percent of 4G-enabled smartphone owners are highly satisfied with their battery (ratings of 10 on a 10-point scale) and say they “definitely will” repurchase a device from the same manufacturer. In comparison, among owners who are less satisfied with their battery (ratings of 7-9 on a 10-point scale), only 13 percent say the same.

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Lithium-ion battery:

The figure below shows overview of lithium-ion battery charging and discharging:

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Battery energy:

mAh = milliampere hour = a measure of the energy charge a smartphone battery can hold:

Most smartphone batteries are in the range of 1500 mAh but high end devices can have battery capacity of 3000 to 4000 mAh.

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The correct unit for measuring energy capacity of a battery product is called watt-hours. Watt-hours signifies that a battery can supply an amount of watts for an hour. For example, a 60 watt-hour battery can power a 60 watt light bulb for an hour. The same battery would run a 5W phone for 12 hours and power a 1W LED light bulb for 60 hours. Watt-hours is a simple and consistent way to measure the capacity of any battery pack.

What is the difference between watt-hours (Wh) and amp-hours (Ah)?

The equation for power is

watts = amps x volts

And for energy the equation is

watt-hours = amp-hours x volts

Amps is only half of the equation.  Since different batteries may have different voltages, amp-hours is only useful for comparing products that have the same battery configuration.

To get a good grasp of the actual energy capacity, without access to the watt-hour rating of a pack, you can do a quick calculation to generate the watt-hours. First, find out the Ah rating of the battery pack (if it’s given in mAh, take that number and divide it by 1000 to get the Ah value). Second, find out the battery type or chemistry and then the typical voltage for that type.

Smartphones use a single 3.7V lithium-ion cell.

For example, the Switch 8 Solar Recharger is 3.6V and 2.2Ah (2200 mAh) By multiplying those two together you get 7.92Wh. Will the Switch 8 charge your iPhone? well, the iPhone 5 has a 1440 mAh (1.4Ah) battery at 3.7V for 5.18Wh — yes!

Remember, one watt = one joule/one second where joules being a unit of energy.

So watt-hour (wh) is a unit of energy akin to joule.

For your smartphone:

Wh = mAh × V / 1000

Wh = mAh x 3.7/ 1000

This is how you convert smartphone battery capacity from mAh to Wh.

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Laptops typically use 3 cells (3.7V per lithium-ion cell) in series (11.1V).

Typical laptop battery contains 45 to 90 Wh energy in it depending on number of cells.

Smartphone typically use single 3.7V lithium-ion cell.

Typical smartphone battery contains 5 to 13 Wh energy in it.

You can see that laptop battery is 7 to 9 times more powerful than smartphone battery.

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Our smartphones, tablets and laptops use lithium-ion batteries. These batteries will lose capacity over time. You can delay this process by taking the measures listed below but you can’t stop it entirely. Batteries are designed to retain up to 80 percent of their capacity for a limited number of charge cycles. This number will be slightly higher for bigger, more expensive batteries, typically found in tablets or laptops. For instance, Apple claims that the iPhone can hold 80 percent of its capacity for 500 charge cycles, while the number is 1,000 for iPad and MacBook models. The exact number will vary across devices but this is a fair benchmark.

What’s a charge cycle?

The battery completes one charge cycle when you charge it to 100 percent and drain it to 0. If you charge it to 50 percent and then drain it completely, you only complete half a charge cycle. The reality is a little more complicated than that, but it’s a good general rule of thumb. That means that you can’t avoid charge cycles by bringing your phone back to 100 percent whenever it hits 90 – ten such charges will count as a charge cycle.

Prolonging battery life:

You can’t change the laws of physics, but you can reduce the damage it receives on a day to day basis in the course of regular use. You just need to be aware of a few simple things like the temperature and the level of charge on your phone. Here’s a checklist you should keep in mind, to keep your batteries healthy for as long as possible.

1. Mind the temperature:

The temperature has a big impact on your device’s battery. If you live in places where the temperature is above 35 degrees Celsius or below 0 degrees Celsius, battery capacity is going to reduce faster. Try and keep the phone or tablet out of direct sunlight, or exposing it to below freezing temperatures, when possible. Extreme heat affects battery capacity a lot more than extreme cold, but both are harmful.

2. Partial discharge vs. Full discharge:

While you may have heard about letting your device getting fully discharged before plugging in the charger, generally speaking partial discharge cycles are better than full discharge cycles. Not all lithium-ion batteries show these symptoms, but keeping the charge in the 40 to 80 percent range is generally helpful. That means charge your phone when it reaches 40 percent charge, and stop charging it when the battery reaches 80 percent, though you’ll need to balance this – and all other advice – with practical usage. So when you are heading out and won’t be near a charger for a while, of course charge your device to 100 percent, instead of obsessing about numbers.

3. Don’t leave it plugged in all the time:

Leaving your devices plugged in at 100 percent is also harmful for battery life. Overcharging is not good for the battery: Li-ion cannot absorb overcharge, and when fully charged the charge current must be cut off. A continuous trickle charge would cause plating of metallic lithium, and this could compromise safety. While this advice may be easier to follow with smartphones, and especially tablets, it may not always be practical for laptops. If you are someone you leaves the laptop plugged in all the time, it’s going to harm your battery in the long term. It’s better to make sure that you’re discharging it down to 40 percent every once in a while. On the other hand, discharging the laptop as soon as the battery hits 100 percent will use up your charge cycles sooner, which is not ideal in the long run. The best option is to be practical. Discharge it occasionally, but don’t do it so religiously that your laptop is low on power when you are, say, stepping out for a meeting and might need that extra bit of juice.

4. Avoid using ultra-fast chargers:

Some devices can be charged faster using certain ultra-fast chargers, but that’s not good for your device’s health in the long term. An analogy can be made with an underpowered engine pulling a large vehicle; the stress is too large and the engine will not last.

5. Do not use knock-off chargers:

You can get a knockoff charger on the road for Rs. 50, and use it to charge a phone you paid more than Rs. 50,000 for, but there is a risk damaging your battery or, worse, actual injury. Apple even had a third party charger trade-in program to ensure that customers use original chargers.

6. Medium- to long-term storage:

If you’re not using your device for a while, then you should try to keep the battery at around 50 percent before turning it off. If you’re going for a long trip and want to leave your phone in storage, most manufacturers recommend that you should keep it in a cool place (the recommended temperature is under 32 degrees Celsius) and ideally, keep the battery at the halfway mark. Apple’s battery guide mentions that if you plan to store the device for longer than six months, you should charge it to 50 percent every six months. This is something you should do regardless of the brand of the device you are using. Unfortunately, there’s no avoiding the fact that batteries have a finite life, after which they will certainly degrade. Following these basic tips can help delay the inevitable.

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Researchers are zeroing in on three main aspects of smartphone battery technology: increasing power capacity, optimizing hardware and software, and faster charging. Different areas of the mobile industry have different ideas on which aspects deserve the most focus, but all agree that the goal is to give consumers more juice over longer periods.

Bigger Batteries:

Mobile batteries are getting bigger. Two years ago, capacity on many high-end smartphones was about 2500mAh. The Samsung Galaxy S4, which launched in 2013, has a 2,600mAh battery. Now, some smartphones are approaching or exceeding 4,000mAh capacity. China’s Lenovo announced its P90 smartphone, which features a 4,000mAh battery, at the 2015 International CES here Monday.

Quick Charging:

In 2014, some manufacturers implemented quick-charge features on their smartphones. Motorola, a subsidiary of Lenovo, launched its Nexus 6 smartphone with its branded Turbo charge feature, which can add up to six hours to a low battery in 15 minutes. Motorola’s Droid Turbo (featuring a 3,900mAh battery) can add up to eight hours of charge in 15 minutes. Lenovo’s P90 smartphone also has a quick-charge feature, which provides a 50 percent increase in charge in 30 minutes.

The Software Side:

Each new generation of smartphone includes some sort of battery optimization software to conserve power. Google implemented its Project Volta on its latest Android 5.0 Lollipop. Motorola smartphones such as the Droid Turbo and Moto X include software-based optimization features such as Active Display.  Active Display for messages allows users to drag the messages icon to open a message without turning on the entire screen, thus saving battery power.

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How to stop your battery going flat:

One of the biggest issues facing smartphone manufacturers is battery life. While software and computer chips get faster and more powerful, the technology in batteries lags far behind. As a result, batteries struggle to supply the power needed to run all the complex operations that smartphones require. Manufacturers claim that they are mindful of power usage, and try to design software that doesn’t require so much energy. However, as batteries lose 20 per cent of their power after a year, they are fighting a losing battle. The end result is that you, the user, find that your smartphone runs out of juice halfway through the day. However, there are plenty of ways in which you can make sure your smartphone doesn’t drain your battery.

1. Dim your smartphone’s screen:

The brighter your screen, the more battery power is used. Try to set your screen to a level that is visible, but not unnecessarily bright.  A screen’s brightness is one of the top contributors to draining battery life. There are several ways you can help to prevent this. Manually turn down the screen’s brightness, or alternatively, if your device has the option, turn on the automatic settings. This setting will detect the amount of light in the surrounding area and adjust the screens brightness accordingly.

2. Turn off Bluetooth, GPS and Wi-Fi when not using:

Bluetooth is a system that enables devices to connect to each other wirelessly over short distances. Most of us never use it. Go to the Settings menu and turn it off. Apps continue to run in the background even after you have exited them, meaning they are still functioning and therefore using up your battery. Use your phone’s application manager to force apps to close completely.  Bluetooth, GPS and Wi-Fi are standard functions on most phones and are some of the biggest culprits when it comes to eating battery life. Only turn Bluetooth on for as long as you need it, turn on GPS only when using to navigate, and if not actively looking to connect to Wi-Fi, change the setting to off to stop your device searching for networks.

3. Don’t leave your smartphone in the sun:

If you leave your handset in sunlight, the battery will drain faster. Keep it in a cool, well-ventilated place.

4. Switch off your notifications:

Today, most of us have smartphones that are constantly checking whether we have email, SMS or if a friend has tweeted something about us, or if another friend has done something funny on Facebook. Unless you can’t bear not to know these things instantly, go to your Settings menu and disable as many notifications as you can bear.

5. Don’t charge it at night:

Leaving your phone to charge after it reaches 100 per cent can degrade its battery’s life. So as soon as your phone hits maximum charge, unplug the charger. This means you can’t leave it to charge overnight.

6. Turn down the volume:

The louder your ring tone, the more energy your smartphone will use. Similarly, if your keyboard makes noises and vibrates when you type, turn them off via the Settings menu.

7. Use airplane mode:

If you are travelling and enter a known mobile deadspot, don’t let your smartphone use up loads of battery life as it seeks to find a signal or a strong data connection. Put your handset into ‘Airplane Mode’, which cuts it off from the outside world and will save lots of energy.

8. Keep your apps updated:

A smartphone will often say various apps need updating. As well as ironing out bugs, programs often have new features that save energy.

9. Stop apps in the background:

You’d be amazed at how many apps your smartphone likes to keep going — email, a web browser, a messaging app, Facebook, Twitter, a mapping app, a music player . . . quit as many apps as you can to save juice.

10. Turn it off:

I see no reason why a common man keeps smartphone on standby 24 hours. Do you really need your phone on all day?

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The hard truth: You’ll be lucky to get a day or two of smartphone runtime before needing to recharge:

Want to stretch battery life as far as possible? Start by dropping the screen brightness to around 50 percent. You’ll hardly notice the difference. Next, disable Bluetooth if you’re not using it, and think very hard about turning off push e-mail (automated mail retrieval at regular intervals, and a major power-suck). If you’re an Android user, turn off those cool but battery-draining animated wallpapers, then install an app like JuiceDefender . It’s free, and in my experience it works really well.

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Power bank:

A power bank is a portable charger for your devices and it is an absolute must-have product if you travel a lot. You need to be able to charge your devices if you want to fully utilize them on a single trip. Smart phones, tablets, etc., all require power after some time and a power outlet is usually not available everywhere you go. Buying and carrying spare batteries of every device is not a practical option either.  (Not to mention the extra expense over time.)  So you need to have a portable power bank of your own from which you can charge the batteries of your device(s). The better quality power banks will come with a set of connectors for different device types. So you don’t have to carry a separate cable along with the device.

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Power bank (portable charger):

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Power bank serve as an ‘extra battery’ or external charger for your phone or other electronic devices. Majority of the power banks in the market are actually made in China. You can charge your power bank via the charger that came with your phone, computer USB port or using other power bank. The higher the capacity of power bank, the longer charging time may required to fully charge it.

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A massive power bank to charge all your gadgets:

A 5,000mAh power bank can recharge your iPhone 5 battery a little over two times before it needs a trip to the power socket itself. Not bad, but compared to the Trontium Reactor, it’s a bit pathetic. This massive, $300 metallic cylinder uses a technology called USB Power Delivery, where the humble USB 3.0 connection is boosted to provide 100 watts of power to compatible devices. The 290 watt-hour power bank has three such ports on its shell, and can recharge an iPhone 50 times over before it needs a top up itself. It even has enough juice to recharge a MacBook Air five times. The Trontium Reactor is the first of its type, but we can expect other, similar products using USB Power Delivery to follow in the future.

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Breakthroughs in Batteries and Phone Charging:

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Ultra-rapid chargers make standby time irrelevant:

StoreDot gained plenty of attention when it released details about its clever, and very fast, charging system recently. How fast? A Galaxy S4 can go from zero percent to capacity in just 30 seconds, when powered by this impressive tech. Like you’d expect, it uses lots of complicated science to make this possible, and thus isn’t ready for mainstream release just yet. While the 30-second charge time grabbed the headlines, there’s an additional benefit. The charger and battery combination will take more charge/discharge cycles than current battery packs, prolonging its life and lessening the impact on the environment, our wallet, and our sanity. It’s possible StoreDot’s tech will be on sale sometime in 2016.

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Using one gadget to charge another:

Batteries require an energy source to recharge, so why not use another battery? External, portable battery packs are nothing new, but some companies are beginning to put big, fat cells inside other gadgets we actually use, ready to charge up a different device buried in our pockets. Asus started this trend in mobile with the PadFone, where the tablet section kept the phone’s battery topped up while docked. More recently, ZTE demonstrated the cool Projector Hotspot, which stuffs in a 5,000mAh battery which can recharge a connected device while it’s in use. Huawei’s Ascend Mate 2 has a feature called Reverse Charging, where the giant houses a 4,050mAh battery can give other, more feebly equipped hardware a boost in times of need.

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Using heat from our bodies to power our gadgets:

A recent development has pushed the idea of using heat from our bodies for power back into the limelight. Specifically, a research team in Korea has come up with a thermoelectric generator, which is so thin and light that it can be built into a piece of wearable electronics. It collects heat and turns it into energy, giving whatever gadget it’s attached to a never-ending stream of power.

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Cleverly optimized software:

Qualcomm’s Quick Charge 2.0 technology doesn’t extended the life of your battery, but it can make charging one a faster process. Built into its Snapdragon processors, and into specially made wall chargers, Quick Charge 2.0 promises to charge a smartphone battery 75 percent quicker than before. For example, a 3300mAh cell should take just 96 minutes to fully charge, compared to 270 minutes using a conventional charger. The downside is, both your phone and the charger need to have Quick Charge technology as standard, and there’s no backwards compatibility either.

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Smartphone screens with solar charging panels:

By adding a special layer of solar charging cells to a touchscreen, it is possible to add 15 percent to your battery just by showing it some light, either natural or artificial. Experts took a good look at the technology during CES 2014, and learned that in the future, the cells will get much stronger, and connecting a low-energy device to a charger may no longer even be necessary. Since then, the tech has made its debut in a luxury smartphone made by Tag Heuer, and more examples could follow over the coming year.

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Li-imide and silicon anode batteries:

The vast majority of modern battery powered devices, from smartphones to electric cars, are powered by Lithium-ion batteries. However, Li-ion cells are reaching their limits, and new types of batteries are waiting in the wings ready to take over. These most intriguing is the Lithium-imide cell, which can work with silicon anodes instead of the current graphite anodes. The benefits are considerable, including a drastic increase in capacity, more consistent performance, and an even longer lifespan. Silicon-anode batteries may start to be used in consumer electronics by the end of 2014.

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Battery innovation from MIT:

The current generation of rechargeable lithium-ion batteries that we all know and love (or hate) in our smartphones can be traced back to 1991, when Sony began commercializing the first lithium-ion batteries. These batteries still rely on graphite-based anodes–the part of the battery where the positive electric charge flows. The problem is that the graphite anodes are very limited with how much power they can store. SolidEnergy, a startup spun out of research and academics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, claims it has built a lithium-ion battery with an ultra-thin metal anode that hikes up the energy density of the battery to 1,200 watts-hour per liter. That’s double the amount of graphite-based anodes in lithium batteries are able to hold–less than 600 Wh/L. SolidEnergy’s anode consists of a thin piece of lithium on copper that’s less than a fifth the size of a graphite anode. The startup also provides the electrolyte–which is the substance used to move charge back and forth between the cathode and the anode for storing energy—that can work at room temperature. Other metal anode batteries have to operate at high temperatures. The size cut means that the battery could potentially double the battery life of your smartphone–or shrink down the battery portion dramatically.

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True wireless charging from across the room:

People have dreamed of wireless charging for years. There are already products that let us technically charge without wires, but who wants to set their phone on a charging station or put a special charging case on their device? Researchers in South Korea have developed a new “Dipole Coil Resonant System (DCRS)” that can charge up to 40 smartphones from 5 meters away. It will be a good while before this technology makes its way into a mainstream product we can buy (or building plans), but imagine being able to walk into your house and set your phone anywhere, comfortable knowing that it will charge itself from power in the air. This kind of technology will do for charging what Wi-Fi has done for the Internet.

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Nanotechnology in battery:

A research team in Ireland may have a solution in the form of a new nanotechnology that, as Silicon Republic reports, “doubles the life of a smartphone, laptop and electric-vehicle batteries even after being charged and discharged more than 1,000 times.” If you charge and discharge your phone once a day, that’s three years’ worth of double battery life. In fact, more than that, since a lighter smartphone user could go at least a couple of days without charging. The new technology, based on a new germanium nanowire-based anode, was developed at the University of Limerick and designed to extend the charging power and lifetimes of lithium-ion batteries. The researchers didn’t offer a timetable for when the new battery technology will be available, but since they already seem to have overcome a major issue with material expansion, it could be in production within a couple of years.

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New type of glass could double your smartphone’s battery life:

Researchers have discovered a new type of glass material that may be used as an electrode in lithium-ion batteries to almost double a smartphone’s battery life.  A material discovered by ETH Zurich researchers led by Dr Semih Afyon and Reinhard Nesper may have the potential to double battery capacity.  Researchers are using the Vanadate-borate glass as a cathode material. To produce an efficient electrode, the researcher coated the vanadate-borate powder with reduced graphite oxide (RGO). This increases conductivity while at the same time protecting the electrode particles.  One battery with an RGO-coated vanadate-borate glass electrode exhibited an energy density of around 1000 watt-hours per kilogram.  It achieved a discharge capacity that far exceeded 300 mAh/g. Initially, this figure even reached 400 mAh/g, but dropped over the course of the charge/discharge cycles. This would be enough energy to power a mobile phone between 1.5 and two times longer than today’s lithium-ion batteries.  The research was published in the journal Scientific Reports.

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Microsoft designs a lamp that could charge your smartphone:

Microsoft has designed a lamp that will detect your phone and charge it by shining a light onto its surface. Tests show the light from the lamp can replenish phones fitted with solar panels as rapidly as wired charging. Microsoft Research has built a working prototype but the charging system remains for now a proof-of-concept rather than anything that will appear in a commercially available product anytime soon. The AutoCharge system would work by using cameras to detect a phone on a desk or in a room and angling the lamp’s beam onto the smartphone’s surface. It is actually much safer than sunlight because 1) the light beam is cool light and thus causes less heat than sunlight; 2) a large part of the energy of the light beam is converted by the PV [photo-voltaic] panel into electricity and thus generates even less heat. The beam’s energy level was about 110 mW/cm2, which is only slightly higher than that of sunlight of air mass1.5 spectral irradiance. The key idea of the AutoCharge approach is identifying the opportunities of smartphone charging from a user’s existing action of putting a smartphone on a desk and automatically charging the smartphone without requiring explicit effort from the user.

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Smartphone without a battery:

New research focuses on making inexpensive, battery-free electronic devices. The key to most portable devices is the ability to send and receive signals, whether to make or accept cell phone calls, to receive television and radio signals, and to communicate with the Internet via Wi-Fi. Now researchers at the University of Washington say they can provide power too, cutting batteries from the equation. Their new technology, called Wi-Fi Backscatter, could be what will make the Internet of Things a reality. In 2013, the same group of researchers demonstrated a similar design, although without Wi-Fi, but the devices could communicate only with other devices equipped with the same technology. But with added Wi-Fi connectivity, the devices can link up with any other unit through Wi-Fi signals. Researchers have tried to collect power from radio signals for years. There’s enough energy available to run low-power circuits, but not enough to transmit signals. So researchers devised a way to have their devices communicate without actively transmitting. Instead, they send messages by recycling ambient radio waves rather than generating their own. Here’s how to make a smart phone call based on Wi-Fi Backscatter technology: The device toggles its antenna between modes that alternately absorb and reflect a signal from an accessible Wi-Fi router. The absorption cycle powers the phone from the Wi-Fi signal, while the reflective mode uses that power to send its own signal.

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My view on smartphone battery:

Battery life means two things.

1. The length of battery life before it ought to be recharged [daily battery life].

2. The length of battery life after which you ought to buy new battery [battery lifespan].

Battery completes one charge cycle when you charge it to 100 percent and drain it to 0. Batteries are designed to retain up to 80 percent of their capacity for a limited number of charge cycles (approximately 500 charge cycles). Therefore battery lifespan is approximately 500 charge cycles after which it needs to be replaced with new battery. In other words, an average smartphone battery would last 500 days provided your battery charge cycle is one day. However if you need to charge battery every 12 hours then your battery lifespan would be only 250 days. And if you use smartphone smartly, your battery charge cycle may be 2 days and therefore battery would last for 1000 days. In other words, shorter the battery charge cycle, lesser will be battery lifespan. Now what are the smart ways to increase battery charge cycle? Reduce screen brightness to minimum; avoid live wallpapers and turn off Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, GPS and notifications unless essential.

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Comparison of smartphone with tablet and PC:

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Smartphone vs. tablet vs. net book vs. laptop:

Smartphone Tablet Net book Laptop
Screen size Usually about 3.5 inches 5-11 inches 10-12 inches 11-20 inches
Makes phone calls Yes Some models can No No
Internet access Yes Yes Yes Yes
Keyboard QWERTY keyboard QWERTY keyboard on the touchscreen Mini physical keyboard Full size physical keyboard
Storage space 2-64GB 16-64GB 80-320GB 250GB-1TB
Apps Yes Yes No No
CD / DVD drive No No No Yes

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Difference between Tablet and Smartphone:

Tablets and smartphones have a number of functions that overlap, but still each has its own set of distinct features that have given rise to the popularity of each device. Tablets and smartphones both run on an operating system. The two most popular operating systems today are Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android. Tablets and smartphones both run on these systems. Apple’s range of smartphones and tablets include the iPhone and the iPad, respectively. However, there are a number of smartphones and tablets available from various manufacturers that run on Android. The major difference between smartphones and tables is their connectivity. All smartphone, nowadays, have Wi-Fi and 3G connectivity. This means that they are able to connect to the internet through a Wi-Fi signal, and are able to use the 3G networks to call, send SMS, as well as, send and download data. However, most tablets only have Wi-Fi connectivity. Some tablets do come with both Wi-Fi and 3G connectivity, but they tend to cost more. Tablets are somewhat of a cross between smartphones and laptops. They tend to have a bigger screen than smartphones and are mainly able to do everything that a smartphone can, except making calls and sending SMS. There are also some applications that only run in tablets and not in smartphones. Tablets are built to provide a rich multimedia experience and allow a user to have more computational capabilities. The screens of tablets measure between 7 – 10.5 inches. They look like a large smartphone but with additional capabilities. They also have a large internal memory. Tablets are mainly used for multimedia, watching videos, reading e-books, and surfing the internet. They feature a full virtual keyboard which is useful for online chatting, social networking and sending emails. Tablets also tend to have dual cameras, which can be used to take pictures, while the front facing camera can be used for video chatting and video calling. Basically, tablets are like a mini computer. They are able to perform most tasks that one uses a laptop for, such as surf the net, take pictures, chat with friends, send and receive emails, as well as use it as an e-Book reader. One can also use a tablet for basic computing functions, watching videos and listening to MP3 songs on the internet. Also, tablets are much more portable and lightweight than most laptops, notebooks or netbooks. The only downside to a table is that they can’t be used to make calls. Even on the ones with 3G connectivity, one has to use hands free technology, i.e. a Bluetooth headset, as a tablet is awkward to hold next to the face. Smartphone, on the other hand, fulfill their needs as a phone first. Their primary function is connectivity. They allow the user to make calls, as well as receive and send text messages. However, they also have additional capabilities, and tend to perform more like a personal digital assistant. This is mainly due to their independent operating systems that install and run advanced and complex applications. The advantage that smartphones have on tablets is their portability. Smartphones usually have a screen measuring between 3.5 – 4.3 inches. This suits the need of majority of people that carry their phones in their pockets. They also feature fast processors, large internal memory, user friendly operating systems and a full virtual QWERTY keyboard. Nowadays, most smartphones also act as a smart navigational device with features of GPS. Smartphones have the ability to store a large amount of information and media files. In addition, they are able to download and upload files at great speeds on the internet, either via 3G or Wi-Fi. They can be used to surf the net, take pictures, shoot videos, chat live with friends, social networking. They also have twin cameras for video chatting and video calling. Both smartphones and tablets are close to full computers. Due to the introduction of dual core processors and operating systems, they have the ability to do most of everything that desktops and laptops can. Their computing abilities are only restricted by a smaller display and their inability to play a CD or DVD. Smartphones and tablets have a number of similar features that tend to overlap. The major difference between smartphones and tablets is mainly that, smartphones are able to make calls, and are known for their portability. Tablets, on the other hand, are famous for their larger screens and easier web surfing, social networking and video watching capabilities.

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A smartphone is designed to be used in the hand and fit comfortably in your pocket. It’s always on you. This demands low weight, high durability, small size, long battery life, an interface that’s usable with a single thumb – the primary mode of interaction. A tablet is designed to sit on the table or lap, to be carried in a case (or backpack etc.)  Having it with you is optional.   This allows for it to be heavier, with bigger screen, shorter battery life, less durable, and more use of multi-touch in the interface. Tablet is portable while smartphone is pocketable.

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Can the smartphone replace the laptop?

Now, the smartphone might not be one’s first choice for spreadsheets and documents, but let’s face it, everybody has one (in business, anyway, all over the world), and those that have one will buy a new one sometime in the next two years as cellular contracts expire and products and wireless technologies continue their rapid evolution. The level of capability in contemporary smartphones is remarkable and continues to grow. Many people will be able to leave their laptop at the office and handle essentially all of their mobile computing and communications tasks with a pocket-sized device. Smartphones are as powerful as PCs from just a few years ago, with significantly better software, user interfaces, and flexibility. Smartphones won’t replace the laptop for typical business users, but over the next few years, many people –about 12% to 15% of business users — will be able to leave their laptop at the office and handle essentially all of their mobile computing and communications tasks with a pocket-sized device. As you might guess, size here is both an advantage and a challenge. Smartphones need to be as small as possible for mobility while still maximizing the size of the keyboard and the display. The keyboard on a smartphone, be it physical or screen-based, is obviously never going to get bigger than is acceptable for the two-thumb typing technique, although a surge in add-on Bluetooth and USB keyboards that can be quite effective for writing longer missives. The display is similarly constrained, although being able to connect (via wireless) to an external display with better resolution — the TV in one’s hotel room, for example — should become quite popular in the future. Networking, storage and processing aren’t really issues anymore, as tiny devices can have lots of each, and a connection to the Internet addresses any concerns here in the same fashion as for computer users everywhere. A much bigger issue is battery life. We have a culture surrounding the PC: From IT departments to enterprise users to just about every technology user on the planet, the PC is viewed as the mainstay of personal and corporate IT and thus a core requirement.  Mobile Internet devices might replace traditional PCs for some users but it is nevertheless very likely that we’ll still be having a PC and a smartphone for some time — well into the foreseeable future.  As Web services and cloud computing become the popular, if not dominant, model for enterprise IT, the number of people replacing their PC with smartphone will grow.

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Are Smartphones the PCs of the future?

Over the last five years, smartphones have proven that they’re immensely capable. Through the continuing miniaturization of tech and Moore’s law, smartphones are now almost as powerful as a desktop or laptop PC. In a few years, everything you do on your laptop today will be achievable on a smartphone. So why continue to use a laptop? The only real argument for a larger device, such as a laptop or tablet, is the interface. As it stands, the keyboard is still the best way of inputting data, and some activities simply can’t be performed on a 4-inch smartphone screen. This will change, though. In just the last few months, thanks to efforts made by Apple and Google, voice recognition has finally reached the stage where it can replace keyboard input. Muscle-computer interfaces, infrared keyboards, brain-computer interfaces — in the next few years, any of these could reach a maturity level that deprecates conventional keyboards. The display side of things is no different: Head-up displays (HUDs) like Google Glass, wireless contact lens displays, flexible OLED and e-ink displays, and bionic eyes all threaten to replace the 70-year-old tradition of a solid, immovable screen being the centerpiece of our interaction with multimedia. In the next few years, the reasons for keeping a laptop, desktop, or tablet, will grow very slim indeed.

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Let us compare hardware of smartphone to hardware of PC:

Smartphones enable a new, rich user experience in pervasive computing, but their hardware is still very limited in terms of computation, memory, and energy reserves, thus limiting potential applications.

Specifications of a few high-end smartphones:

Phone CPU (MHz) RAM (MB) Battery (talk time in hrs)
IPhone 3G 412 512 5
Android HTC G1 528 192 6
Blackberry Bold 624 128 4.5

Their network connectivities include Wi-Fi, UMTS, WCDMA, HSDPA, GSM/GPRS/EDGE, and Bluetooth 2.0.

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Specification of a commodity laptop and a desktop:

Computer CPU RAM
MacBook Pro Laptop 2.5GHz 2-core 4GB
Dell Precision T7400 3.3GHz 4-core 8GB

Their connectivities include 1Gbps Ethernet and Wi-Fi, and they are frequently powered from the electric grid.

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At the time above products were released, smartphones were not powerful enough to deliver a serious PC experience, but since then, two key technologies have emerged that could make this vision a reality relatively soon. The first key technology is based on the new mobile quad-core CPUs in almost all new smartphones coming from Qualcomm, Nvidia, and Intel. Although they are low-voltage processors, most of them have processors that clock in at 1.5GHz and up to 1.8GHz, which give them PC-class computing power. Sure, they are not as powerful as CPUs with much higher processing speeds, but they all have graphics cores built in and do a pretty good job of delivering PC functionality on a smartphone. The second technology is called Mobile High-Definition Link, or MHL, which is a mobile audio/video interface standard for connecting portable electronics devices to high-definition displays. This is an important technology that is supported by dozens of industry companies and is already deployed in more than 100 million smartphones. Silicon Image is the major company backing MHL chips that go into televisions, home theater systems, and all types of mobile devices. In fact, at least two of these types of products are already in the works. Korean Telecom announced its Spider Laptop shell that can connect to an Android smartphone. It uses an MHL cable for the connections that currently drives the laptop shell. At the moment, it uses its own Android phone for the connection, but it has plans to support other Android phones over time.  Samsung is also working on something like this, using the Spider Laptop reference design and tying it to its Galaxy S III smartphone. Both versions use an MHL cable from the smartphone to the Spider Laptop to power it but they could just as easily create some kind of MHL dock or even build a dock into the Spider Laptop. MHL is a powerful connection medium that could help deliver a true laptop experience via a smartphone or tablet. Together with quadcore chips, it could have major ramifications for the industry as a whole. Keep in mind that the smartphone has all of your personal data, personal UI, and personal apps; all you would need is to have this laptop shell, or a desktop monitor connected to an MHL docking stand to mirror all that is on the smartphone. While stand-alone laptops powered by their own CPUs and GPUs won’t go away, a new computing paradigm could emerge in which the smartphone actually becomes the center of our personal computing universe.

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Why your smartphone won’t be your next PC:

Yet performance does matter. For evidence, look no further than netbooks, a revolution lauded by pundits that died as soon as consumers realized the tiny computers were terribly slow. For the first time in years, consumers could hobble their PC with just a few browser tabs or by opening a YouTube video. Who wants to return to that? The processors found in smartphones are slower still, and far behind the best from AMD and Intel. An apples-to-apples performance comparison between an ARM smartphone processor and an Intel x86 processor doesn’t exist, but generally speaking, a standard-voltage Intel Core i5 laptop processor is about eight times faster, and that’s a conservative estimate. Current mobile hardware doesn’t stand a chance, and more importantly, it’s nowhere near as quick enough to provide a satisfactory PC experience. Of course, processor performance has historically increased at a rapid pace. This leads many to conclude that, while smartphones are not currently quick enough to serve as a PC replacement, they will be shortly. The new ARM Cortex A15 core has already proven itself capable in the Samsung Chromebook; why can’t the same happen with phones? The answer is power consumption. Samsung’s ARM-powered Chromebook proved itself more capable than the older Intel Atom in benchmarks, but it uses 4 watts at idle and up to 11 watts at load. That’s not much by laptop standards, but for a smartphone, it’s staggering. Smartphones measure idle consumption by milliwatts and never draw more than three watts at load. Such low power draw is necessary to provide reasonable battery life, and even so, high-end phones suck down their battery with surprising speed. During recent review of the Galaxy S4, for example, it managed no better than eleven hours on a charge.

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How are Smartphone and PC Internet users different?

An analysis conducted in July 2012 by GfK Group examined US consumers’ web activity on a smartphone vs. on a PC. The research found that in a number of categories, consumers on the two kinds of devices behaved quite similarly. Both PC and smartphone internet users spent a little under one-fifth of their internet time on email, and both allocated roughly a 10% share of time each to gaming and search. The most striking difference GfK found was that PC internet users were considerably less social than their smartphone counterparts. PC internet users spent a sizeable 18% of their internet time on social media activities, but on smartphones, social media truly dominated, accounting for a 31% share of internet time—nearly twice as much as the amount of time spent on email, the next most popular smartphone web activity. Clearly, social media is a prime reason smartphone users access the internet via mobile.

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For your personal use; how do you select a smartphone and what do you look for in it?

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Is smartphone synonymous with android?

Android and smartphones are two words have become synonymous when purchasing cell phones or any new phone. For many people, android could be just another name for a smartphone. However, this is wrong. These two words through related are quite different from each other. Android is actually an operating system that powers Google and other smartphones, while smartphone is any type of phone that allows advanced computing capability. Android is one of the major players in smartphones and has been powering many popular phones such as Samsung Galaxy series, Sony Xperia series, HTC series, and many more.

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Is smartphone synonymous with iPhone?

The iPhone is just a smart phone made by Apple. Apple produces the hardware and operating system of the phone. This gives them complete control. They have their own app store where applications are vetted before being allowed on. iPhone is the flagship phone developed and manufactured solely by Apple. The device operates on Apple’s iOS operating system and is currently in its 6th generation. The first generation or the original iPhone was announced by the company in June 2007. The iPhone became an instant success with many techies as it was technologically advanced as well as aesthetically appealing. The idea of a multi-touch screen that allowed users to directly input data on to the screen, thus eliminating the need for mouse, keyboard or keys, was conceived by then Apple CEO, Steve Jobs. He revolutionized the phone. Another new feature that was introduced by the phone was the Apple Store, an online application distribution platform that allows users to directly purchase and download applications on to the phone. The iPhones have been praised for their looks, design, performance and their tight security; however, they lack customization ability, they are strict in terms of guidelines, they are quite expensive and even if damaged, repair is quite costly. All iPhones are smartphones but all smartphones are not iPhones. Apple can be considered as one of the reasons that have boosted the popularity of smartphones in today’s society. Apple’s iPhones have started new trends and set many standards in the smartphone world.

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Is blackberry a smartphone?

Yes. All recent blackberry devices are smart phones. A smartphone is a device that combines a PDA with a phone. Most recent smartphones include other features like camera, video recorder, mp3 player, GPS, web browser, email, social network applications (Twitter, Facebook, etc)

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Comparison of prominent high-end smartphones:

Model CPU Storage capacity Removable storage RAM OS UI Size Weight Display Keyboard Camera Other GPU
Xiaomi Mi3 2.3 GHz quad-core 16 GB no external memory slot 2 GB DDR3 Android 4.4 MIUI v 5.0 144 x 73.6 x 8.1 mm 145gm 5″ 1920×1080 QWERTY 13 MP (rear camera), 2 MP (front camera) GPS glonass, F2.2 aperture camera lens, dual LED flash, NFC, Gyroscope, Barometer, Krait 400 architecture Adreno 330
iPhone 6 1.4 GHz dual-core Apple A8 16 GB, 64 GB, 128 GB no external memory slot 1 GB LPDDR3 RAM iOS 8, upgradeable to iOS 8.1.2 138.1 x 67 x 6.9 mm 129gm 4.7″ 1334×750 Soft QWERTY 8 MP (rear camera)(supporting up to 240fps slo-mo video recording), 1.2 MP (front camera) Wi-Fi :802.11 (2.4/5 GHz), Barometer, Pedometer, Lightning Reversible connector, Touch ID Fingerprint sensor, Apple Pay NFC, M8 Motion Coprocessor PowerVR Series 6 GX6450
iPhone 6 Plus 1.4 GHz dual-core Apple A8 16 GB, 64 GB, 128 GB no external memory slot 1 GB LPDDR3 RAM iOS 8, upgradeable to iOS 8.1.2 158.1 x 77.8 x 7.1 mm 172gm 5.5″ 1920×1080 Soft QWERTY 8 MP (rear camera) (with Optical Image Stabilization, supporting up to 240fps slo-mo video recording), 1.2 MP (front camera) Wi-Fi :802.11  (2.4/5 GHz), Barometer, Pedometer, Lightning reversible connector, Touch ID Fingerprint sensor, Apple Pay NFC, M8 Motion Coprocessor PowerVR Series 6 GX6450
Samsung Galaxy S5 1.9 GHz quad-core Cortex-A15 and 1.3 GHz quad-core Cortex-A7 16 GB, 32 GB microSD up to 128 GB 2 GB LPDDR3 RAM Android Android KitKat 4.4.2 upgradeable 5.0 Lollipop 142 x 72.5 x 8.1 mm 145gm 5.1″ 1920 x 1080, 432 ppi Soft QWERTY 16 MP with 4K(2160p) video recording (rear camera) 2.1 MP (front camera) Water Resistant, Micro USB 3.0, Wi-Fi :802.11 (2.4/5 GHz), Private Mode, Heart Rate Sensor ARM Mali T628MP6 or Adreno 330
Samsung Galaxy Note 4 1.9 GHz quad-core Cortex-A15 and 1.3 GHz quad-core Cortex-A7 32 GB microSD up to 128 GB 3 GB LPDDR3 RAM Android Android KitKat4.4.4 upgradeable 5.0 Lollipop 153.5 x 78.6 x 8.5 mm 176gm 5.7″ 2560 x 1440, 515 ppi Soft QWERTY 16 MP, Optical Image Stabilization, with 4K(2160p) video recording (rear camera) 3.7 MP (front camera), wide selfie mode Wi-Fi :802.11 (2.4/5 GHz), Private Mode, Heart Rate Sensor, Blood Oxygen Monitor ARM Mali T760 or Adreno 420
Sony Xperia Z3 Qualcomm Snapdragon MSM8974AC 801 @ 2.5GHz 16 GB (32 GB for D6616, D6708/Z3v, SO-01G, SOL26 and 401SO variants) microSD up to 128 GB 3 GB LPDDR3 RAM Android Android KitKat 4.4.4, Android Lollipop upgrade planned 146 x 72 x 7.3  mm 152gm 5.15″ BRAVIA IPS (1080 x 1920, 424 ppi) Soft QWERTY 20.7 MP back-side illuminated sensor with pulsed LED flash (with digital stabilisation), 4K video Wi-Fi :802.11 (2.4/5 GHz), Bluetooth LE 4.1, Near Field Communication Adreno 330
Karbonn Titanium Hexa 1.3 GHz Hexa-core Cortex-A7 16 GB microSD up to 32 GB 2 GB LPDDR3 RAM Android Android KitKat 4.4.4 upgradeable 5.0 Lollipop 5.5inch x 68.6mm x 7.9mm 146gm 5.5″ LTPS1920 x 1080, 436 ppi Soft QWERTY 16 MP, Optical Image Stabilization, with 4K video recording (rear camera) 5MP MP (front camera), wide selfie mode

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Mid-range and High-end Phones:

Techies throw these terms around like a rag doll. But, they are two distinctive classes of devices. Just like luxury cars are fraught with power and all sorts of goodies, high-end devices have the latest specs and features.  At the high end, screens got bigger, you’ve got a phenomenal amount of compute power with you now. What’s to say that in the not-too-distant future, instead of carrying two devices or three devices around, the mobile device is the thing that you carry with you. You walk in the office, you put it down, it docks with your big screen and your keyboard, and off you go. In contrast, mid-range devices can be compared to basic domestic cars – they have enough power and features for you to do the essentials – drive to work, visit friends and go to your favorite places. In a similar way, mid-range phones have enough power to not be sluggish and to provide a satisfying (sometimes fascinating) experience. Of course, from reading what’s above, you should have already assumed what a low-end device is.

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2013 Flagship Phone Specs:

•2 – 3 GB RAM

•Quad Core Snapdragon 600 or 800 Processor

•1920×1080 (1080p) HD Display

•8+ Megapixel Camera

•Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean or higher (iOS 7 for Apple devices)

High-end Device – Key Features:

•Packed with power and features

•Provides outstanding experience

•Ideal for power users

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2013 Mid-range Phone Specs:

•1-2 GB RAM

•Dual Core Snap S4 Pro Processor

•1280×720 (720p) HD Display

•8+ megapixel camera

•Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich or higher

Mid-range Device – Key Features:

•Good for saving money (retail price is often $200 or less than high-end phones)

•Provides a satisfactory experience (Not sluggish)

•Has enough features and power to do your essential tasks

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You’ve got an emerging trend of low-cost smartphones. There are literally billions of people who can now get access to them who couldn’t have afforded them previously. There’s an opportunity to create new products and improve people’s basic, fundamental way of life through having this supercomputer in your pocket the whole time. If you get that to a price point of $20, $30, then I think that opens up a new wave of innovation again. We’re seeing people building low-cost medical devices for use in the Third World — devices that use the phone for connectivity and for the screen. That will really be impactful in terms of society. So there’s a whole lot of innovation that’s going to go on at that end.

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The cheapest smartphone in the world:

Microsoft, Samsung and other smartphone makers have been racing to make smartphones more affordable for people in developing nations. As smartphone sales begin to cool off in western countries, cell phone companies have looked to fast-growing emerging regions for growth. Microsoft (MSFT, Tech30) is launching the Nokia 215 for just $29. The technology company calls the 215 the “most affordable Internet-ready phone.” The Nokia 215 smartphone has Internet connectivity and a camera. Despite its price, the Nokia 215 gets users online via the Opera Mini browser, Bing search, MSN Weather, Twitter (TWTR, Tech30) and Facebook (FB, Tech30). The phone also comes with Facebook’s Messenger service for instant notifications. The battery lasts 29 days on standby — an absolute must for some customers around the world who have infrequent access to electricity.

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What to do with old used smartphone?

Smart Things you can do with Your Old Smartphone:

Wi-Fi router:

Usually all smart phones have the technology to convert into a hotspot. The data that we use on the phone, once turned into a hotspot can be as good as a Wi-Fi router. If you have an old SIM, opt for an unlimited data plan and use it in the old phone to get yourself a portable Wi-Fi router.

Music station:

Your old 8GB smartphone is a great gadget to store music. You connect phone with plasma TV and play your favourite songs. It is also a great option when you want to listen to music while travelling without having to worry about the battery life.

GPS device:

With unlimited data plan you can use this phone for your GPS and maps. If you regularly travel to various unknown destinations, your old smartphone can be a great help. Also if you have a different phone for GPS usage you can rest assured that your current internet plan never goes off limit.

E-Reading:

If you are an avid reader, your old phone can be a great e-book reader. There are many e-books available online for free that you can store on your phone. If your old smartphone has OLED display, you can switch to night mode and enjoy reading without worrying about the battery life.

Data storage:

You can use old smartphone as a data storage device too. It can store thousands photos along with few of movies.

Portable game station:

An old smartphone is the perfect gaming device without worrying about battery life.

Digital clock:

Your old phone can turn into a smart digital clock for your desk. Download a digital clock app from the app store or play store. Go to settings>display>sleep>Never. This will let the screen be on and show the cool digital clock at all the time.

Data transfer:

You can store data in old phone. With an USB cable you can easily transfer GBs of data and keep it all handy.

Personal digital Frame:

Your old smartphone can be the perfect digital frame. Save your favourite photos in an album in your phone and view them as a slideshow. Go to settings>display>sleep>Never. Change your sleep mode from seconds to never which will enable your screen to be on and highlight the pictures all day long.

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Utility and benefits of smartphone:

Not only do smartphones connect people, with myriad of application can receive immediate information about local and global events by bringing news, stock and weather updates which will help the person to be up-to-date. Research has shown that young people feel that it is easier today than five years ago to keep up with information and the world that they live in. Smartphones can also serve live TV by the help of applications such as netTV that offer a selection of programs from around the world. In addition, there are different game applications on smartphones that are so diverse that the user will never run out of choices. Some of the game categories that smartphones offer from the simplest to the most complicated ones are action, puzzle, casual, gambling, sports and racing which help people for amusement. Smartphones can also be used to store music, books, photos and video clips and also play music, view and open documents which helps people to have access to their files whenever and wherever. 48% of adults that own smartphones listen to music using their smartphones. Smartphones have the same advantages as computers, making smartphones more preferable and influential due to their size and efficiency. The efficiency of smartphones is related with the use of the applications they offer. There are a number of applications that assist people to a particular lifestyle or a particular human activity. These applications assist people with health and fitness. There are applications that support while training, exercising or practicing a sport. As a matter of fact, there are applications that can do one’s shopping and help in travelling by booking and checking flight.

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Not only can we talk to one another on our smartphones, but we can text, play music or a game, get directions, take pictures, check e-mail, find a great restaurant, surf the Internet, watch a movie. Unlike traditional cell phones, smartphones, with their big old memories, allow individual users like you and me to install, configure and run applications, or apps, of our choosing. A smartphone offers the ability to configure the device to your particular way of doing things. The software in the old-style flip phones offers only limited choices for reconfiguration, forcing you to adapt to the way they are set up. On a standard phone, whether or not you like the built-in calendar application, you’re stuck with it except for a few minor tweaks. But if that phone were a smartphone, you could install any compatible calendar application you liked.

Here’s a list of some of the additional capabilities smartphones have, from intuitive to perhaps less so:

•Manage your personal info including notes, calendar and to-do lists

•Communicate with laptop or desktop computers

•Sync data with applications like Microsoft Outlook and Apple’s iCal calendar programs

•Host applications such as word processing programs or video games

•Scan a receipt

•Cash a cheque

•Replace your wallet. A smartphone can store credit card information and discount or membership card info

•Pay bills by downloading apps such as PayPal and CardStar

•Allow you to create a Wi-Fi network that multiple devices can use simultaneously. That means you can access the Internet from your iPad or laptop without a router or another peripheral device.

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Smartphone utility in approximate order of popularity:

1. Phone calls

2. Texting

3. Calendar

4. Playing music

5. Bluetoothing ringtones and music to friends

6. Taking videos and photos

7. Playing games

8. Browsing news and travel web sites

9. Checking email

10. Instant messaging and social (networking) applications

11. Mapping and navigation

12. Playing back FM Radio and Podcasts for spoken word entertainment while doing chores

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The benefits of smart phones:

Smart phones have become very popular in recent years. Really this should come as no surprise given how useful they are. There are a lot of benefits to having a smart phone, far more than most people realize. The truth is that few people actually get the full benefit out of their smart phone and use it primarily as a regular phone with a few extra features, there are so many other things that a smart phone can do. The biggest benefit of smart phones is that you are never out of touch. There are so many different ways that you can communicate with smart phone that people will always be able to reach. In addition to phone calls and text messaging you can communicate through email, instant messaging and chat. Not only do you have more ways to communicate but you can do it much more quickly and you can transfer much larger volumes of data than you could with a regular cell phone. This makes it much easier to do your work with your smart phone. A smart phone also allows you access to thousands of apps, this greatly increases the number of things that you can do with your phone. A smart phone is really just a portable computer and the operating system that runs most computer programs. That means that apps can be created that can do any number of things. Since the apps can be developed by third parties you do not have to rely on the phone maker to determine what the phone will be capable of doing. You can upgrade the functionality of your phone by downloading a new app. One of the reasons that a lot of people really like smart phones is all of the multimedia features. You can use your smart phone to watch movies or television or you can use it to play games. It can also be used to listen to music or read ebooks. Most people are finding that this is what they use their smart phones for the most frequently. They can watch a movie while they are on the bus for example. The portability of such a powerful multimedia platform has proved to be very popular. A lot of people are finding that a smart phone can act as portable office for them. They can make phone calls and send emails. They can also download documents or create new ones if they need to. There is also a daily planner that they can use to stay organized. Many people are finding that with a smart phone they don’t have to be in the office to do their work. This is especially beneficial for business people who have to do a great deal of travelling. All that time spent at airports can now be used productively allowing them to accomplish a lot more.

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Cortical sensory processing shaped by Smartphone: A study:

When people spend time interacting with their smartphones via touchscreen, it actually changes the way their thumbs and brains work together, according to a new report. More touchscreen use in the recent past translates directly into greater brain activity when the thumbs and other fingertips are touched, the study shows. While neuroscientists have long studied brain plasticity in expert groups–musicians or video gamers, for instance–smartphones present an opportunity to understand how regular life shapes the brains of regular people. It all started when Ghosh and his colleagues realized that newfound obsession with smartphones could be a grand opportunity to explore the everyday plasticity of the human brain. Not only are people suddenly using their fingertips, and especially their thumbs, in a new way, but many of us are also doing it an awful lot, day after day. Not only that, but our phones are also keeping track of our digital histories to provide a readymade source of data on those behaviors. The results suggest to the researchers that repetitive movements over the smooth touchscreen surface reshape sensory processing from the hand, with daily updates in the brain’s representation of the fingertips. And that leads to a pretty remarkable idea: Researchers propose that cortical sensory processing in the contemporary brain is continuously shaped by personal digital technology. What exactly this influence of digital technology means for us in other areas of our lives is a question for another day. The news might not be so good, Ghosh and colleagues say, noting evidence linking excessive phone use with motor dysfunctions and pain.

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Mobile social media:

Most of us are well versed in the desktop versions of social sites like Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and Pinterest. But without a smartphone, you are missing out on 50% of the fun. A smartphone allows you to upload photos, videos, and statuses regardless of location, while larger, better-quality screens make the experience that much more enjoyable. You can also join the growing group of people that “check in” at physical locations and events.

Facebook phone:

A long-rumored smartphone project from Facebook that officially debuted in April 2013 not as a stand-alone mobile device but instead as a collection of Facebook apps for use on Android-powered smartphones. While still referred to by some pundits as Facebook Phone, Facebook’s official moniker for the service is Facebook Home. Facebook Phone brings the social network’s most popular features to the front and center of an Android user’s smartphone, providing a stream of Facebook posts, photos and links on the phone’s home screen or lock screen. While Facebook is rumored to be working with Apple to create a version of Facebook Home for the iPhone, most believe that Facebook doesn’t have any plans to create its own Facebook Phone mobile device.

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Smartphone and communication:

Technology sees great changes every day. This is merely to meet the demands of humans who look forward to make things much advanced to make their lifestyle simple and updated. In today’s contemporary society, you can witness the role of smartphones in establishing communication channels across seas and borders. It has significantly transformed the mode of communication and has made it much effective at people’s convenience. Rather than just saying smartphones are sophisticated means of communication it can be considered more as a tool for social presence and better exposure. Smartphones are special and popular for the applications they support. People feel that they are better positioned to interact with people who are linked to different Social Medias. People prefer smartphones mainly due to the advantages they get through media platforms. Social Medias show you a unique avenue to execute things at the right time. Smartphones and social media have been key factors in offering:

•Better way to communicate with people

•Opportunity to learn new things

•Ease of using several applications

•Getting exposed on a global scale

•Social responsibility and personality development

•Business development

•Learning and career growth

Getting connected to social Medias helps people improve them in all aspects. It provides a new avenue to interact with people and also paves way to get better ideas. You drift away the complex in you and develop a positive attitude to develop personally to favor social growth. It builds up a strong bond in your professional life helping you to grow higher in quick time. Any advancement integrates in it positive and negative impacts. However it is in people’s hands to take the best for them. Smartphones are without any doubts excellent means of communication. It is also important to change a society that runs only with less manual interaction and prefers smartphone usage completely. It is good to make best use of the smartphones rather than becoming too much succumbed to the development and usage of smartphones and its applications.

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Email on the go:

Many of our conversations still take place through email, but people with a basic phone leave those conversations behind the second they walk out the door. A smartphone allows you to send and receive email from multiple accounts wherever you are. You’ll find the real value in this when, for example, your friends need to discuss afternoon meet-up locations and you’ve been out running errands since breakfast.

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Swipe credit cards:

Friend owes you $20 bucks? Not having cash is no longer a viable excuse for not paying up. An explosion of mobile payment apps (coupled with free hardware) now allow almost anyone to swipe credit cards using their smartphone. And transaction costs are usually cheaper than the average fee at the register. Anyone with something to sell (DIY crafters, service contractors, artists, etc.) can now accept payments anytime, anywhere.

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Accept Credit Cards:

Purchasing a credit card processor can be expensive and inhibit your movements. Applications are now available that allow you to accept credit card payments with the use of a small gadget that plugs into your phone. In addition to these, your Smartphone can hold information on all the things in your wallet, and can act as a universal remote control or even a car remote.

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Mobile Hotspot:

Many Smartphones have the ability to create a Wi-Fi network that can support a number of devices (computers, tablets, or phones) at the same time. While there is an additional fee for this service, the convenience of not having to look for a business that offers Wi-Fi service is certainly worth it for many people. No need to download an app for this service; it is built into the phone or device.

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Second screen:

A second screen refers to the use of a computing device (commonly a mobile device, such as a tablet or smartphone) to provide an enhanced viewing experience for content on another device, such as a television. In particular, the term commonly refers to the use of such devices to provide interactive features during “linear” content, such as a television program, served within a special app or real-time video highlights on social networking apps such as Facebook and Twitter. The use of a second screen supports social television.

Applications:

Many applications in the “second screen” are designed to give another form of interactivity to the user and another way to sell advertising content.

Some examples include:

•Transmission of the Masters Golf Tournament, application for the iPhone (rating information and publicity)

•TV programs broadcast live tweets and comment

•Synchronization of audiovisual content via web advertising

•Applications that extend the content information

•Shows that add on their websites, content devoted exclusively to the second screen

•Applications that synchronize the content being viewed to the portable device

•Video game console playing with extra data, such as a map or strategy data, that synchronize with the content being viewed to the portable device

•TV discovery application with recommendation, EPG (live content), personalization.

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Print and scan using smartphone:

Print from a Smartphone:

Given the wide range of applications that smartphones can run, you may find yourself needing to print from them. Whether you need to print out a document for work or just want to make a copy of a snapshot that you can put in a frame, printing from your smartphone is a desirable feature. Depending on your printer and your smartphone, you can probably find a way to print directly without needing an intervening computer.

Portable Printers:

Some small, portable printers are optimized to print from smartphones. While some of these devices are designed only to print small photographs, others are smaller versions of regular printers and can print pages. They may connect to your smartphone with a USB cable or, in many cases, they can connect to your smartphone over Bluetooth.

Wi-Fi Printers:

Wi-Fi capable printers frequently have smartphone applications that accompany them. As long as your smartphone is on the same wireless network, you can send what you want to print directly to the printer. The applications for these printers frequently have limited functionality though, and may only print certain files or print from certain applications.

AirPrint:

If you have an iOS smartphone or tablet, you can take advantage of Apple’s AirPrint functionality. AirPrint printers have wireless connections like regular wireless printers, but add the ability to directly print from any AirPrint compatible application.

Printing Services:

Your smartphone can also print through Internet- and kiosk-based printing services. These services frequently have applications that sit on your phone and serve as a go between, taking data from your smartphone and delivering it to a nearby printer. Some of these services are free of charge, while others connect you to printers that charge on a per-page basis.

Setting up Google Cloud Print on Chrome:

Google Cloud Print uses a background app on Android phones to forward printing requests to a proxy computer via the Google Chrome browser. Devices running Android 2.1 and later support Cloud Print. Setting it up requires configuring both the computer and phone. To configure the computer, launch Chrome, open the “Menu” button, choose “Settings,” select “Show Advanced Settings,” then click “Add printers.” Log in to the same Google Account that the phone uses and click “Add Printers” to complete the process.

Using Google Cloud Print for Android:

Install the Google Cloud Print app from the Google Play Store on the phone. After installing Cloud Print, open the Settings app and select the “Printing” option. Tap “Cloud Print” and move the toggle switch to the “On” position. You can print from your apps once Cloud Print is enabled: For example, the Chrome and Gmail apps support printing. You can print in Chrome by opening the Settings menu and selecting “Print.”

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Scan With a Smartphone:

Scanning receipts, business cards, checks for deposit, and barcodes for a price check reduces the mountains of paper you have to contend with. There are hordes of apps for scanning that allow you to scan and store or sync any type of document. Using one of a few possible smartphone apps, you can convert pictures you take of documents on your smartphone directly to a PDF. This way, you do not have to search for a scanner if you need to put a physical signature on a document before sending it back to someone. Some of the apps are free for a trial period; some are free if you are willing to tolerate watermarks on the document or advertisements on the app screen when you’re using it. CamScanner, DocSanner and Google Drive have versions for iOS, Android and Windows Phone. There are many other alternative apps, which may work only on one of those platforms, but will produce similar results. If the other options are not suitable for you, you can simply take a picture of your document and then transfer that picture to your computer. Once the picture is on your computer, open either Microsoft Word or Apple Pages and insert your picture into a document. The Print menu on either program will then allow you to save your file as a PDF.

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Smartphone as a remote control:

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Remote Control of PC using smartphone:

Mobile Apps for Desktop PC Remote Control:

There are mobile apps for smartphones that let you access apps and files on your desktop PC. One of the main benefits of the modern world of mobile computing and the cloud is how it is designed to free users from their traditional desktop computers. However, sometimes there are specific applications that a person needs that are only available on his or her desktop, and there are certain files that many users would rather not put on cloud-based services.  So, how can a user enjoy the freedom of mobile devices while still being able to access the applications and files that are on a desktop system? The answer is through the use of remote control applications.  Remote control applications have long been a popular option for connecting laptops and home PCs to remote systems, but typically these have been, for example, accessing a Windows system from another Windows system. But with the rise in power and capabilities of smartphones and mobile operating systems, it is now possible to remotely access and control desktop systems from a smartphone. These apps range in capability from full-fledged remote control tools to apps designed to consume video and music to programs that turn a smartphone into something akin to a television remote control. With these apps, users can enjoy the freedom of mobility while still being able to access applications and files on their traditional desktop systems (just make sure to remember to leave those systems on when you are out and about).  That’s quite easy using any Android Smartphone and Windows PC that has Wi-Fi or Bluetooth. A few apps on Google Play makes your smartphone a universal remote to control any Windows machine giving access to all major features of Windows PC without even touching it. These apps uses Wi-Fi or Bluetooth connection, server and client app to set up and control windows PC/ laptop.

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The figure below shows how a PC can be controlled by a smartphone using apps:

 

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How to access your computer from your Android smartphone using Chrome Remote Desktop:

Google has brought its Chrome Remote Desktop client to Android. Google’s software is reliable, useful, and relatively easy to set up.

Here’s what you need to get started:

•A computer running Chrome. It can be a Mac, a Windows machine, or a Chromebook. (Linux support should be on its way)

•An Android device running Android 4.0 or above

•An active internet connection on both devices. Note that having both devices connected to the same local network won’t bypass this requirement

•To be logged in with the same Google account on both the Android device and the Chrome browser on the computer you’re about to control remotely

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How to control a computer remotely using your iPhone or Android smartphone:

TeamViewer was the app that saved the evening. It allows you to control a PC or a Mac remotely, be it from an iPhone, an Android smartphone, or another computer. You have to download TeamViewer on both the computer you want to control and on the device you want to access it from. The quickest way to get the computer ready to be controlled remotely is to run the application instead of installing it. You do that by selecting “Run” instead of “Install” during setup. Once you accept the agreement, a window will appear showing your temporary ID and a password. Run TeamViewer on the computer you want to control remotely.  A TeamViewer client can be downloaded on an iPhone, iPad, or an Android smartphone or tablet. Just go back to the page where you dowlonaded the PC/Mac application from and hit that “Mobile” tab. Download links for Android and iOS are available there. You do that by opening the mobile app and entering the credentials given to you by the desktop application. Note that you don’t necessarily have to be connected to the same local or wireless network, it works over the internet too! Once you are connected, the computer’s desktop will magically appear on your smartphone or tablet’s screen. At the same time, the desktop application will inform you of the ongoing session with a pop-up window.

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Start your car remotely:

Viper SmartStart for your car enables you to lock, unlock or start the vehicle using iOS, Android or BlackBerry smartphones. To make it work, you will need the Viper security system and smartphone module installed in your car. The app also remembers where your car is parked and provides directions on your phone using augmented reality. Currently, SmartStart works only with the USbased GSM providers, though the company is working on making the app work everywhere.

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Control other devices like TV with your infrared equipped phone:

More and more Android phones are being released with infrared blasters, particularly high end handsets like the Samsung Galaxy S4 and HTC One. If your phone has one of these, then in theory it can control anything that responds to infrared signals. You’ll likely find that your phone already has an app that makes use of it hidden away somewhere, for example on the Samsung Galaxy S4 you’re looking for ‘WatchON’, which can be programmed to control your TV or set top box.

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Smartphone app to be used as hotel room keys:

The hotel group Starwood is to begin giving hotel guests the option to by-pass check-in and simply use their smartphones to enter their hotel rooms. The chain has upgraded 30,000 room locks in its nearly 150 hotels to work with the system, which uses Bluetooth technology. Rival chain Hilton is planning a similar move early next year for the 600,000 rooms in its portfolio. The technology’s developer says that it uses its own encrypted secure channel to ensure thieves cannot abuse the innovation. But experts have reservations. Nothing is 100% secure, and once this technology is in widespread use it will make a very tasty target for hackers. It may be more secure than a standard hotel swipe card lock but use of strong security features such as AES encryption and ‘rotating keys’ does not mean someone won’t find an alternate way in. However, traditional hotel door locks have been defeated with tools as simple as a wire.

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Camera as an interaction device:

The cameras of smartphones are used as input devices in numerous research projects and commercial applications. A commercially successful example is the use of QR Codes (vide supra) attached to physical objects. QR Codes can be sensed by the phone using its camera and provide an according link to related digital content, usually a URL. Another approach is using camera images to recognize objects. Content-based image analysis is used to recognize physical objects such as advertisement posters to provide information about the object. Hybrid approaches use a combination of unobstrusive visual markers and image analysis. An example is to estimate the pose of the camera phone to create a real-time overlay for a 3D paper globe. On recent camera phones it is even feasible to provide an augmented reality overlay for 2D objects and to recognize multiple objects on the phone using a stripped down object recognition algorithm as well as using GPS and compass. Auto-geotagging can show where a picture is taken, promoting interactions and allowing a photo to be mapped with others for comparison. Besides the usual back camera, almost all camera phones have a front camera facing the user for purposes including videoconferencing and mainly for self-portraiture (selfie which become trendy today).

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Smartphone as game console:

In the US alone, smartphone gaming has around 126 million players, making it one of the most popular segments. By 2016 that’s expected to rise to 144 million, according to a report by MediaBrix, which would equate to more than 8 in 10 smartphone users. So why such a sudden surge in popularity? Are games getting better or are we just spending more time at bus stops and doctor’s waiting rooms? One of the main reasons is cost: games are cheaper to buy on smartphones than their PC or console counterparts. They’re also a lot cheaper to make in general, meaning that the various app stores, particularly Google Play and the Apple App Store, have become flooded with an enormous selection of titles. Then there’s the fact that, according to eMarketer, 48.4% of the UK population have a smartphone, essentially meaning that almost 1 in 2 people will already have a device capable of playing portable games, rather than needing to invest in extra hardware. The difference in screen sizes means that smartphones don’t necessarily need to be as powerful as consoles to deliver high end graphics, as while smartphone games may not look great blown up on a big screen, the small display size of a phone hides many of the rough edges and lets them shine. Even though smartphone games may not be able to compete graphically with most recent console games, top end smartphones are certainly at least as powerful as older consoles such as the Xbox and the PS2; in fact they’re actually quite a bit more powerful on some metrics. The PS2, for example, had just a 300 MHz processor, a 147 MHz Graphics Synthesizer GPU and 32 MB of RAM. Compare that to the Samsung Galaxy S4, which has a 1.9 GHz quad-core processor, a 400 MHz Adreno 320 GPU and 2 GB of RAM and, on paper, smartphones should be way ahead. There are certainly benefits to gaming on a phone, but if you truly want to replicate the big screen and controller experience of playing on a console you can potentially do that too. There are a variety of controllers available that are compatible with, or in some cases even designed specifically for smartphones. Can smartphone gaming be as good as console gaming?  The short answer is not yet, but there’s a lot of hope for the future. Right now the overall experience of smartphone gaming is not as good as console gaming. Most smartphone games are substantially worse and their touchscreen control schemes are often clunky. Consoles will always have a place in the living room, while smartphones look set to become the gaming system of choice just about everywhere else.

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You can use your smartphone as a level:

Most smartphones include an accelerometer, which is used to identify your phone’s orientation, so that for example the screen will know when to auto rotate.  However it can also be used as a spirit level. If you have an Android or BlackBerry phone you can download apps to do this, but if you have an Apple device running iOS 7 the function is built right in. Having said that, you might be hard pushed to find it, as to get to it, you first have to launch the compass app and then swipe across to a second screen. It’s not the most obvious location but now you know where it is, you can get to work checking your bed/table/sofa/TV/house/cat is level.

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Use your Galaxy S4 to check temperature and humidity:

The Samsung Galaxy S4 is packed full of useful and not so useful features, but one that you might have missed is its temperature and humidity sensors. The data from these is buried in the S Health app, under the heading ‘Comfort Level’. The idea is that the sensors are used to judge whether you’re comfortable in your current environment. It’s an odd use for an unusual feature, but it can be interesting to see the temperature and humidity of your surroundings and whether you’re likely to be comfortable in them, particularly if you use it to judge a good time and location to start a workout.

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You can give your phone visual voicemail:

You might have visual voicemail already and if not you’re missing out. Smartphone users can get access to it by downloading an app, such as ‘HulloMail’, which is available for iPhone, Android and BlackBerry. It displays your voicemail as a menu, allowing you to tap a message to play it rather than having to listen to every message in order. You can also pause, fast forward and rewind messages and the app even allows you to view voicemails as text, though that latter function isn’t free.

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App to tell you if your friend’s smartphone is on:

Here comes an app that determines if your phone or your friend`s smartphone is on with over 99 percent accuracy. Billed as ON?, it also tells you if your phone is off. Just send a text through the ON? app to your friend, and they will be able to text you back through ON? to tell you their power status. If your friend`s phone is off, the message “Is your phone on?” will be delivered the next time they open the app. You should not have to turn something off and then back on again to know that it is on. You want to know that your phone is on, reliably and safely, without all the fuss. With the app, you can also find out which of your friends` phones are turned on and share the results with your social media friends.

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Smartphone App helps Visually Impaired to avoid Low-Hanging Obstacles: Blind Alert:

A smartphone app may provide a new answer to an old problem for the visually impaired: tree branches at head height. While guide dogs and walking canes can prevent a person from tripping over objects on the ground, they’re little help for spotting branches hanging over a sidewalk or a partially open garage door. Computer scientists in Spain have developed an app, called Aerial Object Detection, that recognizes and monitors head-level obstacles as a blind person approaches them. Users wear the smartphone like a necklace, with the camera facing out. A horizontal swipe across the screen selects the type of navigation: telemeter or obstacles. The first works for indoors, beeping or vibrating the phone as a person approaches an obstacle like a wall or an open cabinet. The obstacles mode detects danger outdoors. The app uses the phone’s 3D camera to scan the oncoming landscape. A tree branch becomes a cloud of points, and since the camera perceives depth, the app can figure out the absolute distance between a walker and the object. At the same time, motion sensors calculate the person’s heading and speed, so the app can time and tailor the alert.

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Smartphone technology to improve hearing devices:

Current hearing assistive devices are able to fit inside or behind the ear, but come with small, not very powerful processors to keep the device small, low power and low cost. On the other hand, smartphones used by billions of people have very powerful processors and other features such as large memories, microphones, speakers, wireless technology and long-lasting batteries that could aid HAD (hearing assistive devices) wearers. HAD algorithms can differentiate between a limited number of noises. More sophisticated algorithms are needed to cover more types of background noise signals, and these algorithms for noise classification and speech enhancement require more powerful processors and additional power consumption—the capabilities that smartphones can provide. Researchers are especially interested in the automatic classification of various background noise signals and enhancement of both quality and intelligibility of speech signals in noisy environments and crowded places. Current hearing aids don’t enhance speech signals optimally in an automatic manner. Researchers are working on a wide collection of smartphone apps to be used in conjunction with hearing aid devices to help improve the quality of life of people who wear hearing assistive devices (HAD), including hearing aids, cochlear implants and personal sound amplifiers.

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Smartphone technology improves prosthetic limbs:

Losing a limb can be a devastating experience, and while electrically powered prostheses can serve as a replacement for a lost arm, they are notoriously difficult to operate, and will never fully replace normal hand function. An accelerometer is a tool for detecting changes in gravity or velocity, and enables a device to determine its orientation. Accelerometers are relatively inexpensive, and are widely used in everything from video consoles to smartphones. The accelerometer in your smartphone helps it determine whether you want to look at a photograph in a portrait or landscape format, for example. Oyvind Stavdahl, an associate professor at NTNU’s Department of Engineering Cybernetics and Anders Fougner, a PhD candidate in the department, has shown that when an accelerometer is used in electrically powered prosthetic arm, it is easier for the user to recognize exactly how the arm is oriented in space.

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Wireless gas detection with a smartphone via RF communication: 2014:

Chemical sensing is of critical importance to human health, safety, and security, yet it is not broadly implemented because existing sensors often require trained personnel, expensive and bulky equipment, and have large power requirements. A study reports the development of a smartphone-based sensing strategy that employs chemiresponsive nanomaterials integrated into the circuitry of commercial near-field communication tags to achieve non-line-of-sight, portable, and inexpensive detection and discrimination of gas-phase chemicals (e.g., ammonia, hydrogen peroxide, cyclohexanone, and water) at part-per-thousand and part-per-million concentrations.

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Smartphone instrument for portable enzyme- linked immunosorbent assays: 2014:

Researchers demonstrate the utilization of a smartphone camera as a spectrometer that is capable of measuring Enzyme Linked Immunosorbent Assays (ELISA) at biologically-relevant concentrations with the aid of a custom cradle that aligns a diffraction grating and a collimating lens between a light source and the imaging sensor. Two example biomarkers are assayed using conventional ELISA protocols: IL-6, a protein used diagnostically for several types of cancer, and Ara h 1, one of the principle peanut allergens. In addition to the demonstration of limits of detection at medically-relevant concentrations, a screening of various cookies was completed to measure levels of peanut cross-contamination in local bakeries. The results demonstrate the utility of the instrument for quantitatively performing broad classes of homogeneous colorimetric assays, in which the endpoint readout is the color change of a liquid sample.

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KeyMe app to make duplicate key:

The KeyMe app, among others, is designed to help you if you lose your keys, but critics say it has a potentially dangerous dark side. The smart phone app lets you make back-up copies of your house and car keys just by taking a picture of them. You then send those photos, via the Internet, back to the KeyMe, or to a locksmith the company work with. Your back-up keys can then be duplicated in a matter of minutes. They’re either returned to you via courier or made right there at your local locksmith shop. In New York City you can have the keys duplicated at one of KeyMe’s kiosks. Anyone can make a copy. They tell you to lay the key down, take a photo, flip the key over, take another photo — done. It only takes a few seconds.  But, what if someone else clandestinely uses the app to take a picture of your keys?  It could be a valet driver, a mechanic who has access to your keys for a short period of time. They could order a key, they have your address, and they could return to your home at a later date. The CEO of KeyMe, Greg Marsh, defends the app saying just ordering the keys leaves a digital trail. The ordering process requires a credit card, but, as critics point out, stolen credit cards are used by crooks every single day. KeyMe started in New York City and is branching out across the country as it grows in popularity. The company points out that since they’ve been in business the app has not been linked to a single burglary or mentioned on any crime report.

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Measure Your Heart Rate:

Back in the day you would hold two fingers to the artery in your neck or arm, count the heartbeats and time them with a wristwatch. Who wears wristwatches anymore? Never mind that, who does math in their heads anymore? You don’t need a watch or the ability to multiply if you use the Instant Heart Rate app. Simply touch the screen with your finger and the phone’s camera will scan your blood flow to calculate your pulse rate.

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Identify Just About Anything: Google Goggles app:

Forgot the name of that thingamajig? Put on your Google Goggles and let the world’s biggest search engine remember it for you. Here’s how it works. Take a photo of the unknown object with the camera in your smartphone then upload it to the web via Google Goggles. The photo is then matched against the search engine’s database to make a quick ID. You don’t even have to type anything. It’s especially useful for translating foreign text. Goggles is a mobile-only app, primarily because it’s rather difficult to lift your desktop computer to take a picture of a landmark 30 miles away from home. Goggles is an Internet visual search. Snap a picture and then let Google’s algorithms do the brainstorming to figure out whatever it is that you see.

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Use it as a Mouse and Keyboard:

It’s not exactly a magic wand, but Mobile Mouse Pro comes pretty close. This app lets you control your computer using your smartphone as a remote mouse and keyboard. It uses the accelerometer in your phone so you can wave it in the air and move the mouse pointer on your computer screen. If you prefer, you can use your phone’s screen as a touchpad or call up the on-screen keyboard to type in some text. Note: In order to make it work you also have to install special client software on your computer.

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Dodge Speed Traps:

For those with a lead foot, this app could save you from yet another speeding ticket. Relying on information gleaned from the millions of people who use this app, Trapster maintains a massive database of known police enforcement points all over the continent. Simply check the map and drive accordingly. Just try not to use this app while you’re behind the wheel or you may end up with an even bigger fine than for speeding (many cities will ticket you for using your cell while driving).

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Store Business Cards:

Business cards seem so analog in this hyper-connected day and age, but plenty of people still hand them out. The problem with cards is that they start to pile up and you can never find the one you want when you need it. With CardMunch, an app offered by popular networking site LinkedIn, you can instantly digitize them using your smartphone’s camera.

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Pay with your Smartphone using Softcard:

Instead of cramming all that plastic into your wallet, use Softcard™ to safely store compatible payment card data on your smartphone. NFC technology enables your phone to communicate with checkout terminals at more than 200,000 locations across the US, same locations Apple Pay accepted. You can pay for products and services without even reaching for your wallet.

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Measure speed, height and distance of objects:

Have you wanted to get your hands on a radar gun, like the ones used by baseball scouts or the police? With your smartphone, you can measure the speed of moving objects with the apps Speed Gun (Android™) and SpeedClock (iOS). Great for sporting events like baseball, football or track and field. There are also a couple of nifty smartphone apps that will measure the height and distance of objects using your camera lens. Android users can check out Smart Measure Pro, while iOS users can try Dot Measure Pro.

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Social impact of taking a photograph with smartphone (camera phone):

Personal photography allows people to capture and construct personal and group memory, maintain social relationships as well as expressing their identity. The hundreds of millions of camera phones sold every year provide the same opportunities, yet these functions are altered and allow for a different user experience. As mobile phones are constantly carried, camera phones allow for capturing moments at any time. Mobile communication also allows for immediate transmission of content (for example via Multimedia Messaging Services), which cannot be reversed or regulated. While phones have been found useful by tourists and for other common civilian purposes, as they are cheap, convenient, and portable; they have also posed controversy, as they enable secret photography. A user may pretend to be simply talking on the phone or browsing the internet, drawing no suspicion while photographing a person or place in non-public areas where photography is restricted, or perform photography against that person’s wishes. At the same time, camera phones have enabled every citizen to exercise her or his freedom of speech by being able to quickly communicate to others what she or he has seen with their own eyes. In most democratic free countries, there are no restrictions against photography in public and thus camera phones enable new forms of citizen journalism, fine art photography, and recording one’s life experiences for facebooking or blogging. Camera phones have also been very useful to street photographers and social documentary photographers as they enable them to take pictures of strangers in the street without them noticing, thus allowing the artist/photographer to get close to her or his subjects and take more liveful photos. While most people are suspect of secret photography, artists who do street photography (like Henri Cartier-Bresson did), photojournalists and photographers documenting people in public (like the photographers who documented the Great Depression in 1930s America) must often work unnoticed as their subjects are often unwilling to be photographed or are not aware of legitimate uses of secret photography like those photos that end up in fine art galleries and journalism. As a network-connected device, megapixel camera phones are playing significant roles in crime prevention, journalism and business applications as well as individual uses. They can also be used for activities such as voyeurism, invasion of privacy, and copyright infringement. Because they can be used to share media almost immediately, they are a potent personal content creation tool. On January 17, 2007, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced a plan to encourage people to use their camera-phones to capture crimes happening in progress or dangerous situations and send them to emergency responders. Through the program, people will be able to send their images or video directly to 911. Apart from street photographers and social documentary photographers or cinematographers, camera phones have also been used successfully by war photographers. The small size of the camera phone allows a war photographer to secretly film the men and women who fight in a war, without them realizing that they have been photographed, thus the camera phone allows the war photographer to document wars while maintaining her or his safety.

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Enforcing bans on camera phones has proven nearly impossible. They are small and numerous and their use is easy to hide or disguise, making it hard for law enforcement and security personnel to detect or stop use. Total bans on camera phones would also raise questions about freedom of speech and the freedom of the press, since camera phone ban would prevent a citizen or a journalist (or a citizen journalist) from communicating to others a newsworthy event that could be captured with a camera phone. From time to time, organizations and places have prohibited or restricted the use of camera phones and other cameras because of the privacy, security, and copyright issues they pose. Such places include the Pentagon, federal and state courts, museums, schools, theaters, and local fitness clubs. Saudi Arabia, in April 2004, banned the sale of camera phones nationwide for a time before reallowing their sale in December 2004 (although pilgrims on the Hajj were allowed to bring in camera phones). There is the occasional anecdote of camera phones linked to industrial espionage and the activities of paparazzi (which are legal but often controversial), as well as some hacking into wireless operators’ network. Camera phones have also been used to discreetly take photographs in museums, performance halls, and other places where photography is prohibited. However, as sharing can be instantaneous, even if the action is discovered, it is too late, as the image is already out of reach, unlike a photo taken by a digital camera that only stores images locally for later transfer (however, as the newer digital cameras support Wi-Fi, a photographer can perform photography with a DSLR and instantly post the photo on the internet through the mobile phone’s Wi-Fi and 3G capabilities).

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Mobile medical applications:

The widespread adoption and use of mobile technologies is opening new and innovative ways to improve health and health care delivery. Mobile applications (apps) can help people manage their own health and wellness, promote healthy living, and gain access to useful information when and where they need it. These tools are being adopted almost as quickly as they can be developed. According to industry estimates, 500 million smartphone users worldwide will be using a health care application by 2015, and by 2018, 50 percent of the more than 3.4 billion smartphone and tablet users will have downloaded mobile health applications. These users include health care professionals, consumers, and patients. Mobile medical apps are medical devices that are mobile apps, meet the definition of a medical device and are an accessory to a regulated medical device or transform a mobile platform into a regulated medical device. Consumers can use both mobile medical apps and mobile apps to manage their own health and wellness. The Smartphone, both iPhones and Androids, have changed the way medicine is practiced on many levels.

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Information technology is finding many applications in the field of health and Medicine. Recently, short message service (SMS) communication has demonstrated its usefulness in helping people to stop smoking. Smartphone applications designed to assist healthcare personnel both in training and in decision making processes in daily clinical practice and in emergency care are increasing, and there is already some evidence of their usefulness. Such applications have also been used in patient care for monitoring biological parameters, detecting falls in the elderly, preventing cognitive impairment  and monitoring diabetes , as well as in cardiac rehabilitation  and also in the promotion of physical activity and the management of. Communication based on the use of mobile phones, and especially smartphones, has a strong potential to transform healthcare and clinical interventions in the community. However, its effectiveness needs to be evaluated in multicenter clinical trials, as recommended by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA), in a way similarly to what is done with drug substances. A meta-analysis of the use of information technology in dietetic evaluation has concluded that it could improve dietary assessment in some population groups, though improved validity and reliability is required in evaluating micronutrients. Many applications have been developed in the field of health, and specifically in relation to diet and exercise, destined for use by the general population. Although the acceptance and ease of use of such applications has been evaluated among young adults for the registry of eating habits and physical activity, they have not been tested in other population types, and little is known of their effectiveness in relation to health outcomes. Few studies have validated these tools, though some investigations are presently in course. Even less work has been done to explore the impact of such applications in relation to increased physical activity and improved eating habits, and hence in terms of improvement of the health of the people who use them.

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The past few years have shown the multiplicity of uses of the Smart Phone:

1) Viewing Images: MRI, x-ray, but should not be used to diagnose

2) Monitors: constant glucose readings from sensors under the skin (CGM)

3) Diagnostic Tools: ECG strips, ECG with attachments

4) Microscope: with lens attachment, with 350X

5) Access Patient Records

6) e-Prescribing

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Patient Care and Monitoring:

There are several examples of the use of the smartphone’s features for patient monitoring. One such example involved patients with Alzheimer disease. An attempt to deal with the risk of wandering was proposed with the use of the Android app iWander. The app works by using the smartphone’s GPS to track the patient at all times. The patient’s age, level of dementia and home location on the GPS are input into the software. If the GPS detects that the patient is away from his or her home (for example, uncharacteristically late in the day or during inclement weather), the algorithm may predict that the patient has become confused. The app then requests that the patient manually confirm his or her status. Not providing confirmation triggers an alarm that notifies the patient’s family and primary care doctor or contacts emergency personnel. The smartphone has also been used in rehabilitation. Using smartphones connected via Bluetooth to a single-lead electrocardiograph (ECG) device, patients who were unable to attend traditional hospital-based rehabilitation were monitored in real time through their smartphones while they exercised in their own neighborhoods. Shoes fitted with sensors that communicate with the smartphone were used to follow the activity level of patients who have recently had a stroke. The smartphone’s accelerometer can be used to interpret gait and balance of patients. Another study entailed connecting a single-lead ECG to a smartphone to diagnose and follow treatment with sleep apnea, providing a possible alternative to costly and labor-intensive polysomnography.  Patients with type 1 diabetes are also among those who could benefit from smartphone technology, by using Diabeo. Diabeo is an app that collects information such as self-measured plasma glucose, carbohydrate counts, and planned physical activity prior to making insulin dosing recommendations. The use of the smartphone as a patient-monitoring device has also been described in resource-poor countries. Smartphones used by health care workers treating malaria in rural Thailand allowed for better follow-up, medication adherence, and collection of information. A similar study in Kenya allowed workers to collect data during home visits. Recently, teams have begun working on ECG recording devices that work with smartphones. Moreover, the smartphone is being used for echocardiography. MobiSante (MobiSante, Inc, Redmond, WA, USA) became the first company to design and build a US Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved cell phone-based medical diagnostic tool with an ultrasound probe in January 2011. A smartphone connected to a Doppler device has been used for blood flow measurement.

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Health Apps for the Layperson:

Weight loss and fitness apps are among the most used. The apps Lose It! and Calorie Counter provide a way for people to keep track of how many calories they consume and burn for better control of their weight loss goals. Based on the input information, such as the type and quantity of food consumed, these apps calculate the user’s total daily caloric expenditure. Other apps help track the amount of exercise an individual does. Using the GPS and accelerometer, phones can be turned into and navigators and pedometers. Wellness apps that teach yoga are available, as are apps that focus on other forms of relaxation such as breathing. Women can input the dates of their periods and body temperature to help predict ovulation. Some apps remind a patient to take his or her medication. Other apps contain an individual’s important medical information such as allergies, medications, and contact phone numbers in the event of an emergency. There is also an iPhone app that offers free hearing tests. iTriage (iTriage, LLC, Denver, CO, USA) is an app that provides patients with information such as the locations of nearby emergency rooms, doctors by specialty, and other practical information. It provides emergency room wait times and allows for registration via the app at participating locations. Another similar app was designed to improve diagnosis and treatment times of stroke patients. ZocDoc (ZocDoc, Inc, New York, NY, USA) allows patients to conveniently make appointments with physicians who choose to use this system. Patients can view open slots and other information about participating doctors.

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Communication, Education, and Research:

The smartphone has been used for years in hospitals with limited network capability. It also has been shown to improve communication among doctors and nurses on inpatient wards. Timely communication within hospitals remains a fundamental means by which to reduce medical errors. The internal medicine program at Toronto General Hospital conducted a study using dedicated BlackBerrys for each medical team. Nurses could call the team or use a Web program to send emails to these phones for less-urgent issues. Overall, surveys from residents reported improvements in communication and decreased disruption of workflow. Nurses reported decreased time spent attempting to contact physicians; however, there was no change in response time for urgent issues. Another study by this group also illustrated the efficiency of smartphones over pagers but noted a perceived increase in interruptions and weakened inter-professional relationships. They also reported value in the ability to receive non-urgent messages via email; however, there has been disagreement as to what types of messages are appropriate for various communication methods. Interesting and educational patient physical findings are better documented with the use of the phone’s camera. A group demonstrated that they could accurately diagnose acute stroke on brain computed tomography scans through the use of iPhones with identical accuracy to standard workstations. Another study of stroke patients found comparable examinations of patients in person and via iPhone. Several examples demonstrating the smartphone’s role in communication can be found in developing countries with scarce resources. In Africa, the amount of network coverage to send text messages with pictures ranges from 1.5% to 92.2%, providing an opportunity to send pictures of physical findings to aid in telediagnosis. Pictures from phone cameras of Gram stains have been sent via text messaged for remote diagnosis. Video clips of limited echocardiographic studies were taken in remote Honduran villages sent via iPhones to experts for interpretation. This has been reproduced with lung ultrasound. Engineers have created various microscopes that attach to smartphones, providing a cost-effective and mobile way to bring more technology to poor and rural regions. Development of point-of-care apps for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection treatment to support physicians with limited HIV training in undeveloped regions is expected to minimize errors and improve outcomes. In one example of the uses of the smartphone in medical education, doctors who were trained to use a smartphone app for teaching advanced life support had significantly improved scores during cardiac arrest simulation testing. A survey among medical residents in Botswana showed how a smartphone preinstalled with medical apps can be an effective way to obtain information in a resource-poor region.

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Physician and Student Reference Apps:

A study in 2010 claimed that over 60% of physicians surveyed felt that Epocrates (Epocrates, Inc, San Mateo, CA, USA) helped to reduce medical errors. Epocrates claims that their app can help save 20 minutes of time each day for many of their users, but this is not supported by the evidence base.

Medical Reference Apps:

Given the importance of medical reference apps, I present a list of commonly used apps to enhance continuing medical education, improve patient care, and promote communication as seen in the table below.

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List and description of popular medical applications for physicians:

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Drawbacks and obstacles vis-à-vis mobile medical apps:

Although there are numerous benefits to integrating smartphones into the practice of medicine and one’s personal life, there are noteworthy limitations. There are ramifications of patients self-diagnosing using apps that are not regulated. Moreover, the major technological improvements of both hardware and software are still relatively new and, thus, sometimes unreliable. Furthermore, older physicians and others less inclined to use or intimidated by new technologies may be at a disadvantage if the use of smartphones becomes more requisite within medicine. Similarly, elderly patients may find it difficult to use and interpret the information provided to them by their smartphone, possibly putting them at greater risk than those who are more technologically savvy. And finally, as we become more dependent on technology, we become more dependent on it working flawlessly, with catastrophic implications when it fails. Doctors and patients are not able to take full advantage of smartphone technology in areas such as teleconferencing, sending pictures, and emailing, due to health care system reimbursement processes in the United States. These systems usually reimburse only the time spent with patients face-to-face. As the smartphone integrates its way even more permanently into our medical practices, a greater question arises: will this mobile technology improve communication between doctors and patients or detract from it by limiting the personalized interactions that occur best at the bedside or in the office?

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Smartphone the digital doctor:

New tools are tilting health-care control from doctors to patients:

With innovative digital technologies, cloud computing and machine learning, the medicalized smartphone is going to upend every aspect of health care. And the end result will be that you, the patient, are about to take center stage for the first time. With the smartphone revolution, an increasingly powerful new set of tools—from attachments that can diagnose an ear infection or track heart rhythms to an app that can monitor mental health—can reduce our use of doctors, cut costs, speed up the pace of care and give more power to patients. Digital avatars won’t replace physicians: You will still be seeing doctors, but the relationship will ultimately be radically altered. Using wearable wireless sensors, you can use your smartphone to generate your own medical data, including measuring your blood-oxygen and glucose levels, blood pressure and heart rhythm. And if you’re worried that your child may have an ear infection, a smartphone attachment will let you perform an easy eardrum exam that can rapidly diagnose the problem without a trip to the pediatrician. These innovations are just the start. In the next year or two (depending on approval by the FDA), many Americans will probably start sporting wristwatches that continuously and passively capture their blood pressure and vital signs with every heartbeat, without even having to press a start button. Let’s say you have a rash that you need examined. Today, you can snap a picture of it with your smartphone and download an app to process the image. Within minutes, a dedicated computer algorithm can text you your diagnosis. That message could include next steps, such as recommending a topical ointment or a visit to a dermatologist for further assessment.  Smartphones already can be used to take blood-pressure readings or even do an electrocardiogram. ECG apps have been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for consumers and validated in many clinical studies. The apps’ data are immediately analyzed, graphed, displayed on-screen updated with new measurements, stored and (at an individual’s discretion) shared.

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Can smartphone save life?

Take asthma attacks. A teenager who’s prone to wheezing in gym class could get comprehensive data on environmental exposures such as air quality and pollen count, along with data on physical activity, oxygen concentration in the blood, vital signs and chest motion; their lung function can be assessed through their smartphone microphone, and their nitric-oxide levels can be sampled via their breath. Then that information could be combined with the data from every other tracked asthma patient—and trigger a warning, delivered by text or voice message on the teenager’s phone, that an attack is imminent and tell the teenager which inhaler would prevent it. The same type of procedure could prevent heart failure, seizures, severe depression and autoimmune disease attacks. It could save countless lives.

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Video consultation via smartphone:

Now, at any time of day or night, you can demand and get a secure video consultation with a doctor via smartphone at the same cost (about $30-$40) as the typical copay charge through employer health plans. This may seem exotic now, but several large consulting firms—including Deloitte and PricewaterhouseCoopers—have forecast that virtual physician visits (replacing physical office visits) will soon become the norm. Deloitte says that as many as one in six doctor visits were already virtual in 2014. In many U.S. cities, you can even use a mobile app to request a doctor’s house call during which a physician would not only provide a consultation but could even perform procedures, such as suturing a wound, which would have usually required an expensive emergency room visit.

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Virtual psychiatrist on smartphone:

New apps aim to quantify your state of mind by a composite of real-time data: tone and inflection of voice, facial expression, breathing pattern, heart rate, galvanic skin response, blood pressure, even the frequency and content of your emails and texts. We may soon take an even bigger step forward, thanks to the unexpected advantages of virtual psychiatrists. Recent studies, including a paper by Gale Lucas and others published last year in the Journal of Computers in Human Behavior, have demonstrated that people are more willing to disclose their inner thoughts to a computer avatar or “virtual human” than a real one. With machines working to quantify moods and even offering virtual counseling to help make up for our current profound shortage of mental health professionals, we can glimpse a new approach to improving mental health.

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Lab and imaging on smartphones:

It isn’t just hospitals’ rooms that are on their way out; so are their labs. Smartphone attachments will soon enable you to perform an array of routine lab tests via your phone. Blood electrolytes; liver, kidney and thyroid function; analysis of breath, sweat and urine—all can be checked with small fluid samples in little labs that plug directly into smartphones. And you can do your own routine labs at a fraction of the current cost. Meanwhile, nearly all sophisticated medical imaging devices are being miniaturized: Hand-held ultrasound devices are already available, and some medical schools have begun issuing them in the place of the old-school stethoscope. Hand-held MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) machines aren’t far behind, and engineers at UCLA have come up with a smartphone-sized device that can generate X-rays. It won’t be long before you can take a smartphone X-ray selfie if you’re worried that you might have broken a bone. Before these tools enter widespread use, they must all be validated through clinical trials and shown to not only preserve health but to do so while lowering costs. Without such validation, the whole promise of digital medicine will be for naught.

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Smartphone and education:

Smartphone apps are providing solutions for businesses, healthcare, and education. Almost every aspect of a human life problem has a smartphone app. According to available statistics education apps were the second-most popular category in July 2013, with a share of 10% of all apps being learning apps. This growth suggests that apps will play a major role in reshaping the future of education.

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While mobile technologies are not yet widely and routinely used in education, they have the potential to be used in a multitude of pedagogical and other contexts in higher education. For example, Patten, Sanchez and Tangney (2006) have identified several categories of use:

• Administration, e.g., the use of calendars, exam reminders, grading software;

• Referential, e.g., dictionaries, e-books and office applications;

• Interactive, e.g., quizzes, response software;

• Microworld, e.g., simulations, games;

• Data collection, e.g., data logging, note taking, audio recording, eportfolios

• Location aware, e.g., augmented environments, GPS navigation and tagging; and

• Collaborative, e.g., pod/vodcasting, blogging, instant messaging.

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Modern Day Education through Apps:

Normally teachers are good at organizing, managing and conducting activities. However they feel the heat at times. Apps can help to achieve better performance in organizing, managing, and monitoring classroom activities. A study “Living and Learning with mobile devices” by Grunwald Associates suggests that 28% of middle school and 51% of high school students carry a smartphone with them every day. Google Drive can even help teachers in sharing assignments, syllabuses, and reading materials through few taps and clicks. Teachers are discovering that apps are some of the best, most engaging ways to teach difficult subjects like math and science. For example, the free NASA app offers videos, images, and interactive displays that bring space to life in a way that a lecture never could. A good bit of news for all the environmentalists and eco-friendly people out there; using apps for learning and teaching reduces paper usage and it is cost effective too. Count all those trees we can save by just assigning quizzes, assignments, reading materials, and books through Google Drive and Dropbox apps.

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School attendance app:

Teachers already have reading materials, class notes, handouts, books, and personal accessories. To top it all off, they have to take care of all the attendance sheets too. ittendance is an iPhone app which marks a student’s attendance with a photo. So no more double entries and fake attendances. School management will also have an easy time pulling out attendance records for a particular student. iTunes U is another useful app from Apple for teachers to create and courses including essential components such as books, lectures, assignments and quizzes.

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Educating children with learning disabilities:

One of the most important sections of students benefitting from iPhone and Android apps is children with learning disabilities. Apple’s App Store and Google’s Play Store is filled with apps for children with learning disabilities. Smartphone apps are helping children suffering from Autism, ADHD, Dyslexia, Muscular Dystrophy and Blindness. Apps like Learning Ally, Voice4U, and ZoomReader to help children with learning disabilities. iPhone and Android apps are huge blessings for schools, teachers, and parents to help these kids learn.

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Reasons to use smartphones in the classroom:

With the widespread use of smartphones by younger and younger students, what are the practical reasons for allowing smartphones as a learning tool in the classroom?

1. Students learn in a way they are comfortable. Smartphones are young-person intuitive. More and more students know how to use them, and they are becoming the most used “tool” by teens.

2. Students can get answers quickly. Smartphones provide the ability to get answers quickly. In some situations, a student may not ask for clarification to a question he or she has in an open classroom. Use of a smartphone in a classroom setting can provide those answers.

3. Audio and video can bring learning to life.

4. They can even connect with other students from around the globe and expand their learning world.

5. Smartphones allow for social learning. Smartphones can allow students to work in groups on projects, sharing information and discoveries. They can move toward a common goal, again, in a format they are comfortable using.

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Three case studies on smartphone use in class:

1. At Cimarron Elementary School near Houston, TX, smartphones are actually given to students, but without messaging or calling capabilities. They’re used to access the internet, schedule homework, and send e-mails to teachers and fellow students regarding assignments. The phones allow students to conduct web searches, scan QR codes linked to relevant websites, graph science projects, and create Excel spreadsheets. Results are encouraging: students’ overall math and science scores have improved from the previous year!

2. Teens at Mounds View High School in the Twin Cities area were given the green light to use their favorite technologies in class, including PDAs, tablets, and smartphones. Teachers concede a few drawbacks to the new policy, but they contend the learning opportunities outweigh the disadvantages. Impressed with the positive feedback generated by supportive teachers, the Minneapolis School District recently approved a broader measure to allow tech devices into more classrooms.

3. Qualcomm is working with Southwest High School in North Carolina to improve student test scores using smartphones. Called Project K-Nect, Qualcomm has distributed smartphones in select courses, and teachers hope the devices will introduce high-tech applications to students who don’t have access to the internet at home. So far, the program has encouraged administrators after they determined their kids performed 25 percent better than classmates without smartphones on a final algebra exam.

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Considering the Smartphone Learner: an investigation into student interest in the use of personal technology to enhance their learning: 2012 study:

Ownership of mobile smartphones amongst the general consumer, professionals and students is growing exponentially. The potential for smartphones in education builds upon experience described in the extensive literature on mobile learning from the previous decade which suggests that the ubiquity, multi-functionality and connectivity of mobile devices offers a new and potentially powerful networked learning environment. The study found that students who own smartphones are largely unaware of their potential to support learning and, in general, do not install smartphone applications for that purpose. They are, however, interested in and open to the potential as they become familiar with the possibilities for a range of purposes. The paper proposes that more consideration needs to be given to smartphones as platforms to support formal, informal and autonomous learner engagement. The study also reflects on its collaborative methodology and the challenges associated with academic innovation.

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Smartphone, students and learning:

Handheld technologies such as smartphones provide students with quick and easy access to relevant information (Wei, Chen, Wang, & Li, 2007) and the fact that smartphones are portable and easier to carry than other devices allows students to learn whenever and wherever (Daher, 2009). The use of smartphones comes naturally to 21st century students education and because of their familiarity with technology, students find utilizing such devices during the learning process simple and enjoyable (Echeverria, et al., 2011).  Zhang, Song and Burston (2011) noted that mobile phone technologies have the potential to increase learners’ efficiency in self-regulated learning environments. Daher (2009) found that utilizing smartphones as part of the curriculum met the individual learning needs of students which included improving anytime and anywhere communication and collaboration. They also offer a more personalized from of learning and instruction that can be tailored to the abilities, interests and diverse needs of students (Song, Wong, & Looi, 2012). As a result of this tailoring Song, Wong and Looi (2012) found that students felt empowered with self-sufficiency and developed and followed their own learning paths which allowed more room for creativity, collaboration and problem-solving. Koh, Loh and Hong (2013, p.110) affirmed that “with the help of the smartphones, students took charge of their own learning.” Smartphones also help enhance group learning outcomes by facilitating more interactive discussions among group members (Huang, Wu, & Chen, 2012).  Gedik et al. (2012) described the “push effect” that is employed by smartphones to alert users of waiting messages and emails has also proved to be an advantage because it serves as stimuli prompting learners to start working. This “push effect” is considered to be a strength when employing smartphones in learning contexts because it “pushed” students to be attentive in studying and revising content at home which otherwise would not be possible (Gedik, et al., 2012). Clough, et al. (2007) found that mobile devices such as smartphones support the process of learning and can provide opportunities for learning in new ways utilizing a mobile context that otherwise would not have occurred. Using such technologies in educational environments can provide diverse learning opportunities for educators and students (Gedik et al., 2012). Price, et al. (2012) found that there has been some reluctance to integrating smartphones into curriculum because of issues such as inappropriate internet access. However, Koh, Loh and Hong (2013) noted that the emergence of smartphone adoption for learning has steadily increased especially in tertiary education and is starting to penetrate more and more into secondary and elementary education. Utilizing smartphone technology “allows learners to take advantage of emerging technologies to enhance their learning efficiency” (Zhang, Song, & Burston, 2011, p. 210). Utilizing smartphone technology in the curriculum is not only beneficial for students: instructors can also benefit from using smartphones to provide timely, effective, constructive and frequent feedback to learners (Chen, et al., 2013). Such technological tools also provide instructors with ease of tracking and analyzing student responses and progress (Kizito, 2012).

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Limitations of smartphone in school for learning purpose:

1. Kizito (2012) found that there has been a delay in the adoption of smartphones as useful tool in teaching and learning due to specific limitations such as screen size, battery life and security, all of which hinder learning. The smartphones’ small screen size can make it difficult to view and properly display materials and as a result there is a high risk of reducing learning performance due to increased cognitive load (Chen, et al. 2013). The study by Jubien (2013) furthered this finding noting that reading materials on a smartphone is actually more complex; if the material that is to be read contains complex or unfamiliar words learners would have to switch applications to define the word. This can lead to a host of issues for learners such as having to switch back and forth between applications, which in turn makes it difficult for students to focus (Jubien, 2013). Huang (2012) contended that bigger screen sizes associated with newer version smartphones will help students type and read in a more effective manner. Echeverria (2011) found that the processing limitations of the smartphone must also be considered when designing collaborative activities for learning as slow response times can cause users to quickly lose interest in the learning task. Due to these physical limitations of the smartphone it can be difficult to provided full instruction using these devices and therefore they are more suitable for supporting face to face instruction (Gedik, et al., 2012).

2.  Koh (2013) noted that the use of a smartphone in learning activities can at first be associated with novelty among students. Students can easily get caught up in non-learning activities when smartphones are used with the intention of enchancing learning (Koh, Loh, & Hong, 2013). Therefore it is important to regularly integrate their use in the classroom so that students are not as distracted by their novelty effect (Gedik, et al., 2012).

3. Zhang, Song and Burston (2011) found that using smartphones to enhance learning can disrupt, distract, and discourage instead of motivate learning.

How do smart phones affect education?

a) Since these smart phones provides internet, students visit internet all the time

b) Students love to explore new stuff such as new games, pictures and watch YouTube while they’re in class

c) They tend to forget about their school work if they’re busy on internet, listening to music or playing games

d) They forever on chartrooms, even during the classes

e) Students doesn’t force on their school work

f) Students use their phone to read newspapers online and ignore useful stuff

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Negative effects of smart phone:

Now I will discuss negative effects of smartphone including adverse impact on ecology, biology, environment, workplace, society, children and health.

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Like many other devices, smartphones also have their own negative impacts. People are well aware of cell phone radiation and its effect, but when it comes to smartphones people seem to forget all about the radiation; so much so some people take their smartphones to their bed and find themselves plugged in while they should be dozing off. As a result, the brain finds it hard to relax when all this information being fed and this is why smartphones are linked to many sleeping problems. Many scientific studies have examined that smartphones are disrupting people’s sleep by exposing them to lights that can interfere with melatonin which is a hormone that helps control the natural sleep-wake cycle (Sharon). People nowadays are texting while they are asleep and walking up to a text they don’t remember sending which is called sleep texting. An increasing number of smartphone owners are texting in their sleep and for people who communicate through text the impact on sleep quality is noticeable. A survey gave a realization that people are squandering their money on games and emptying their pockets for frivolous things. This, beyond a doubt, shows that people favor to use their smartphones for recreation rather than work and productivity. Smartphones are also interfering with student’s study habits.  Students would rather keep their hands glued to their phones than holding a book. Instead of conducting useful and helpful materials for their study, they are too occupied taking pictures of themselves and sharing it on social media. Recent study linked students who constantly use their phones to result in a lower GPA and unhappiness (LaBossiere).  Another problem noticed in student’s life is texting and other smartphone-related distractions that have become a serious issue for failure. Accessing social media constantly and texting non-stop results in a dangerous cycle where students easily use their smartphones for entertainment and stimulation, but this need for instant gratification deflates their motivation to focus, to participate, to engage, to wonder, to invest of themselves, to inspire and be inspired which leads to dumbing the individual (Cheung).  Smartphones may be smart, but the constant use of smartphone could be dumbing a person who is using is constantly. Back before smartphones, people would use their mind to try and solve problems or answer a question. Today, smartphones are providing everything to the user. As a result, people developed the need to turn to their smartphone for every single question, instead of taking the time to think and answer for themselves. People should use their own brain to solve problems rather than having to develop a preference to use the applications on their smartphone. Smartphones have also changed the way that people interact with each other. They allow their users to be in a conversation without showing their personal expressions. It has changed society’s norms. Some people don’t even know what should be said on texts and what shouldn’t. People are using texting to tell each other secrets, bad news, apologies, condolences and even marriage proposals, divorces and embarrassing things through text. Smartphones have truly changed the way people communicate which made texting, one of the most preferable and  primary way of communication these days because smartphones provide many application that will assist people to even text for free with the help of the internet and an application (Woolford, Blake and Clark). This type of communication may lead to many problems such as relationship problems and not being able to express one’s self verbally. “22% of teens use instant messaging daily to talk to others and 63% say that they use text to communicate with others every day” (Lenhart). A survey conducted confirms that 7% to 20% of teenagers have sexted using their smartphones which leads to an understanding that smartphones give the opportunity for teenagers to engage themselves in these kind of activities while they shouldn’t (Gilkerson). As a consequence, contact with voice call is being replaced by multimedia messages that smartphone applications offer. Accordingly, people are on the way of losing face-to-face contact or even voice contact. Not only could this change the way that people contact each other, but smartphones also lead people to socially isolate themselves from the outside world. Smartphone users are often observed as being preoccupied with sending texts and e-mails, playing games, web searching, social networking and so on that they end up not paying attention to their  physical surroundings and people and conversations that are taking place around them. Although, many people love being able to stay reachable and connected through e-mails, texts and calls through their smartphones, it is the same constant availability that can lead to major stress problems. Every time a phone rings or alerts a new message they feel a slight tingle of anxiety. This is especially true for people with high stress jobs (Irvine). Constant Web browsing has diminished the brain’s ability to sustain focus and think interpretively. Sara Pritchard, a historian of technology at Cornell University, says her dumbphone helps her to be more productive and forces her to be more thoughtful about how she spends her time. Like most dumbphone users, she feels like it allows her to be “present”  rather than spending dinner with a friend splitting time between the real world and the screen.

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New researches have also found that college freshmen experience more interpersonal stress that was associated with higher levels of texting if they are overly reliant on their phone (Jacobs and Standard). Another issue with people chatting or updating their Facebook status or Twitter account with their smartphone is the development of the habit of shortening words which lead to grammar problems. Another disadvantage of smartphones that troubles most teenagers and adults is the risk of identity theft and hacked accounts. Four in ten (40%) smartphone users in the United States agree that they don’t understand cyber security well enough to know how to protect themselves. These threats are often connected with accessing pornography. Additional negative impact that smartphones impose on young people is the access of pornography at any given time in any given place since smartphones are able to access the internet either through Wi-Fi or data package. Having constant access to pornography is considered harmful both physiological and mentally. Pornography accessed from the phone can result the owner to many problems also including identity theft by taking personal information that are already in the smartphone. The most observed negative impact of smartphones is addiction, or developing a huge attachment or dependency toward using smartphones. Smartphones enable people to stay more connected than ever but the addiction continues to grow (Kelly). Smartphone addiction is a serious issue that needs serious attention. A smartphone addict is someone who checks for messages every five minutes, a person who finds it necessary to get up in the middle of the night or early in the morning to check for messages or a person that uses smartphone in inappropriate places or where it is unnecessary to use such as in churches, bathrooms, and while also dining. For some people all these acts might be normal or non-harmful activities but it is these same acts that interfere with a person’s well-being and the well-being of society. Some people are so addicted to their smartphone that they are even disconnected from the people in their lives.

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Smartphones limit how humans interact by reducing the development of interpersonal closeness and trust and leading people to feel less empathy and understanding from their partners. People who are dependent on their smartphones do every activity on their smartphone and they constantly check it every single second. Many smartphone users are addicted to the features of their smartphones that they hear phantom text message vibrations when there is no message received. Teenagers are alertly watching their smartphones. Due to this most schools forbid students the use phones in the school compound but some teenagers who can’t live a day without their smartphones sneak their smartphones in any way to text or to do whatever they do on their device. This leads the students to suspension if ever caught and it also disrupts the learning process.  The problem of being addicted to smartphones is so severe that some researchers have unveiled that most people owing smartphones in America take their smartphones to the bathroom to do different tasks such as texting, social networking and even talking on the phone during their stay in the bathroom (Mello Jr). From the findings of the research, texting was the most popular smartphone related bathroom activity (Kelly). Other shocking places people use their smartphones are at church or a place of worship (19%), in the shower (12%), and 55% admitted texting while driving (Kelly). This survey has shown that people are very addicted to their smartphones that they use even in inappropriate places. The issues of being dependent or addicted on smartphones need to be recognized and people need to take control of their lives. Briefly, smartphones have impacts on people’s lives both positively and negatively. From the information provided it can be conclude that smartphones are definitely changing the society in both productive and unproductive ways. On the positive side, smartphones assist on productivity, effective time usage and energy efficiency. On the negative side, they are changing the norms of society in a wrong way. The more one connects to his or her smartphone the more he or she disconnects from the real world. The development of being on a smartphone 24/7 shows that the device has impacted people’s lives in a deeper level. People need to wake up and realize what is going on and need to take control because smartphones as any other technological products will always have issues, complications, troubles, and challenges that demand to be labeled. More importantly, people need to use smartphone features to their benefit. But again, you observe people that are so addicted that they abuse the use of their smartphone which leads them in harm’s way. As long as people are using smartphones constantly, they grant their device to impact their lives both positively and negatively. It mostly comes to an individual’s liability to make the best his or her device and take control of the life he or she leads. There are concerns that some mobile phone users incur considerable debt, and that mobile phones are being used to violate privacy and to harass others. In particular, there is increasing evidence that mobile phones are being used as a tool by children to bully other children. Also, using a cell phone before bed can cause insomnia.

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Smartphone harming ecology and living organisms:

Known for their beauty, aspens have been in decline across North America, with some dramatic losses in recent years. Aware of the rapid growth of radiofrequency (RF) radiation, particularly from mobile-phone ‘towers’, Colorado researcher Katie Haggerty had an inspiration: she planted three test plots of aspen seedlings. Carefully matched in all other respects, one plot was shielded from a nearby town’s RF radiation, one was ‘mock’ shielded, and the other was left unprotected. The difference, recorded in the International Journal of Forestry Research, was startling: the fully shielded saplings were vigorous and healthy, but both the ‘mock’ shielded and the exposed plants were small, lacked pigments, and had sickly leaves. Across the Atlantic, Spanish biologist Alfonso Balmori of the Institute for the Environment (Consejería de Medio Ambiente) in Castilla y León was conducting a sensitive study of tadpoles. Sited 140m from a set of phone masts, those shielded from its radiation developed normally and in sync; but the unshielded tadpoles grew unevenly, and only 10% survived. In Switzerland, the University of Zurich’s Michael Hässig recorded multiple cataracts in calves near masts, whilst Belgian researcher Joris Everaert of the Research Institute for Nature and Forest (INBO) mapped striking declines in house sparrows in masts’ main fields. Anil Kumar of the Department of Environmental Science at the University of Jammu in Kashmir, and Sukhdev Dongre of Jayvanti College in Betul, Madhya Pradesh echoed his findings. Meanwhile, Marie-Claire Cammaerts and her team at the Université Libre in Brussels studied the effects of a weak signal on ant colonies and discovered that they became confused to such an extent that they no longer remembered the cues that led them to food. Studies have shown that mobile phones impact the behavior of bees and could be contributing to the worldwide decline of bee populations. If one of the main pollinators ceases to exist, the world’s food supply will plummet. Honey bees pollinate about $15 billion worth of crops in the U.S. annually, including some of the most common fruits and vegetables such as apples, oranges, blueberries, cherries, broccoli and carrots, according to the Natural Resources Defense Council.

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At the University of Washington in Seattle in 1995, microbiologists Henry Lai and Narendra Singh exposed mammalian cells to a weak microwave signal. Magnitudes below current safety levels set by the International Commission on Non-ionizing Radiation Protection showed a comet-tail of DNA damage streaming from each cell. Today, many international teams have witnessed similar effects (breakages, failed transcriptions, delays in repair), as well as altered gene expression, seen for example in a Munich-based study by Franz Adlkofer. Indeed, studies conducted by radiobiologist Dimitris Panagopoulus at the University of Athens found that fruit flies exposed even to weak fields of radiation suffered DNA damage and infertility.

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Though industry dismisses any concerns as fantasy, a team led by Patrizia Frei at the University of Basel in 2009 found that cumulative exposure from urban cell-towers was higher on average than that from mobile phones themselves. And many researchers have noted increased headaches, poor sleep and other problems in families living near them. Though brief lab studies quite often find no ill effects, this does not rule out chronic influences – Klaus Buchner of the Technical University at Munich, and Emad Eskander, an endocrinologist at the National Research Centre in Cairo, each found long-term hormonal imbalances in people living near new or existing masts. And even more ominously, when environmental engineer Adilza Dode of the University of Minas Gerais scrutinised public health records in Brazil, she found that cancer deaths increased sharply with local mast density – it seems this could not be explained away – whilst in Israel, physiologist Ronni Wolf of Tel Aviv University documented quadruple cancer rates in their near fields. Though the European Environment Agency has called for less exposure and far more caution, such wisdom is lost in the stampede. Insects, plants, birds, ourselves: we are all caught in a vast experiment from which there is little escape.

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Smartphone and environmental impact:

Like other electronic products, making smartphones involves the mining of minerals such as coltan, which are toxic to humans and wildlife. Other raw materials, such as oils, copper, plastics, and solvents, have the potential to contaminate both the soil and groundwater. Smartphones also contain toxic chemicals such as lead, bromine, chlorine, mercury, and cadmium. Like other electronic products, phones become electronic waste when discarded.

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Coltan, smartphone and war:

Coltan, also known as columbite-tantalite, is a dull black metallic mineral containing the elements niobium and tantalum. Tantalum, a heat-resistant material that can hold a strong electrical charge, is used to make capacitors used in a wide variety of electronic devices, from cellphones to nuclear reactors. It is also used in high-heat-resistant steel alloys for applications such as aircraft engines. The mineral is found in a number of countries including Australia, Brazil, Canada and China, in addition to the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Potential mines are also being explored in Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Greenland, Mozambique, the United States, Finland, Afghanistan, Venezuela and Colombia. Human rights observers charge that coltan, used in electronic devices such as cellphones, DVD players, video game systems and computers, has been directly linked to financing civil wars in Africa, especially in the DRC. The war claimed almost 5.5 million lives. In unsafe mines deep underground in eastern Congo, children are working to extract minerals essential for the electronics industry. Workers, including children, have been forced to work at gunpoint while mining for smartphone materials. The profits from the minerals finance the bloodiest conflict since the Second World War; the war has lasted nearly 20 years and has recently flared up again. FairPhone is an attempt to develop a mobile phone which does not contain conflict minerals.

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Mobile industry tackles tin problems after Friends of the Earth campaign:

Nokia, Sony, Blackberry, Motorola and LG Electronics have all publicly accepted for the first time that their phones are likely to contain tin that’s destroying tropical forests, killing coral and wrecking the lives of communities in Indonesia. The move was prompted by Friends of the Earth’s investigation into the devastation caused by mining for tin on Bangka. Tin is used as solder in all phones and electronic gadgets and around a third of the world’s mined tin comes from Bangka and neighbouring island Belitung. The tin extraction process has been identified as environmentally destructive and, as of September 2013, children are employed in hazardous conditions to extract tin.

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Recycled smartphones:

Only 8 percent of cellphones are collected to be recycled, according to research from the Environmental Protection Agency, or EPA, in 2009. Whether smartphones are sold or recycled, anything beats tossing them. While newer smartphones contain fewer toxic chemicals, phones produced before 2010 were teeming with bromine, mercury and lead, according to a chemical analysis. Throwing away a smartphone — or any cellphone really — is nearly a criminal waste of resources.  Every 1 million recycled cellphones yields 35,274 pounds of copper, 772 pounds of silver, 75 pounds of gold and 33 pounds of palladium, according to the EPA. While there is no shortage of options for recycling your old smartphone, the process of recycling is still sketchy. E-waste recycling and disposal practices found in places such as China, India, Nigeria, Bangladesh, Ghana and Pakistan include open burning of plastics, exposure to toxic solders, leakages of acids into rivers and general dumping of waste material.

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Smartphone, workers and workplace:

Smartphones and work place:

How does a smart phone affect communication in work place?

1. It affects the employees, especially when they’re presenting and the management is busy doing something else on the phone rather than listening

2. People who uses their phones during the meetings normally doesn’t pay attention to what’s being said

3. It set an unpleasant example of business and it also affect the importance of the meeting

4. As employees do their presentation to their CEO’s they do listen and offer insightful type away on their phones

5. People use their phones during meetings

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Risks of using smart phones in working area:

1. Management can make unpleasant mistakes while they’re busy checking emails, responding right away, visiting sites on internet

2. People lose concentration

3. It interrupts productivity

4. Using smartphone for long time will strain eyes and hands at work place.

5. A person could be explored to behavioral health risks and technology overload

6. Smart phones are addictive

7. Survey show that most people agree that smart phones hurt workplace etiquette

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Adverse impact of smartphone on physical health:

1. iPosture:

How often do you see people obsessively slouching over their phones for hours at a time? Slouching strains the neck and back muscles. According to a Simplyhealth study of young adults that was conducted in the United Kingdom, 84% experienced back or neck pain in 2013. This is likely the result of being hunched over modern technological devices.

Texting tweaks the spine:

Looking down at a smartphone screen to send a text or update Facebook does more than create potential collisions. It also puts pounds of pressure on the spine, according to a new study in Surgical Technology International. Unless you train yourself to stare straight ahead into your iPhone screen, you could be continually stressing your spine and pressure increases from around 27 pounds at a 15 degree angle to 60 pounds at a 60 degree angle. Researcher Kenneth Hansraj concluded in the study that such stress could lead to early wear and tear that could someday require surgical attention.

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The figure below shows that pressure on cervical spine increases proportional to bending of neck:

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2. Computer Vision Syndrome:

Did you think that staring at that small screen for hours would actually help your eyes? Squinting to see the miniscule font in your texts as you read through the latest Facebook updates leads to eyestrain, blurred vision, dizziness, and dry eyes. When combined with the back pain caused by iPosture, the negative consequences can be headaches and even migraines.

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3. Text Claw:

Although it is not a medical term, text claw describes all of the finger cramping and sore hand muscles that come from continuous scrolling, texting, and gaming on smartphones. Doctors believe that the constant use of smartphones can cause inflammation in tendons, and possibly lead to tendinitis and carpal tunnel syndrome. Carpal tunnel, often linked to office work such as typing, is also a common side effect of smartphone use. Overuse of tendons in the arms causes inflammation, which then leads to pain and numbness. Additionally, smartphone use can lead to “cellphone elbow,” an appropriately named ailment that stems from bending at the elbow for long periods of time, one Indiana clinic reported. The condition causes tingling or numbness in the ring and pinky fingers.

BlackBerry thumb:

BlackBerry thumb is a neologism that refers to a form of repetitive strain injury (RSI) caused by the frequent use of the thumbs to press buttons on PDAs, smartphones, or other mobile devices. The name of the condition comes from the BlackBerry, a brand of smartphone that debuted in 1999, although there are numerous other similar eponymous conditions that exist such as cellphone thumb, smartphone thumb, Android thumb, and iPhone thumb. The medical name for the condition is De Quervain syndrome and is associated with the tendons connected to the thumb through the wrist. Symptoms of BlackBerry thumb include aching and throbbing pain in the thumb and wrist. In severe cases, it can lead to temporary disability of the affected hand, particularly the ability to grip objects.

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4. Phantom Smartphone Vibration Syndrome:

What’s happening in my pocket? Is someone trying to text or call me? Is my ringer off? Isn’t that my smartphone vibrating? According to Dr. Michelle Drouin, a professor at Indiana University-Purdue University, 89% of the undergraduates in her study had experienced phantom smartphone vibrations when their phones were not actually vibrating or not even in their pockets. Students dependent on text messages and social media updates became anxious and upset because the phantom vibration was not real.

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5. Sleep texting:

Some people are so fond of their smartphones that they actually send text messages while sleeping.  Generally, sleep texting occurs in the first two hours after a person falls asleep and they are unaware they are doing it. While sleep texting can lead to some embarrassing conversations, it poses a greater threat to sufferers since it interrupts deep REM (rapid eye movement) sleep. Sufferers often wake up exhausted as they are not getting the deep sleep which is critical to higher brain function. The problem can be addressed by banishing phones from the bedroom and by switching them off an hour before going to sleep.

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6. Cyber-sickness:

This is the modern day version of motion sickness that is a side effect of the three dimensional features of iPhones and iPads.  Cyber-sickness is caused by a disagreement between a person’s eyes and the movement perceived by their balance system.  It occurs when the brain is tricked into believing they are moving while they actually remain still. When things are out of sync, it can trigger nausea, eye strain and dizziness.  The problem is thought to be getting worse as frame rates and display resolutions increase and it is particularly associated with the Apple iOS 7. Symptoms can be reduced by changing the phone’s settings or by looking at the horizon for a few moments.

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7. Harm to eyes:

Eye strain:

Small text and bright screens can strain mobile phone users’ eyes. Since smartphones are designed for reading at close range, users’ eyes must constantly refocus and reposition to process the graphics and text on screen. Symptoms of eye strain include eye redness or irritation, dry eyes, blurred vision, back pain, neck pain, and headaches. Some of the ways to prevent digital eye strain include reducing glare, cleaning the screen, dimming the surrounding lighting that is competing with the device’s screen, keeping adequate distance between eyes and the screen, and increasing text size. Device users are also advised to take breaks from looking at the screen, and follow the “20-20-20” rule: Take a 20-second break every 20 minutes using a smartphone and look at something 20 feet away.

Screen sightedness:

Rates of short sightedness among young people have soared because of smartphones, a leading laser eye surgeon claimed.  David Allamby, founder of Focus Clinics, says there has been a 35 per cent increase in the number of people with advancing myopia (short sightedness) since the launch of smartphones in 1997.  He has warned the problem could increase by 50 per cent in the next ten years.  Mr Allamby thinks the problem is so widespread that he has dubbed it ‘screen sightedness’.  He says that half of Britons own smartphones and that they spend an average of two hours a day using them. This, along with time spent using computers and watching television, is putting children and young people at risk of permanently damaging their sight. According to Mr Allamby, excessive screen watching at close proximity keeps the genes that control myopia activated well beyond the age that short-sight would historically have stabilised – about 21. Myopia used to stop developing in people’s early 20s but now it is now seen progressing throughout the 20s, 30s, and even 40s.

Dry eye syndrome:

When people are concentrating on looking at a screen their blinking rate is reduced by a third. This leads to a higher rate of tear evaporation which is one of the leading causes of dry eye syndrome. This can, eventually, lead to permanent eye damage.

Staring at screens damages the eyes at night: Blue light effect:

A lesser known side effect of texting after dark is vision damage. The culprit is blue light. This member of the full light spectrum is extremely bright, and therefore harmful to look at when lights are off. Blue light is part of the full light spectrum, which means we’re exposed to it by the sun every day. However, nighttime exposure to that light, which is emitted at high levels by smartphones, tablets, laptops, and other LED screens, may be damaging your vision. Our various personal electronic devices emit blue light because it’s so bright. That’s the only way we can see those screens when the sun is shining. But we’ve started to have regular close-up nighttime exposure to this light only in the past 10 or 20 years. Direct exposure to blue light can cause damage to the retina. The American Macular Degeneration Foundation warns that retinal damage caused by blue light may lead to macular degeneration, which causes the loss of central vision – the ability to see what’s in front of you. It should be noted however, that most studies show this effect with the light being held very close to the retina, which may not exactly replicate typical phone use. There may also be a link between cataracts and blue light, though more research is needed.

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8. Smartphone causes injuries:

Palsson reported that injuries to children younger than 5 increased by 10 percent when a city gained access to a 3G network. Palsson was confident that he’d established a valid link between the children’s injuries and parental smartphone use because of the kinds of injuries shown in hospital records. Injuries such as falling down stairs or getting hurt at non-school playgrounds increased, while children remained relatively harm-free in school settings, where teachers aren’t on their phones.

Distracted walking cause injuries:

One study released in January 2014 by researchers at Australia’s University of Queensland found that texting and walking really isn’t as easy as it would seem. The researchers concluded that those who text or read on their phones and walk aren’t as likely to be aware of their surroundings and are less likely to keep their balance or walk in a straight line.

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Smartphone Ergonomics:

In today’s society, working with a smartphone is common practice. However, use of such devices can result in a wide range of injuries, including loss of coordination, muscle control, fatigue, neck, and back pain. There are numerous ways to decrease the probability of injuries, such as external keyboards, proper posture, short breaks, and many more simple tools that can both improve work experience and decrease potential injury. Smartphone users often adopt a posture of slouching over with a hunched back and tilted head—all very dangerous flexed and bent positions. Our back and spine are not designed to hold these unnatural and awkward positions, especially for the long durations these repetitive tasks are often performed. In addition to poor posture, extended duration, and repetition, there are additional elements such as force and recovery time that need to be considered. Force is the strain applied to the body, and recovery time is the amount of time the body needs to rest after being in an awkward position.

Some of the most common injuries from these behaviors include, but are not limited to:

• Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

• Cervical Disc Bulge (neck)

• Cervical Postural Syndrome (neck)

• Cevicogenic Headache (headache originating in neck)

• Lumbar Disc Bulge and Postural Syndrome (lower back)

• Thoracic Disc Bulge and Postural Syndrome (mid back)

• Thumb and Wrist Tendonitis

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Understanding the risks and potential consequences of using a smartphone allow for a safer workplace.

Below are simple tips to reduce risk of injury and pain when using a smartphone.

• Use a smartphone that has a full keyboard.

• Learn and use shortcuts, such as those for copying and pasting text.

• Use a neutral grip—straight and relaxed wrists.

• Maintain an upright posture; avoid looking down and rounding the shoulders.

• Type using the pad with fingertips and avoid using fingernails.

• Use a screen protector and keep the screen clean to prevent eyestrain.

• Consider dictation software to decrease typing on the device.

• Take regular five minute breaks.

• Use a hands-free device to eliminate awkward postures during long calls.

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Smartphone and Cancer risk:

Why is there concern that cell phones may cause cancer or other health problems?

There are three main reasons why people are concerned that cell phones might have the potential to cause certain types of cancer or other health problems:

1. Cell phones emit radiofrequency energy (radio waves), a form of non-ionizing radiation. Tissues nearest to where the phone is held can absorb this energy.

2. The number of cell phone users has increased rapidly. As of 2010, there were more than 303 million subscribers to cell phone service in the United States, according to the Cellular Telecommunications and Internet Association. This is a nearly threefold increase from the 110 million users in 2000. Globally, the number of cell phone subscriptions is estimated by the International Telecommunications Union to be 5 billion.

3. Over time, the number of cell phone calls per day, the length of each call, and the amount of time people use cell phones has increased. Cell phone technology has also undergone substantial changes.

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Key Points emerged out of plenty of worldwide studies:

1. Cell phones emit radiofrequency energy, a form of non-ionizing electromagnetic radiation, which can be absorbed by tissues closest to where the phone is held.

2. The amount of radiofrequency energy a cell phone user is exposed to depend on the technology of the phone, the distance between the phone’s antenna and the user, the extent and type of use, and the user’s distance from cell phone towers.

3. Studies thus far have not shown a consistent link between cell phone use and cancers of the brain, nerves, or other tissues of the head or neck. More research is needed because cell phone technology and how people use cell phones have been changing rapidly.

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Why are the findings from different studies of cell phone use and cancer risk inconsistent?

A limited number of studies have shown some evidence of statistical association of cell phone use and brain tumor risks, but most studies have found no association. Reasons for these discrepancies include the following:

1. Recall bias, which may happen when a study collects data about prior habits and exposures using questionnaires administered after disease has been diagnosed in some of the study participants. It is possible that study participants who have brain tumors may remember their cell phone use differently than individuals without brain tumors. Many epidemiologic studies of cell phone use and brain cancer risk lack verifiable data about the total amount of cell phone use over time. In addition, people who develop a brain tumor may have a tendency to recall using their cell phone mostly on the same side of their head where the tumor was found, regardless of whether they actually used their phone on that side of their head a lot or only a little.

2. Inaccurate reporting, which may happen when people say that something has happened more or less often than it actually did. People may not remember how much they used cell phones in a given time period.

3. Morbidity and mortality among study participants who have brain cancer. Gliomas are particularly difficult to study, for example, because of their high death rate and the short survival of people who develop these tumors. Patients who survive initial treatment are often impaired, which may affect their responses to questions. Furthermore, for people who have died, next-of-kin are often less familiar with the cell phone use patterns of their deceased family member and may not accurately describe their patterns of use to an interviewer.

4. Participation bias, which can happen when people who are diagnosed with brain tumors are more likely than healthy people (known as controls) to enroll in a research study. Also, controls who did not or rarely used cell phones were less likely to participate in the Interphone study than controls who used cell phones regularly. For example, the Interphone study reported participation rates of 78 percent for meningioma patients (range 56–92 percent for the individual studies), 64 percent for the glioma patients (range 36–92 percent), and 53 percent for control subjects (range 42–74 percent). One series of Swedish studies reported participation rates of 85 percent in people with brain cancer and 84 percent in control subjects.

5. Changing technology and methods of use. Older studies evaluated radiofrequency energy exposure from analog cell phones. However, most cell phones today use digital technology, which operates at a different frequency and a lower power level than analog phones. Digital cell phones have been in use for more than a decade in the United States, and cellular technology continues to change. Texting, for example, has become a popular way of using a cell phone to communicate that does not require bringing the phone close to the head. Furthermore, the use of hands-free technology, such as wired and wireless headsets, is increasing and may decrease radiofrequency energy exposure to the head and brain.

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Do children have a higher risk of developing cancer due to cell phone use than adults?

In theory, children have the potential to be at greater risk than adults for developing brain cancer from cell phones. Their nervous systems are still developing and therefore more vulnerable to factors that may cause cancer. Their heads are smaller than those of adults and therefore have a greater proportional exposure to the field of radiofrequency radiation that is emitted by cell phones. And children have the potential of accumulating more years of cell phone exposure than adults do. So far, the data from studies in children with cancer do not support this theory. The first published analysis came from a large case-control study called CEFALO, which was conducted in Denmark, Sweden, Norway, and Switzerland. The study included children who were diagnosed with brain tumors between 2004 and 2008, when their ages ranged from 7 to 19. Researchers did not find an association between cell phone use and brain tumor risk in this group of children. However, they noted that their results did not rule out the possibility of a slight increase in brain cancer risk among children who use cell phones, and that data gathered through prospective studies and objective measurements, rather than participant surveys and recollections, will be key in clarifying whether there is an increased risk.

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Sleep disturbance and “blue light at night” have been linked to higher cancer risk, particularly for breast and prostate cancers. In addition to helping us sleep, melatonin also functions as an antioxidant. And while more research is needed, researchers have pointed to “uninterrupted darkness” as potentially protective against cancer. People whose natural melatonin production is suppressed are at a higher risk for a variety of cancers, though a causal relationship has not been found.

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Digital dementia:

A new report out of South Korea — one of the most digitally connected countries in the world — finds that people are using smartphones and gaming consoles so much that their brains are turning into gooey, non-functioning messes. It’s called “digital dementia”……a term coined in South Korea – meaning a deterioration in cognitive abilities that is more commonly seen in people who have suffered a head injury or psychiatric illness. The report claims that young people have become so reliant on electronic devices that they can no longer remember things like their own phone numbers. But wait: If you don’t have to remember phone numbers, doesn’t that mean there’s free space in your brain for other things?  Byun Gi-won, a doctor at the Balance Brain Centre in Seoul, doesn’t see it that way, telling:  “Over-use of smartphones and game devices hampers the balanced development of the brain… Heavy users are likely to develop the left side of their brains, leaving the right side untapped or underdeveloped.”  The right side is where stuff like concentration, memory span and attention live, so if it’s under-developed, you may have trouble with focus or remembering anything.  In addition to messing with memory, over-use of digital devices can also cause one to suffer “emotional underdevelopment,” which means a whole generation (more than 64% of teenagers in South Korea have smartphones) might suffer in ways we can’t begin to imagine.

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Cell Phones and Germs:

Mobile phones not only carry important data, but germs too. The average mobile phone user puts their phone in contact with several places where it can pick up germs. In 2011, researchers from the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine at Queen Mary, University of London found that one in six cell phones is contaminated with some sort of fecal matter, probably because their owners did not wash their hands with soap after using the toilet. Some of the phones were found to harbor E. coli bacteria from fecal origin. If ingested into the body, E. coli can cause fever, vomiting, and diarrhea. Recently, students in an Environmental Health course at South University, Columbia sought to find out what germs live on cell phones. Swabbing a sample of 60 phones belonging to students, they found that phones were frequently contaminated with methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). The bacteria might remain confined to the skin, or burrow deeper into the body, causing potentially life-threatening infections in bones, joints, surgical wounds, the bloodstream, heart valves, and lungs. Basically if your hands are very dirty, then your phone tends to also be very contaminated with the same type of bacteria. So, people are advised to wash their hands with soap and water. They can also use a hand sanitizer, and importantly, clean their mobile phones often using cloths and wipes that are safe to use on devices.  A fairly dry towel can brush off many of the germs. The towel does not need to be very wet, which can be harmful to the device.

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Smartphones and Traffic Hazards:

People put themselves in potentially hazardous situations with their phones in hand. Using a cell phone while driving is dangerous. A recent study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention compared the percentage of distracted drivers in the United States and seven European countries. According to the study, 69% of drivers in the United States ages 18-64 reported that they had talked on their cell phone while driving within the 30 days before they were surveyed. In Europe, this percentage ranged from 21% in the United Kingdom to 59% in Portugal. Meanwhile, 31% of U.S. drivers ages 18-64 reported that they had read or sent text messages or email messages while driving at least once within the 30 days before they were surveyed. In Europe, this percentage ranged from 15% in Spain to 31% in Portugal. In addition to providing a comparison between those activities in the U.S. and Europe, the study gives insight into the prevalence of self-reported mobile device use while driving. Activities such as texting take the driver’s attention and hands away from driving more frequently and for longer periods than other distractions, making it dangerous. Younger, inexperienced drivers under the age of 20 may be at a higher risk; they have the highest proportion of distraction-related fatal crashes. But it’s not just drivers causing dangerous situations on the roadways. Pedestrians using cell phones are just as dangerous as drivers using them. A study published in Injury Prevention says that one in three pedestrians is distracted by a mobile device while crossing busy streets. This type of distraction could lead to accidents that injure the pedestrian and/or drivers. Traffic accidents are preventable. By simply putting their phone away while driving or crossing the street, drivers and pedestrians can prevent accidents. They should wait until they are stationary before making a phone call, sending a text message, or sending an email. Studies suggest that drivers using a mobile phone are approximately four times more likely to be involved in a crash. American website distraction.gov says: “10% of drivers under the age of 20 involved in fatal crashes were reported as distracted at the time of the crash.”  US statistics show distracted driving crashes accounted for 3,328 fatalities in 2012 and while other distractions exists, because text messaging requires visual, manual and cognitive attention from the driver, it is by far the most alarming distraction.’

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Smartphone and sleep:

 

The figure above shows child sleeping with smartphone.

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According to research from the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute’s (RPI) Lighting Research Center (LRC), our electronic backlit devices can seriously affect our sleep cycles. “Our study shows that a two-hour exposure to light from self-luminous electronic displays can suppress melatonin by about 22 percent. Stimulating the human circadian system to this level may affect sleep in those using the devices prior to bedtime,” said Mariana Figueiro, associate professor at RPI and director of the LRC’s Light and Health program. Melatonin is a hormone affected by darkness that lets the body knows that it’s time to conk out for the night; too much light can cause a decrease in melatonin. Using smartphones late at night can disturb sleep due to the bright screen (blue) light affecting melatonin levels and sleep cycles.  Smartphones and tablets can make for sleep-disrupting bedfellows. One cause is believed to be the bright light-emitting diodes that allow the use of mobile devices in dimly lit rooms; the light exposure can interfere with melatonin, a hormone that helps control the natural sleep-wake cycle. But there may be a way to check your mobile device in bed and still get a good night’s sleep. A Mayo Clinic study suggests dimming the smartphone or tablet brightness settings and holding the device at least 14 inches from your face while using it will reduce its potential to interfere with melatonin and impede sleep.

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Smartphones’ Blue Light may lead to Weight Gain as a result of Poor Sleep:

You already know the blue light that emits from your smartphone disrupts production of the sleep hormone melatonin. And as research continues to strengthen the association between sleep deprivation and obesity, it was only a matter of time before a study found smartphones might make people fat, too. The timing of sleep doesn’t only mean a regular, healthy dose of melatonin; it also means a regular, healthy dose of ghrelin and leptin, the hunger hormones. Without sleep, these hormones can be altered, skewing a person’s appetite and encouraging them to overconsume high-calorie foods. Consuming more of these increases risk for belly fat, which then increases risk for diabetes.

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Switching off your smartphone at night makes you more productive:

Researchers have found a link between ‘always-on’ work and drop in productivity. Answering work emails at all hours may seem like productive behaviour but you are robbing yourself of downtime, and risk triggering a downward cycle that could ultimately threatening the very job you’re so busy trying to save. Google considers it a big enough problem that it has dedicated a special team of PhD researchers to gather meaningful data on work/life balance. The gDNA project recently found that 70 per cent of 4000 of the search engine giant’s employees could not resist working on their smartphones and laptops once they had left the office. They were not only checking email all evening, but pressing refresh on GMail again and again to see if new work has come in. Worse, half of this group wants to switch off but can’t. In another study, Consequences of late-night smartphone use and sleep, researchers from Washington, Florida and Michigan State universities found that using smartphones before bed disturbs sleep, negatively affects work and accelerates “ego depletion”, which refers to people’s capacity to self-regulate behaviour and act positively and productively.

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Smartphone can harm Children’s Sleeping Patterns:

According to a new study in the journal of Pediatrics, smartphones will take away sleeping hours from your children if you allow them to sleep with it. The children sleep less on the average compared to kids who sleep without their smartphones, according to the study. The research showed that small screens have a more negative effect in terms of sleep loss compared to big screens. The presence of a TV in the room led to less sleep, but it did not affect the quality of their sleep as they observed, according to the report.

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Adverse impact of smartphone on mental health:

There is countless research on mobile phone use and its influence on the human’s psychological mind, indicating support for mobile phones as good and bad. Referring to the possible negative outcomes of mobile phone use, we may encounter stress, sleep disturbances and symptoms of depression, especially in young adults. Consistent phone use can cause a chain reaction, affecting one aspect of a user’s life and expanding to contaminate the rest. It usually starts with social disorders, which can lead to depression and stress and ultimately affect lifestyle habits such as sleeping right and eating right.

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Can Smartphones reduce Your Creativity?

Yes.

People in their early seventies listened to a story and then were asked to recall as much of it as they could. They then either just sat engaging in “wakeful resting” for 10 minutes or they played a spot-the-difference computer game. Those who had rested for the ten minutes after learning the story remembered a lot more of it half an hour later than those who had played the game. Amazingly, and more importantly, these effects lasted a full 7 days. And it wasn’t the case that they were frantically rehearsing the story while supposed wakefully resting—debriefing afterwards showed that very little of that went on. These effects, known as consolidation were an automatic process of laying down the memory that goes on in the resting brain, but not the computer—dazzled one. Creative solutions to problems are more likely to come when your mind is wandering than when it is focused on a task like thumbing through a thousand tweets. Numerous studies and much accepted wisdom suggest that time spent doing nothing is beneficial for sparking and sustaining creativity. With our iPhone in hand – or any smartphone, really – our minds, always engaged, always fixed on that tiny screen and our creativity suffers….Spending so much time texting and updating, tweeting and watching, calling and playing at every free moment, from every location, we are never alone with our thoughts, never allowing our thoughts to drift, impacts our creativity, which in turn can limit our full potential. Recent research has indicated that smartphone use actually teaches our brains to become bored more easily by eroding our ability to focus, driving a vicious circle in which constant stimulation reduces our ability to entertain ourselves which in turn pushes us to seek out yet more intense stimulation and so on. We have to balance our need for smartphone-enabled productivity with our desire to keep our creative impulses alive.

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NoMoPhobia:

Nomophobia- fear of being without your smartphone- affects 40% of the population. Losing your iPhone isn’t as bad as losing a limb, but it can feel that way, suggests new research from the University of Missouri. In a paper titled “The Extended iSelf,” researchers built on the theory that people see their cell phones as part of themselves. Phone separation anxiety — something other researchers have called “NoMoPhobia,” or no-mobile phobia — leads to increased blood pressure and heart rate, and decreased performance at mental tasks. It also stoked anxiety in study subjects, and a feeling that an important part of themselves was missing.  The “Extended Self Theory,” which holds that people can see external objects as an extension of themselves, and feel somehow incomplete without them. The theory that objects can become so familiar to people that they feel like parts of their body will not sound new to musicians or athletes who use tools like a baseball glove. The process has been called “embodiment.”  External objects become viewed as part of self when we are able to exercise power or control over them, just as we might control an arm or leg. The point is that when we are able to exercise power or control over our possessions, the more closely allied with the self the object becomes. It’s no surprise that an experienced carpenter would eventually feel that their hammer is an extension of their hand. In fact, that can be seen as a healthy, and even beautiful, manifestation of practicing an art craft. And maybe you feel like your phone is that important to your daily work. It seems more likely, however, that this is a bad thing. Phone attachment sounds more like a compulsion that an art. Users in the study reported being on their phones 3.5 hours each day. That helps them stay “constantly connected to the world and therefore feel less alone.” That doesn’t sound healthy. Now Americans are bringing their smartphones into the bedroom. That’s right — texting while having sex. A recently released study indicated one in ten participants admitted to having used their phone during sex. As far as young adults, ages 18 to 34, make that one in five — 20 percent. A University of Southern California study found that the unprotected adolescent sexual activity was more common amongst owners of smartphones. The bedroom isn’t the only intrusion the smartphone is making into supposedly private, sacred moments, either. The 2013 Mobile Consumer Habits found 12 percent use their beloved devices in the shower. Worse still, more than 50 percent acknowledged they still text while driving, despite the fact that this is six times more dangerous than driving drunk. It used to be that a ménage à trois was three people engaging in consensual sex, but in this high tech world, that third person is being replaced by the smartphone.

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What is Smartphone Addiction?

Recently, there has been a lot of research regarding electronics and the impact they have on our brain activity. A lot of people view Smartphone addiction as something to joke about, but it is a problem that many people suffer from. Scientists also claim there may be a genetic variation that enables some people to be prone to these types of addictions. Smartphone addiction is often fueled by “Internet Use Disorder” or “IUD”. The American Psychiatric Association claims that a person suffering from “IUD will experience ‘preoccupation’ with the internet” and suffers from withdrawal if the Internet is removed. Smartphones allow continuous mobile access to the Internet, which leads to cementing Internet addiction in people. People with IUD have measurable changes in their brains. The connections between the cells and regions that “control attention, executive control, and emotion processing” are impacted. These changes mirror what happens in the brain connections of people who are addicted to chemical substances like cocaine. Other studies have measured changes in how “the brain’s dopamine system operates”. Dopamine is a product of our body that is responsible for “allowing us to experience pleasure and reward”. Researchers are starting to notice a correlation between people who suffer from Internet disorders. The addicts may have less dopamine receptors in parts of their brain or their dopamine functions might be compromised. Studies on the affects of texting in teenagers, arguably the first demographic to fully embrace the new method of communication, concluded that the concrete social anticipation combined with the chemical reward that came with receiving, opening and replying to the message was what made it so addicting.

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According to the Pew’s Internet Research Project over 90% of Americans own a cell phone with a whopping 58% owning Smartphones. If those numbers aren’t startling, consider that the Pew research shows:

•“67% of cell owners check their phone for messages, alerts, or calls — even when they don’t notice the phone ringing or vibrating.”

•“44% of cell owners have slept with their phone next to their bed because they wanted to make sure they didn’t miss any calls, text messages, or other updates during the night.”

•“29% of cell owners describe their cell phone as ‘something they can’t imagine living without’.”

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A 2014 study asked 164 college students about their smartphone use: Women spent an average of 10 hours a day on their phones and men logged more than seven hours. The researchers asked about specific activities on the phone and found that social media apps, such as Instagram and Pinterest, engendered the most addiction-related responses. Indeed, social media addiction is another recent area of study for researchers.

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According to a 2011 study published in the journal Personal and Ubiquitous Computing, people aren’t addicted to smartphones themselves as much as they are addicted to “checking habits” that develop with phone use — including repeatedly (and very quickly) checking for news updates, emails, or social media connections. That study found that certain environmental triggers — like being bored or listening to a lecture — trigger the habits. And while the average user checks his or her smartphone 35 times a day — for about 30 seconds each time, when the information rewards are greater (e.g., having contact info linked to the contact’s whereabouts), users check even more often.

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The figure below shows that internet addiction, smartphone addiction, social media addiction and checking habits are all inter-connected in internet use disorder.

However, non-internet component of smartphone addiction would include excessive use of smartphone games and camera.

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Experts say that as many as 6 percent of smartphone users could be termed addicts. According to a Rutgers University study, being addicted to your Blackberry is similar to being addicted to drugs. No wonder the device was coined “crackberry.” It’s a tough habit to break. Forty-nine percent of people say they keep their email devices nearby when they sleep so they can listen for new messages. A 2012 study from Baylor University in the UK found that mobile phone addiction is driven by the same impulses as credit card overspending and compulsive buying. Prior research has found that young adults send an average of nearly 110 text messages a day and check their email 60 times a day on average. A separate 2011 study conducted by the University of Maryland’s International Center for Media & the Public Agenda recorded reactions when it asked university students around the world to abstain from media for 24 hours, with students reporting cravings, anxiety and depression during the media fast.

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While smartphones have made life easier for some, psychologists say the love of them is becoming more like an addiction, creating consequences that range from minor (teenagers who communicate in three-letter acronyms like LOL and BRB) to major (car accidents caused by people who text while driving). Merlo, a clinical psychologist, said she’s observed a number of behaviors among smartphone users that she labels “problematic.” Among them, Merlo says some patients pretend to talk on the phone or fiddle with apps to avoid eye contact or other interactions at a bar or a party. Others are so genuinely engrossed in their phones that they ignore the people around them completely. “The more bells and whistles the phone has,” she says, “the more likely they are to get too attached.” Michelle Hackman, a recent high school graduate in Long Island, NY, won a $75,000 prize in this year’s Intel Science Talent Search with a research project investigating teens’ attachment to their cell phones. She found that students separated from their phones were under-stimulated and a low heart rate was an indicator and lacked the ability to entertain themselves. Most of the teens at Hackman’s affluent high school own smartphones, she says, and could even be found texting under their desks during class. “It creates an on-edge feeling and you don’t realize how much of the lecture you’re missing,” Hackman says. For some, the anxious feeling that they might miss something has caused them to slumber next to their smartphones. More than a third of U.S. adults 35 percent now own a smartphone, according to the Pew Research Center, and two-thirds of them sleep with their phones right next to their beds. Michael Breus, a psychologist and sleep specialist, said in his clinical practice, his patients often describe how they answer emails, text and surf the Web as they’re trying to wind down at night. He says this is a bad idea. “This behavior can increase cognitive arousal,” he says, “leading to the No. 1 complaint I hear: ‘I can’t turn off my mind and fall asleep’.” Trouble sleeping isn’t the only problem smartphones junkies exhibit. Some people are willing to do almost anything to feed their addiction including spending more money for the data plans than they can afford. According to J.D. Power and Associates, the average smartphone user spends about $107 each month for wireless access more than the average household pays for electricity each month. And consumers’ dependence on mobile phones is only expected to grow as people use their phones for things like shopping and banking.

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Dr. Greenfield is founder of The Center for Internet and Technology Addiction, one of the few places in the world that specifically treats smartphone and technology addiction, as well Internet, video game, and pornography addiction. “When we’re engaged in these digital technologies we’re not doing other things that may be important for our lives, whether its exercise, socializing or work”, says Dr. Greenfield, before going on to explain that the ever-present nature of smartphones and our “hyper-vigilance” towards them elevates stress hormones and is “not good for productivity or physical health”. He describes the smartphone as the “smallest slot machine in the world” because of the variable-ratio reinforcement schedule. When your phone rings or buzzes you can’t predict what it will be, if it’s an important email, a text from someone you love, or maybe a winning score for your favourite football team, you get a pleasurable neurochemical hit of dopamine.  “It can start as a minor irritation for family and friends,” says Professor Reed, a psychologist at Swansea University. Some smartphone owners are reporting broken sleep patterns where they’re actually waking up to check the Internet, email, or social media. At the extreme there are people spending 60-70% of their waking life on the Internet for non-work-related purposes. “Perhaps 6-10% of people display some signs of Internet addiction,” says Reed, “it’s a behavioural addiction like gambling or pornography.” It may not have the same physiological consequences as something like alcohol or drug addiction, but smartphone addiction works the same way Dr. Greenfield explains, “irresistible urges, inability to stop using compulsively, withdrawal when you don’t have it, and increased tolerance which leads to using it more and more.” Both Greenfield and Reed have found classic withdrawal symptoms in Internet or smartphone addicts. They report pronounced negative mood swings, irritability, frustration, feeling disconnected, and a fear of missing out. “You also see some physiological changes,” says Reed, “increased blood pressure and increased heart rate, which indicates that people are using it like a sedative, or an escape.” The good news for most of us is that withdrawal lasts a matter of hours or days. Whereas a cigarette addict craves nicotine, smartphone addicts crave something to fill those moments of “forever empty,” as Louis C.K. called it. Those idle moments when we’re overcome by a fatalistic feeling that “it’s all for nothing and you’re alone.” The smartphone addiction is similar to one of the reasons why teenagers become addicted to cigarettes. There is peer pressure. The next time you leave home, notice how many people are talking on their phones, sending text messages, or checking emails. These activities are common. While high school may be over, you may still have desires to fit in with the majority of the population. You may also want to keep up to date on technology trends and therefore desire the latest gadget. Psychiatrist and psychotherapist Dr Anjali Chhabria says that smartphone addiction has definitely increased in the past few years and it is something which probably is the target of companies manufacturing the phones today. “Coming to it from a usage point of view, everyone’s need for a phone varies so does everyone’s time spent on the phone. Having more facilities and accessibility does tempt individuals to use it more than required, for some individuals, it can be an addiction. The reason behind this addiction could be lack of impulse control and restlessness. We have seen quite a few cases of smartphone addiction especially amongst teenagers,” says she. In his practice, consultant psychiatrist Dr Milan Balakrishnan has found that low-self esteem is a risk factor for such addictions. “Parents come forward with a child who is lost in his/her phone to an extent that he does not interact with parents or siblings. He/she does not interact or meet with friends except in his virtual world,” says he. There are a wide range of smartphone functions, including Internet use, online gaming, digital cameras, and GPS navigation. And you can use these functions anywhere and at any time. But these various convenient functions are contributing factors to excessive use which leads to addiction.

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Smartphone ‘Addiction’ may affect Adolescent Development: 2013 study:

The greater the overuse of smartphones, the greater the risk for severe psychopathologies in adolescents, new research suggests. The study of nearly 200 adolescents in Korea showed that those who were very high users of smartphones had significantly more problematic behaviors, including somatic symptoms, attentional deficits, and aggression, than did those who were low users. In addition, the investigators note that the effects of smartphone overuse were similar to those of Internet overuse. Internet use gaming disorder has been included in Section 3 of the just-released fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), the section of the manual reserved for conditions considered worthy of further research. “Regardless of addictive patterns, our results showed that the more addicted that youth were, the more severe their psychopathologies were,” study investigator Jonghun Lee, MD, PhD, professor of psychiatry at the Catholic University of Daegu School of Medicine in South Korea says.

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A new study from Korean researchers noted the negative psychological consequences of excessive Internet use, including imbalance of real-life relationships, sleep, work, and education; increased aggression, hostility, and stress; problems with verbal memory and attention; maladaptive coping strategies; and surprise, surprise, loneliness. The study investigated smartphone and Internet addiction among 448 university students (178 males and 270 females) in Seoul. The researchers measured, via a series of questionnaires, the severity of students’ Internet and smartphone addictions, while also assessing their mood, their anxiety, and their personality. In general, males were found to be more addicted to technology than females, however, when it came to smartphones, this pattern was reversed. Nevertheless, a trend common to be sexes was anxiety levels and neurotic personality traits increased with addiction severity levels. Once again, this study, due to the low number of participants, could not be considered definitive. Yet, the study does add a little more anecdotal fuel to the flames. “The present findings on personality are highly consistent with previous studies,” wrote the authors in their conclusion. “A study on Internet addiction among Chinese adolescents reported that the Internet-addicted group scored higher in the neuroticism and psychoticism dimensions” when compared to control participants.

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There are simple indicators that you’re a smartphone addict:

1. You can’t go five minutes without checking your inbox.

2. You have more than five email accounts.

3. You respond to messages on your Blackberry in the middle of the night.

4. When your inbox says, “no new messages,” you hit the refresh button just to make sure.

5. Checking email constantly is also a way to prove you’re “always on top of things,” and can respond instantly.

6. Feeling anxious whenever you do not have your phone in your physical possession.

7. Phantom cellphone vibration syndrome is real, and it’s a symptom of addiction.

8. You’re not listening. In fact, you have no idea what the person in front of you is talking about because you keep checking your Facebook page, tweets and texts.

9. Failing in School. Poor grades can often be blamed on using the smartphone in classes.

10. Running to the store for 30 minutes and halfway there you realize you forgot your phone and you must turn around to get it.

11. Withdrawals: If you completely freak out, and go through withdrawals when your phone is out of your site for just a few minutes, you may have a problem. Withdrawal symptoms include pronounced negative mood swings, irritability, frustration, feeling disconnected, and a fear of missing out.

12. Keeping it close: If you charge your phone next to your bed, or sleep with your phone in your bed, you may need an intervention.

13. Justification: You justify the need to be on your phone all the time, with the excuse that you may miss a work email. Admitting you have a problem is the first step to recovery.

14. Tidy Phone: If you manage and take care of your apps better than your own home, you might need to rethink your priorities.

15. Search: You freak out that you can’t find your phone, only to find it in your hand or pocket.

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Solutions to smartphone addiction:

First step is to admit that there is a problem and confide in your near and dear ones. The best way to curb this addiction would be learning to prioritize and time management. People often do not realise when they are meeting friends, conversing with people, in meetings, etc. they are so engrossed in their phone, that they are being disrespectful to the other person. Also, if people think they cannot control their urge to use their phone, they should switch off their phone or put it on silent and keep it in a place where they do not keep looking at the screen. Start maintaining a diary to track your cellphone use and enter them as things that were urgent and those that were just to escape boredom or because of craving. Keeping track itself will help you cut down. Start cutting down on use. First try and reduce the least important activity and continue to taper down while maintaining a log. Learn to switch off your phone or at least turn it to silent at night unless you’re in a job that has night time emergencies. You don’t have to reply to every mail or comment on every status update immediately. You can allocate a time of the day when you will do that. Downgrade to a simpler phone without elaborate functions. If all this fails seek professional help as it maybe a mask for more serious psychological problems.

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A couple of reports published suggested we unlock our phones anywhere between 110 and 150 times every single day. That’s a lot of checking, often done habitually without any deliberate thought or goal. Not only is the time you spend gazing at your mobile time you could use doing something else, incessant phone checking interrupts whatever you were doing—be it working, chatting to a friend or watching a movie—and makes it difficult to get back on track. Are you ready to break free from your smartphone addiction and claim some of your valuable time back?

There are effective remedies for you to try out.

1. Turn off notifications

2. Uninstall unnecessary apps

3. Activate Airplane Mode

Airplane mode blocks incoming SMS messages and phone calls which means you’re unavailable if someone really, really needs to get in touch with you, but you might consider it a price worth paying. As you may remember, humankind managed to get by for several millennia before the invention of the smartphone, so it’s possible that you can survive a few hours of interruption-free time.

4. Keep phone away.

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Smartphone, children, teens and students:

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Children’s Smartphone & digital media use and possible concerns:

Numerous harmful issues have been associated with children’s smartphone & digital media use. These include:

1. Children’s Eye Health:

As parents are spending more time using digital media, so are their children, and the children might be suffering from the side effects of overuse, like their parents. This includes digital eye strain (red, dry or irritated eyes; blurred vision; or eye fatigue); back, neck and shoulder pain; and headaches. Excessive exposure to the use of smartphones at an early age can also trigger poor eyesight for kids.

2. Brain Development:

Our brains are designed to be effective when a socially interactive environment stimulates curiosity and exploration. Because it is possible that excessive childhood involvement with digital media limits children’s social interaction, this could hinder children’s brain development and have negative effects on their overall development. The use of smartphones exposes children to the practice of clicking or jumping from one option to another that trains them to gather small chunks of information. This habit may be harmful to kids’ overall brain development. They will be trained to switch from one topic to another quickly and it will be hard for them to focus and concentrate on just one big chunk of information when the situation calls for it.

3. Sleep Problems:

Studies have started showing an association of smartphone use with sleep problems in preschool-aged children. The studies revealed that the length and timing (daytime versus evening) of screen time and the content of smartphone affected the amount of the increase in sleep problems.

4. Attention Problems:

Research suggests that the use of digital media might have an effect on children’s attention skills, such as increasing hyperactivity and difficulty in concentrating.

5. Late Academic Achievement:

Studies suggest that excessive media use (video games) at an earlier age is associated with lower academic achievement later in life.

6. Social Development:

Children who spend more time with media devices reportedly have lower levels of personal contentment and have a tendency to get in trouble more often. They also report feeling more sad or bored than their counterparts. Smartphone games and applications designed for kids can actually discourage them from interacting with other kids and people around them. Traditional playtime may eventually be a thing of the past with the presence of all these highly technological games.

Smartphones bad for children’s social skills?

Children’s increased use of smartphones and tablets could hinder the development of parts of their brain that affect social skills, a psychology researcher said. Parents who use phones and iPads as a substitute for their own interactions are compromising the development of the attention center of the brain. The parts of the brain that determine attention span can be severely limited if boredom is immediately alleviated rather than endured. The early years of childhood (4 to 10 years) are when the brain is most susceptible to suggestion and molding. Parents who use these devices as a means of escaping awkward situations are compromising their children’s ability to cope in the future.  More than 70 percent of children under the age of 8 use a smartphone weekly and 28 percent of parents use technology as a parenting supplement, according to a 2012 American Academy of Pediatrics study. Parents use the bright screen of a cellphone to save the family from lengthy tantrums and public embarrassment. Parents who give their children devices to prevent outbursts are practicing a don’t-think-twice attitude that ignores proven child-rearing techniques. More confrontational methods of parenting increasingly are abandoned because the results are not immediately apparent. The effects of a tablet or phone, on the other hand, are immediate but not permanent. Kids shouldn’t be entertained all the time, it isn’t a reflection of how the world works or should work.

7. Physical Development and Obesity:

Digital media use might take time away from play and physical activities. It has been reported that a child who spends more than four hours a day watching television is more likely to be overweight than one who watches less than two hours. Children’s excessive use of digital media might limit necessary physical challenges to their bodies in order to achieve optimal sensory and motor development. Online and video games are terribly addicting so it is highly likely that kids will spend hours playing on smartphones if they get hooked on a particular game. Thus, they might be discouraged from getting up from their seat and going out to play with you or their friends. They can get overweight or develop other body ailments that may arise from inadequate physical activities.

8. Language Development:

Studies have shown that the use of digital media could delay children’s language development, especially for children age 2 and under 2.

A Possible Benefit:

Although scarce, a few studies have found that high-quality educational programs with a specific goal to teach academic skills can have benefits for children older than 2 years, but not for children younger than 2 years. There are now even several apps designed for preschool age children. Many parents have claimed to have witnessed positive educational effects. There are some advantages to kids having computer and smart phone access. Some data tells us that computer games can help kids with ADHD, hand-eye coordination, and there are also some associations between computer use and literacy and numeracy skills in young children. People are social creatures. While young children are probably free of the intoxicating social anticipation of the smartphone, and the smartphone has a superficial dimension of interactivity that TV lacks, the fact remains that it discourages social interaction, which needs to be squeezed in at every possible moment with children. Well-adjusted children need to be used to being in tune with their surroundings and free from unnatural digital distractions, because that’s how young children have developed through the millions of years of human evolution. Touching, talking and physical playing and movement remain the only way to make sure a child will reach his or her full developmental potential. You’d be surprised how quickly a 4- or 5-year-old can learn to go to YouTube on a smartphone and zone the hell out like the rest of us; it really is only a matter of touching a shape.

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Parents glued to Smartphones have ‘More Negative’ interactions with their Kids:

A new study published in the journal Pediatrics found that adults absorbed in their mobile devices were more likely to harshly scold their children’s behavior. Researchers from Boston Medical Center observed parents interacting with their children during meals in fast-food restaurants. They noted that one-third of the adults used their phones continuously during the meals, and 73 percent of them checked their devices at least once. When a parent who was glued to the phone was interrupted by a child, the parent was apt to react negatively, according to the study. One mother even kicked her child under the table after the child attempted to get her attention while she tapped away at her smartphone. Another mother ignored her child as he tried to lift her head from looking down at a tablet. Researchers believed the kids may have been acting out as a way to test limits or gain the parent’s attention. Before we go pointing the finger at all parents who use their smartphones during meals, let’s keep in mind that most of us have trouble putting the mobile devices away. One British survey found that 66 percent of people are afraid to be separated from their cell phones. Another study by Time noted that 84 percent of respondents said they couldn’t go a single day without their cell phones, and 20 percent said they check their phone every 10 minutes. There’s even evidence that more and more people are using smartphones during sex. Still, researchers say their study of the effects of smartphone addiction on the parent-child dynamic is particularly important because it could have consequences for a child’s development. “We know from decades of research that face-to-face interactions are important for cognitive, language and emotional development,” Radesky told Health Day. “Before mobile devices existed, mealtime would’ve been a time where we would’ve seen those interactions.” Researchers say additional studies and further discussion about the use of technology around children are needed.

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One-Third of Children under 2 have used Smartphones, Study says:

A new study by Common Sense Media has revealed a startling increase in the use of mobile devices among young children, raising serious questions about the long-term effects of the trend. In a survey of 1,463 parents, the media-monitoring group found that the number of very young children using smartphones and tablets has shot up in the past year. According to the study, 38 percent of children under 2 have used a mobile device for media, up from only 10 percent two years ago. Common Sense Media founder and CEO Jim Steyer says that this is disconcerting, considering the American Academy of Pediatrics’ warnings against any digital media screen time for children at that age. The reason is, there’s clear evidence about some of the potentially damaging effects on development.  And also there’s no evidence that any learning happens via media up until the age of 2. While television is a still a dominant force in children’s media, daily minutes with it are down as handheld, all-in-one devices make their way into kids’ entertainment and education.

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Lock your kids’ smartphone if they ignore your call:

Parents, please note. If your kids ignore your calls, use this app to lock their smartphones immediately to get their attention back. Called “Ignore No More”, the app promises to help parents get control back over their child’s phone. Just install the app on your phones and your child’s phone. Tap the kid’s name and enter a four-digit code to lock their device. When the smartphone is locked, kids can’t “text, surf the internet, play games or look at Facebook”. What they can do is call the parent back to get the password to unlock their phone. It is not about punishing the child — it is a tool to try and correct the behaviour.

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Smartphone and teens/students:

Smartphone adoption among American teens has increased substantially and mobile access to the internet is pervasive. One in four teens are “cell-mostly” internet users, who say they mostly go online using their phone and not using some other device such as a desktop or laptop computer. These are among the new findings from a nationally representative survey in 2013 of 802 teens ages 12-17 and their parents which shows that:

•78% of teens now have a cell phone, and almost half (47%) of those own smartphones. That translates into 37% of all teens who have smartphones, up from just 23% in 2011.

•One in four teens (23%) has a tablet computer, a level comparable to the general adult population.

•Nine in ten (93%) teens have a computer or have access to one at home. Seven in ten (71%) teens with home computer access say the laptop or desktop they use most often is one they share with other family members.

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Adverse impact of smartphones on teens/students:

•Excessive use of smartphones, especially at nighttime, may cause teenagers to develop sleeping problems.

•Smartphones can be costly for parents. From data packages to cellular service, in-app purchases to online gaming, and cell phone accessories to music downloads, it adds up fast!

•Smartphones present a huge distraction in classrooms, where teachers are forced to compete for students’ attention. Most teachers ask their classes to put phones away or set them to “silent,” but students are inevitably tempted to look at the smartphones.

•Some teenagers believe that smartphone dependency may be making them more lazy and preventing them from unlocking their potential.

•Federal privacy laws don’t fully protect kids, so the information they send and receive through their smartphones can be sold. This has prompted calls for reform legislation.

•New and young drivers are particularly susceptible to driving while distracted by their cell phones. This has led to an upsurge in car accidents involving teenage drivers.

•Smartphones have been implicated in a number of high school cheating scandals. Students can surreptitiously look up information on their phones or even text answers to their classmates.

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In a survey of 100 students at Dongguk University, about 50% of the students use their smartphones more than five hours a day and 68% rated themselves as being addicted to their phones. The main purpose of the students’ smartphone use was to chat with friends, play games and read news. 70% of the surveyed students feel anxious when their phone’s battery is running out or when they cannot update applications. Moreover, 77% of the students answered that their smartphones caused distraction when they study or work. 16% reported that they had experienced fraud related to smartphone, such as fake application (which secretly takes user’s money or private information). This survey shows that most of the students are spending a lot of their time using smartphones and are likely to be addicted to it.

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Smartphones Impact on Today’s students:

Today, smartphones are in the hands of almost every student. It has become so common that young children are starting to ask their parents for one. Although nobody can deny the ability to find and use information fast on a smartphone, many people feel students should not have one. These smartphones are effecting verbal communication, writing skills, as well as increasing laziness in our students. Verbal communication is increasingly becoming a problem in today’s society and it is because of smartphones. Our generation is known as the “texting generation”. These days, students talk to their friends using text messages or calling. This takes away our ability to talk to someone face to face. It affects college graduates not being confident enough to present themselves properly in an interview with a future employer. Texting interaction leaves out basic skills like, clear speaking, body language, eye contact with the person to whom they are speaking too, and the ability to listen and stay focused on what the person is saying. More and more these days students go to their phones or computers when needing to write an essay. Students search Google and various other search engines to help find the most up to date information, although the information is handy and very tempting, it is creating pure laziness in today’s society. These smartphones contain encyclopedias, dictionaries and as we all know, the internet. There is no exerted effort into collecting this information, students are too lazy to read a book and quite frankly, some just don’t have time. Also, students are being distracted by cellphones. It is causing lack of focus and discipline. Often times students will sit down to study and all of the sudden hear their phone go off, and they’ll get self-indulged into the conversation and no longer continue to study.

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Smartphone, society and social impact:

There is an enormous impact of the mobile phone on contemporary society from a social scientific perspective. In the book Perpetual contact: mobile communication, private talk, public performance, the author James E. Katz, PhD, writes: “They have transformed social practices and changed the way we do business, yet surprisingly we have little perception on their effect in our lives.” Some people are replacing face-to-face conversations with cybernetic ones. Clinical psychologist Lisa Merlo says, “Some patients pretend to talk on the phone or fiddle with apps to avoid eye contact or other interactions at a party.” In a survey made by Gazelle, “More than 25% of respondents reported that they “almost always” use their smartphone while in a social setting such as during a meal or during a party. In addition, 58% said they use it ‘usually’ or ‘occasionally’ during these settings.”  Laura Perlow, author of book “Sleeping With Your Smartphone,” surveyed thousands of workers in high-pressure environments, from investment banking and management consulting to staffers working at not-for-profit organizations. In her research, Perlow found that:

•70% check their phones in the morning within just one hour of getting up

•56% check their phones before going to bed

•48% check their phones over the weekend

•51% constantly check their phones during vacation

•44% reported they would feel very anxious and irritable if they don’t interact with their phones within a week

“While most [executives] perk up at the idea of more time off, they quickly point out how impractical that is in their day-to-day lives,” Perlow writes. She notes that the need for a constant connection is driven by important business reasons—say, being available to offer an immediate response when customers are unhappy. People are substituting, on a grand scale, the valuable experience of chatting with people face-to-face with simply sending them a text that consists of a few words and abbreviations. The real time reaction isn’t there; there is a sense that there is a lack of reality, which has been replaced by a virtual reality. This evidently results in people who don’t know how to act when they’re not using their cell phones.

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Survey of 2014: 17% of Americans would give up best friend for smartphone:

Some Americans are so attached to their smartphones that they’d rather temporarily lose a best friend than have their device taken away. That’s one of the slightly disturbing findings from a survey commissioned by Motorola Mobility and B2X Care Solutions, which polled more than 500 smartphone and tablet users in America. The companies found that 17 percent of women would give up their best friend for a week instead of their smartphone. It’s unclear what the statistic is for men, but it would be similar. At first glance, it is a bit startling to hear that about 1 in 6 Americans would ditch the best friend for a gadget. Though given how much some of us rely on a smartphone, the statistic is not all that surprising.

Other findings from the survey:

•74 percent keep their smartphones within reach throughout the entire day

•60 percent sleep with their phones and that number increases to 84 percent in the 18-29 year olds demographic, while their European counterparts are more likely to keep their devices in the next room

•53 percent keep their phone sound on even while they sleep

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One-Third of Americans would give up Sex, not Cell Phone:

According to new research commissioned by The Boston Consulting Group, nearly 1/3 of Americans would rather give up sex for a year than part with their phones for the same amount of time. Sex isn’t the only thing Americans would give up for their phones. Over 55% said they would stop dining out for 12 months instead of parting with their phones, and 45% said they would postpone their vacations. 46% of those surveyed said they would give up a day off work per week just to be able to maintain a connection with their phones. The survey consisted of 1,003 Americans who were interviewed between September and November of 2014. The research done in America is part of a broader study of mobile technology that Boston Consulting commissioned. Consumers in Brazil, Germany, South Korea, China and India were also asked to participate, making up a total sample size of 7,500 people. The addiction to our phones is also felt in other parts of the world. One-quarter of Brazilians were willing to give up sex for their phones, while 60% of South Koreans admitted they would. Close to 66% of those surveyed in India and 55% of the Chinese participants said they would rather give up a day off work for a year than part with their mobile phones.

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Smartphone adversely affects interpersonal relations:

A University of Essex study found that the presence of a cell phone also interferes with our ability to form close interpersonal connections. In one lab experiment, researchers paired volunteers who had never met and had them take turns discussing an interesting personal event that occurred in the past month. Half the conversations took place with the experimenter’s cell phone sitting on the table. In the other half, a small spiral notebook was sat on the table instead. Afterward, participants in each pair evaluated their experience, and the results were striking: Subjects who spoke while a cell phone was in view perceived their partner as less understanding and less trustworthy. They were also more skeptical that further dialogue with their partner would yield a close friendship. A follow-up study conducted at Virginia Tech confirmed that it’s not just people’s impressions of a partner that dip in the presence of a cell phone. It’s the actual quality of their conversations. “In the presence of a mobile device, there is less eye contact,” lead author Shalini Misra observed. That makes both partners more likely to miss subtle changes in each other’s expression or tone.

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Your friend’s smartphone can tell that you’re lying:

We are nearing a point where our smartphones will be able to recognize a face or voice, in real life or on-screen. And identification is only the most basic of the possibilities. Many app-makers are experimenting with software that can also analyze – able to determine someone’s emotions or honesty just by a few facial cues. This interpersonal assessment technology promises to make our lives easier. For instance, facial recognition technology can allow people to get immediate and amazing customer service. If a restaurant or retailer can identify me before I walk in the door, it would be able to identify me as a returning customer, accessing my favorite dishes or products. I would be greeted like an old friend (whether I were, or not). Similarly, algorithms are now being developed that link thousands of facial cues with human emotions. Our brains do this naturally – we know without asking whether someone is happy or upset based only on their expressions. Law enforcement and poker players take this a step further, using facial cues to determine someone’s honesty. But with technology augmenting our brain’s natural behavior – possibly providing direct, measurable and verifiable input – we can produce measurable and verifiable data. As sensors move from our smartphones to activity trackers to smartwatches from Apple and Samsung, we are measuring more than ever and are not far off from continuously tracking our emotions. And software is now in development to interpret people’s emotions, then project the results via an app onto a screen such as Google Glass. Technology can also analyze the human voice to determine emotion – again, not just mimicking, but surpassing our brain’s abilities. Moodies, an app developed by Beyond Verbal, is able to detect a speaker’s mood based on nothing more than a voice. Worldwide call centers are testing the technology to help operators determine whether callers are upset and likely to switch their business to a competitor. There are also some potentially negative consequences. If you can simply run a person’s image and voice through an app to determine their emotions and veracity, we will have to adjust as a society. Many of our daily interactions are built on small lies: “So happy to see you”, “Of course I remember you,” and “This is the best (food, activity or place).” In other words, society’s function is smoothed by little white lies – do we really want to eliminate that? As we uncover our deceptions – implicit and explicit, including those of which we have convinced even ourselves – a market for technology that hides our emotions will arise. Entrepreneurs may create “emotion-cloaking devices.” Facial coverings may become more popular. Perhaps there’ll be sanctuaries where no devices are allowed, either by custom or law — an atmosphere akin to how we now feel about taking pictures in public bathrooms and kids’ classrooms. One thing is for sure: politics is in for a major overhaul. With every smartphone possessing a virtual lie-detector test, elected officials will need to be creative in the ways they talk to us. In fact, the most insecure and most powerful politicians will resist, and quickly seek to regulate or restrict these technologies — ignoring their obvious good — in a hidden but discoverable attempt to preserve their own power and half-truths. Ready or not, technologies are quickly arriving, which allow us to assess other people to a degree of accuracy we never before imagined. While by no means a cure for Alzheimer’s — at least in the disease’s early stages — facial recognition software could supplement a sufferer’s slowly deteriorating memory and help recall acquaintances, friends and loved ones. Before we rush to decry these assessment technologies, we must also consider their incredible array of benefits.

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Smartphone is changing Social Norms:

Email:

Our obsession with smartphones is altering social norms. Take emails, for example. For the growing American population, “the social expectation is that one is nearly always connected and reachable almost instantly via e-mail” if they own a smartphone. Analysts say the smartphone “is the instrument of that connectedness – and thus worth the cost, as both a communications tool and a status symbol.” Because of this, the current social norm is that people should reply to emails immediately, or at least within a few hours. Gone are the days when you could wait a full day to reply to an e-mail, or respond to a text message on a several-hour delay, without violating new and rapidly evolving social norms.

Disrespectful behavior:

New social norms also include becoming tolerant of disrespectful behavior.  James Thickett, the director of research for Ofcom of the UK, said the high level of smartphone use in venues such as the movies raises an issue about social etiquette and modern manners and the degree to which we as a society are tolerant of this behavior.

Relationships:

Surveys also show that smartphones are having a negative effect on marriage and relationships. In a 2010 NPR Facebook query, many couples complained of equal phone overuse from both genders, which marriage therapists also agree to it. Also, because these addictive devices create such a distraction, they are taking couples away from what matters most: trust, intimacy, and simple time spent together. Many couple are now choosing to designate a “technology-free hour, evening or day to make time for old-fashioned conversation” and to remind each other there are other things to do beside stare at a smartphone screen.

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Smartphone of future and future of smartphone:

With data transmission rates reaching blistering speeds and the incorporation of Wi-Fi technology, the sky is the limit on what smartphones can do. The future of smartphones is 4K, 64-bit and 55MP cameras. Possibly the most exciting thing about smartphone technology is that the field is still wide open. It’s an idea that probably hasn’t found its perfect, real-world implementation yet. Every crop of phones brings new designs and new interface ideas. No one developer or manufacturer has come up with the perfect shape, size or input method yet. The next “killer app” smartphone could look like a flip phone, a tablet PC, a candy bar or something no one has conceived of yet. Perhaps the most challenging consideration for the future is security. Smartphones may be vulnerable to security breaches such as an Evil Twin attack. In one of these attacks, a hacker sets a server’s service identifier to that of a legitimate hotspot or network while simultaneously blocking traffic to the real server. When a user connects with the hacker’s server, information can be intercepted and security is compromised. On the other side, some critics argue that anti-virus software manufacturers greatly exaggerate the risks, harms and scope of phone viruses in order to help sell their software. The incredible diversity in smartphone hardware, software and network protocols inhibit practical, broad security measures. Most security considerations either focus on particular operating systems or have more to do with user behavior than network security.

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In 2013, the Fairphone company launched its first “socially ethical” smartphone at the London Design Festival to address concerns regarding the sourcing of materials in the manufacturing. In late 2013, QSAlpha commenced production of a smartphone designed entirely around security, encryption and identity protection. In December 2013, the world’s first curved-OLED technology smartphones were introduced to the retail market with the sale of the Samsung Galaxy Round and LG G Flex models. Foldable OLED smartphones could be as much as a decade away because of the cost of producing them. There is a relatively high failure rate when producing these screens. As little as a speck of dust can ruin a screen during production. Creating a battery that can be folded is another hurdle. Samsung fully foldable phones are expected around 2016 to 2017. A clear thin layer of crystal glass can be added to small screens like watches and smartphones that make them solar powered. Smartphones could gain 15% more battery life during a typical day. The first smartphones using this technology should arrive in 2015. This screen can also work to receive Li-Fi signals and so can the smartphone camera. The cost of these screens per smartphone is between $2 and $3, much cheaper than most new technology. Near future smartphones might not have a traditional battery as their sole source of power. Instead, they may pull energy from radio, television, cellular or Wi-Fi signals. In early 2014, smartphones are beginning to use Quad HD (2K) 2560×1440 on 5.5″ screens with up to 534 ppi on devices such as the LG G3 which is a significant improvement over Apple’s retina display. Quad HD is used in advanced televisions and computer monitors, but with 110 ppi or less on such larger displays. As of 2014, Wi-Fi has continued to become the primary network for smartphones. As these devices do more and more with data and Wi-Fi becomes more prevalent and easier to connect to, Wi-Fi First smartphones service will start to take off.  Since 2013, water and dust-proofing have made their way into mainstream high end smartphones instead of specialist models with the Sony Xperia Z continuing through the Sony Xperia Z3 and also from other manufacturers with the Samsung Galaxy S5. One problem with smartphone cameras is still the focus, but LG G3 Beat with Laser Focus has 8 points of focus. To focus what appears in the LCD, touch the object on screen to focus on it and the other positions will be ‘bokeh’.  Some smartphones now can be categorized as high-end point-and-shoot cameras with large sensor up to 1″ with 20 Megapixels and 4K video. Some can store their pictures in proprietary raw image format, but the Android (operating system) 5.0 lollipop serves open source RAW images. Modular smartphones are projected, in which users can remove and replace parts.

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At MWC 2014, Kyocera had a idea, with a few of its concept devices: a tablet that could bend in half and fit in your pocket, and a smartphone that could be worn as a bangle. EmoPulse, which CNET first caught wind of as an Indiegogo project, got one step closer to this bangle idea with its Smile bracelet. The device, which looks like a chunky glass band wrapped around your wrist, is supposed to be a fully functional smartphone, and is envisioned to have a Linux-based OS, an OMAP 5 processor, and 4G capabilities. And if this idea doesn’t look appealing to the mobile phone industry, perhaps it will to the smartwatch business. The Samsung Gear Fit, for example, may not have a glass panel that fully wraps around your arm, but it does feature a small, curved AMOLED touchscreen. As smartwatches advance with each iteration, we could easily enter an era in which we ditch the black-and-rectangular aesthetic, and move onto something completely wearable and flexible. Of course, we’ve already seen James Bond-esque wristwatch phones from a few manufacturers like LG, but they’ve been exclusively released in Europe and Asia. And future phones won’t be limited to the wristwatch form: You’ll be able to bend, fold, and shape your phone to whatever design you prefer. Imagine transforming your phone from a wristwatch/bracelet style to a touchscreen style with a full QWERTY keyboard, and then folding it again to slip it into your pocket. A good example of what future wearable phones could look like is the Nokia Morph, a concept device that showcases the collaboration between the Nokia Research Center and the Cambridge Nanoscience Centre. The Morph uses nanotechnology to create a flexible, malleable electronic device. The Morph is constructed from fibril proteins that are woven into three-dimensional mesh, allowing the whole phone–screen included–to move and bend. Morph offers users the option of wearing it as a wrist watch or unfolds it to use as a typical handset as and when required. It all depends on the task the users are engaging with.

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Foldable smartphone:

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Wearable Technology vis-à-vis Smartphones:

When it comes to emerging technology, ‘wearables’ may be the talk of the town these days. But don’t throw away your trusty smartphone. It may become the driving force behind wearable technology such as glasses, watches and clothing. Wearables are miniaturized mobile technology embedded in glasses and watches, even woven into clothes. But wearable technology can run into the trouble of computing power and battery life. There just isn’t enough space, experts say. That’s where the smartphone comes into play. Maybe wearables will become mere sensors and displays that send and receive information to and from the smartphone, which, in turn, does the heavy lifting and manages the connection to cloud services. The smartphone-as-server device would be a significant shift from the evolution of smartphones. By offloading processing and connectivity onto a smartphone, the cost of wearables will be cheaper. In the future smartphone-wearables relationship, a single smartphone can handle multiple wearable devices.

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Google patents a Smartphone-Laptop Combo; could be Android, Chromebook Device:

Google has been working on a combination laptop/cell phone device that could mean Chrome OS and Android are finally beginning to be merged. Google was granted a patent that reveals a device reminiscent of the Motorola Atrix and Bionic, with their laptop docks. The concept is the same but the smartphone would dock into the laptop in a similar fashion to Asus Padfone series. This was an interesting concept with the Bionic, but it didn’t work as well. US patent 8,649,821 was filed all the way back in September of 2012. It doesn’t mention any particular operating system, but some kind of a Chrome OS/Android hybrid seems like a no-brainer. The patent shows a laptop that uses the cell phone’s data connection to get online. The laptop also uses the cell phone’s microphone and speaker when the user wants to make VoIP calls or for any other voice functions. The phone will tap into the laptop’s speaker, and will probably be able to use the laptop’s battery to charge as well. Padfones haven’t been a massive success, but they definitely provide some extra functionality for less cost than buying a separate tablet and smartphone. This is a similar concept. The difference is that the laptop in the patent appears to work independently of the companion cellular device. The Padfone tablet doesn’t work without the Padfone smartphone docked in it. This new Google concept would be two separate devices that both work by themselves. The laptop would only need the cell phone if the user wanted a wireless data connection and wasn’t near Wi-Fi.

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Expandable flexible screens:

Samsung made a bit of a splash last fall with its Galaxy Round, a smartphone with a curved screen. It’s a clever though incremental innovation in smartphone displays, for which improvements primarily have been limited to higher screen resolution. However, what if form factor wasn’t an issue? What if your 5-inch smartphone screen could be expanded to seven, eight inches or more? It may soon be the case where smartphones are able provide a large screen to watch and play your favorite movies and games while maintaining a pocketable size. Screens can be folded and unfolded, all thanks to Organic Light-Emitting Diode (OLED) technology. This paper-thin screen can even project future-features-smart-phones/ from both sides of the screen, so you can show pictures or videos to your friend on one side while using the other as a control.

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Experts of the company SEL demonstrated new creation – a prototype touchscreen, named after the developers, SEL. It is foldable and thus is based on a matrix OLED, positioning in large measure to the touchscreen size. Screen SEL received 8.7 inches diagonal and a pixel density of 254 pixels per inch, which corresponds to the resolution of Full HD, or 1920×1080 pixels. During the demonstration, the developers really have lay down the screen three times and it fully retained its efficiency. Another important detail: display weighs only 6 grams with a thickness not exceeding 100 micrometers, and it was developed specifically for use in mobile devices. At the moment, the idea is at the stage of concept. So far, the SEL is testing new creation, and not reported date of mass production. Panel, as it became known, will be produced in smaller sizes, so you can install it in smartphones.

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In-Built Projector:

If flexible screens are not enough to compensate for the small screens on smartphones why not integrate a projector within? Samsung Galaxy Beam was released back in the second half of 2010. It features a built-in DLP (Digital Light Projection) WVGA projector that is able to project future-features-smart-phones/ at up to 50 inches in size at 15 lumens. What good will this do? Well, for one thing, future smartphones can actually be turned into interactive gaming consoles without a need for a TV screen; all you’ll need is a flat surface. Instead of a physical controller, you can use your body or your voice. Similar to Kinect, a smart camera and a voice control function can capture your movements and voice commands to let you interact with objects and future-features-smart-phones/ on the projected screen. Of course, you can imagine the drainage rate on your smartphone’s battery life and there’s also the other issue with luminance i.e. the amount of light it outputs. In-built projectors for smartphones must be small, and as the paradox sits: the smaller the projector is the lesser light it will be able to give out. With better technology though, issues such as these will be addressed in time, making projectors a part of a new experience you can now engage with your smartphone.

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Smartphone upgradation:

New smartphones are released about every five minutes — or so it seems. Near-constant upgrades may be great for companies and the economy — not to mention the 401(k) plans of millions of people who benefit from the relentless growth of technology juggernaut Apple — but it’s plainly not great for the planet. The average life of a phone is something like 18 months — and that is an older statistic, so it is probably even less.

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Upgradeable smartphones:

As it stands, smartphones (and tablets) are designed, marketed, and sold as consumable devices. You buy a smartphone, chew through its storage and battery for a couple of years, and then throw it away when your two-year contract comes up for renewal. Carriers love this, of course, because it keeps you locked into an incredibly lucrative contract. As far as manufacturers are concerned, the two-year upgrade cycle represents the most orgiastic piñata whacking ever devised — just look at Apple’s record profits, which stem almost entirely from monumentally massive iPhone sales. Do any of your other gadgets get upgraded every two years? Maybe your laptop, if you’re rich, but otherwise the consumer electronics upgrade cycle is usually nearer four or five years. If smartphones were upgradeable, there would be significantly less reason to buy a new one every couple of years. If you could simply slide in a new processor, RAM, and battery, your smartphone’s useful life could be extended almost indefinitely — just like a PC. Likewise, if carriers and manufacturers didn’t leave older devices to languish with old versions of iOS, Android, and Windows Phone, then consumers would have very little reason to upgrade. In both cases, though, the consumer would end up buying less phones — and so it isn’t really surprising that neither the manufacturers or carriers are attempting to improve either the hardware or software situation.

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Google to launch modular smartphone with switchable parts:

Google’s Project Ara modular smartphone will go on sale in Puerto Rico this year in a trial of the concept that hopes to replace the traditional model of the disposable smartphone with an upgradable one. The Ara smartphone shell consists of a frame into which nine or so modules can be inserted, adding, removing or upgrading functionality without having to buy a new smartphone. The frame is designed to last five to six years. Over 20 different modules from connectivity including Wi-Fi and 3G or 4G modules, to a new screen, new cameras, new speakers, faster processors, more storage or even health-monitoring devices for measuring blood glucose will be available by launch. The modules should make upgrading a smartphone over the lifetime of the frame cheaper than buying a brand new smartphone. Each module will held in by magnets and swapped on-the-fly, allowing the functionally to be changed for what is needed at the time, whether that’s a smartphone with twice the battery capacity to last longer or one with twice the processing power for intensive applications. However it’s not economically viable for any vendor to manufacture a phone and to provide software that will allow users to select components. When manufacturers create a traditional smartphone, the software be it Android, Windows Phone or another operating system, has to be tuned to the specific components within the device, the camera, the processor, the memory or any other piece of hardware. Those that fail to do so properly produce a poor, bug-ridden and frustrating experience for their users, who see their phones malfunction. To be able to manufacture a phone that will work with different components without any problems when users change them about is a major issue. For a project like Ara to be successful they need to test every single component in every combination, which is not an easy task, especially when you are talking about different components from different manufacturers. The most tantalizing future-tech concept has to be the completely customizable modular handset.

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Smart-watch:

A smartwatch is a computerized wristwatch with functionality that is enhanced beyond timekeeping. While early models can perform basic tasks, such as calculations, translations, and game-playing, modern smartwatches are effectively wearable computers. Many smartwatches run mobile apps, while a smaller number of models run a mobile operating system and function as portable media players, offering playback of FM radio, audio, and video files to the user via a Bluetooth headset. Some smartwatches models, also called watch phones, feature full mobile phone capability, and can make or answer phone calls. Such devices may include features such as a camera, accelerometer, thermometer, altimeter, barometer, compass, chronograph, calculator, cell phone, touch screen, GPS navigation, Map display, graphical display, speaker, scheduler, watch, SDcards that are recognized as a mass storage device by a computer, and rechargeable battery. It may communicate with a wireless headset, heads-up display, insulin pump, microphone, modem, or other devices.

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Smart wristband turns your arm into a touchscreen:

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A tech company out of France has come up with a mart bracelet that projects a touchscreen onto your arm. The Cicret Bracelet works by way of a tiny embedded projector and a series of proximity sensors and similar to the tech behind projected keyboards, the Cicret system detects the location and movement of your fingers, essentially turning the surface of your skin into a touchscreen. The device, which allows the user to tap, swipe and pinch, is designed to run a standalone version of Android, or it can be paired with a smartphone via Bluetooth. Built-in Wi-Fi provides connectivity, and there’s a micro USB port as well. Cicret also makes the Cicret App, a security program that provides anonymity and encryption options for mobile devices.

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Smartphone with Privacy Screen:

It would be great to see handsets that have adaptive, almost transformative capabilities, a smartphone that can change itself to fit certain needs and environments. For example, a built-in privacy screen, one that appears and disappears when needed, would be perfect for fending off curious eyes from my handset’s display. This technology already exists in laptops, like the Dell Latitude e6400. It uses special software that overlays a distorted pixel-based pattern across the screen. This narrows the display’s viewing angle from the sides, and can be turned off at the touch of a button. The feature would be especially handy when you are on a public transportation. Instead of huddling near a corner, worried that someone is peering over and seeing your sensitive emails, you could stand freely, knowing that only you can read what’s on the screen. And if you later decided to quickly have a few friends watch a YouTube clip on your phone, you could reset the viewing angle to its original, wider setting. Another adaptive feature could finally answer consumers’ often expressed, but seemingly contradictory desires to have a sleek and slim handset that also has a physical keyboard for messaging. In 2013, California-based Tactus Technology designed a prototype touchscreen in which a roomy QWERTY keyboard can bubble up to the surface of the display, and flatten out when not in use. This is possible thanks to a non-toxic fluid that pushes against the surface of the screen, and creates a physical bubble-shaped button. Though the technology itself is still in its prototype stages, having this available on every smartphone would mean you could have a more natural, comfortable experience while texting.

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User Identity:

With facial recognition and Biometric identification round the corner, smartphones could well become your identity in the future. It could also be used for surveillance purposes.

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Global Language Translation feature:

In future there will be language translator available on Smartphone which will be able to translate any global language to its users. It will not only make people to connect a larger community but also help them in communicating for making better social contacts. It will connect whole world using a single device and internet connectivity.

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Augmented Reality (AR) in smartphone:

The term ‘augmented reality‘ or AR when used in the context of computer technology refers to what we perceive through our senses (usually sight) enhanced through the use of computer-generated sensory input such as sound, video, graphics and GPS data. Simply put, AR makes available more information for us users by combining computer data to what we see in real life. Using the camera on your phone, you can point it somewhere ‘live’ to get an information overlay of where you can find the nearest cafes or dining places, for example. Smartphones being portable serve as a good platform for AR to work. You can just whip out your phone to get the latest and relevant info for what you are searching for – information which you would otherwise have to call and ask or search online before heading out of Wi-Fi coverage. Most AR apps available now utilize some form of Global Positioning System (GPS) to facilitate location searches and this feature is likely to develop further over the next couple of years because of its potential. So why isn’t it in all smartphones yet? It seems that the primary limiting factor is the limited recognition accuracy for ‘live’ views when we point our camera lens at places, buildings or even people. For AR to work seamlessly and reliably, the technology for recognizing places, things or people must be of a certain standard.

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The oPhone:

Cinemas have had Smell-O-Vision, where odours are released during a film so you can literally ‘smell’ what’s happening on the screen, and now smartphones users are set to get a similarly whiffy experience. Scientists in Paris have developed a new kind of handset, named the ‘oPhone’, that can send scents to the person on the other end. Basically, the device allows ‘oNotes’ to be sent using Bluetooth and other smartphone attachments, which then release aromas that are created by computer chips inside the handset. These ‘virtual odours’ are certainly a fun concept – for example, you could send a photo of some flowers to a loved one which they can ‘smell’ as well as admire, or give your friends overseas an authentic ‘whiff’ of what that freshly baked batch of cookies smells like. The initial four chips contained in the oPhone can apparently be combined to produce thousands of different odours lasting for twenty to thirty seconds, in what makers have called a ‘revolution of odour’.

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Seamless Voice Control in smartphone:

Voice control has been receiving much attention since Siri made headlines. Voice control has existed in many earlier mobile phones even though the voice recognition function was crude at best. Research has been made to advance the development of voice control, but it has proved to be a paramount task. Siri might have signaled a breakthrough to the way voice control and recognition programming ought to be made. Instead of recognizing commands via sound waves like most voice-recognition systems, Siri interprets diction and syntax in a similar fashion to how we recognize speech. Such Natural Language User Interfaces prove to be more effective and accurate. The interest with voice control for computers and especially smartphones has always been there since the pioneer MIT research, “Put That There” studied different ways to communicate with computers in 1980. With the newly improved voice recognition app, Siri, as well as the greater capabilities of smartphones in the years to come, seamless voice control seems to be a viable goal. That, combined with gestures may bring interactivity to a new level for smartphones and their users.

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3D Screens in smartphone and 3D Hologram projection:

Smartphones may have already reached the peak for their screen resolution with Apple’s ‘Retina Display‘, which actually provides a resolution that is sharper than what the human eye can perceive. Yet, even then, we still want more. Mobile companies are now moving from 2D future-features-smart-phones/ to 3D future-features-smart-phones/ for the smartphone screen. At present, we have a couple of 3D smartphones in the market, such as the LG Optimus 3D, the Motorola MT810 as well as the very first Samsung AMOLED 3D. So what happens after 3D? Well, the next path could possibly be holographic projections. In essence, holographic projections will mean a combination of 3D future-features-smart-phones/ and projections from the smartphone. According to Mobiledia Network, MasterImage 3D had previously showcased their ongoing development on a projection system that allows smartphones to display 3D holograms at the annual Mobile World Congress. A mobile phone used to be a simple device for texting and calling. Then it became a smartphone boasting of Internet and camera functionalities. Now, the smartphone can be converted into a microscope through an attachable lens that can help magnify the object. One might wonder what the future would be like with a smartphone capable of projecting 3D holograms floating into thin air. If you want to talk about the potential of holographic projections in smartphones, it’s great. 3D displays can be integrated with elements of movements when it comes to user interactions with the phone. For example, you can resize your photos by using your hands to ‘pull’ or ‘compress’ the holographic photos that appear in front of you, move objects by ‘grabbing’ them from one place to another, etc.

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Holographic Video Calling:

Wouldn’t it be awesome if you called someone, and they appeared in the room you’re present? This is where holographic video call technology steps in and with 4G and 5G technology on its way it could certainly be the next big thing in future.

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Air display touchscreen known as Displair:

Touchscreen interfaces are everywhere. But Displair is one that you don’t actually have to touch. The interactive display projects digital content onto a sheet of humidified air. In ideal lighting — a darkened room — the display is quite clear. However, it is easily interrupted by outside light. It’s sensitive to gestures, just as a normal touchscreen, but the varying resolution can make it seem sort of ghost-like depending on your angle. Displair makes a quiet hum as it expels humidified air for the screen, but only uses about as much energy as a laptop (under 500 watts).

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Li-Fi smartphone:

For a few years now, engineers and scientists have tinkered with an alternative to Wi-Fi that utilizes not radio waves, but light: specifically, light from light-emitting diodes, or LEDs. This quietly gestating technology, Li-Fi—unlike Wi-Fi, it’s an actual abbreviation, for light fidelity—may be ready for a serious look. It’s also called VLC, or Visible Light Communication. Wysips layer is capable of Li-Fi (Light Fidelity) data transmission in addition to solar charging; it can send and receive data through light waves. Put your phone under a Li-Fi light and it can send data through the screen.  Not only did a recent New International market forecast predict that the Li-Fi industry would be worth $6 billion in less than five years; Li-Fi devices debuted at CES this year allowed users to both establish an internet connection via light waves, and, in an arguably more intriguing application, to use an app to transmit data directly from lights outfitted with the technology. And now, for the first time, there’s even a Li-Fi smart phone. The Li-Fi transmitter, developed by the French company Oledcomm, could leave QR codes in the dust. Instead of sending you to a link to a designated page online, with Li-Fi, you hold your iPhone up to a lamp and instantly play a video or read a file. If that sounds far-fetched, it’s not—any LED bulb can be converted to transmit Li-Fi signals with a single microchip. And the technology is ready right now; it’s being installed in museums and businesses across France, and is being embraced by EDF, one of the nation’s largest utilities. Meanwhile, the wireless internet access shows promise, too—it could eventually prove faster than Wi-Fi, and it’s more secure. Since light doesn’t pass through solid objects like radio waves do, only users in the line of sight can link up. “It is a new way of communication,” Cedric Mayer, co-founder of Oledcomm, said. He says the government is already interested in the technology, because lighting is cheap, and because it emits no radiation—a genuine political concern in Europe.  Li-Fi works by harnessing the visible light spectrum to deliver data, in rapid fire bursts that go unseen by the human eye. Li-Fi is both faster and more secure when compared to Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, which use radio waves. Li-Fi can reach speeds up to 3.5 gigabits per color, meaning a Red-Green-Blue (RGB) LED light could produce Li-Fi speeds of up to 10.5gbps, or 10 times faster than Wi-Fi. Much like Wi-Fi allows wired connections to become wireless, Li-Fi spreads out Fiber Optic data, which already uses light to transmit at high speeds. Don’t expect to get wireless Internet from your house lights anytime soon, but in a demo showed how putting the phone under a light could automatically open a video, webpage, or app.

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Operate smartphone on car dashboard: hands-free operation through voice commands ensure safe driving:

Apple and Google have a different vision for the future of in-car computing: they want their smartphone platforms to totally replace these proprietary systems.  Google and Apple each introduced new platforms, called Android Auto and CarPlay, respectively. The key idea is to outsource the brains of that in-dash touchscreen to your smartphone. That means you get the same polished interface that powers iPhones and Android smartphones, and these capabilities will improve as smartphones get more powerful. Android Auto is a telematics standard developed by Google to allow mobile devices running the Android operating system (Lollipop and later) to be operated in automobiles through the dashboard’s head unit. The standard will offer drivers control over GPS mapping/navigation, music playback, SMS, telephony, and web search; both touchscreen and button-controlled head unit displays will be supported, although hands-free operation through voice commands will be emphasized to ensure safe driving. The aim of Android Auto is to extend the functionality of an Android mobile device in an automobile to the dashboard’s head unit. In order to use the system, users must be running Lollipop on their mobile device and must own a vehicle supporting Android Auto. The driver’s Android device connects to the vehicle via USB cable.  Rather than running its own operating system, the head unit will serve as an external display for the Android device, which runs all of the software, by presenting a car-specific user interface built into Lollipop. CarPlay is a standard developed by Apple Inc. to allow devices running the iOS operating system to function with built-in display units of automobile dashboards. If you’re excited about CarPlay and Android Auto but don’t want to buy a new car, you’re in luck. At CES multiple vendors have announced aftermarket devices that support the standard. Parrot, for example, is offering a touchscreen unit that supports both Android and iOS devices and will fit in most cars currently on the roads. Pioneer is also offering a range of car stereo systems with support for both platforms.

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Mobile cloud computing (MCC):

Mobile cloud computing is referred to as the infrastructure where both the data storage and the data processing happen outside of the mobile device. MCC can be defined as a rich mobile computing technology that leverages unified elastic resources of varied clouds and network technologies toward unrestricted functionality, storage, and mobility to serve a multitude of mobile devices anywhere, anytime through the channel of Ethernet or Internet regardless of heterogeneous environments and platforms based on the pay-as-you-use principle. From a consumer’s point-of-view, a cloud-based mobile application is similar to an app purchased or downloaded from a mobile application store like iTunes, where the processing power is driven not from the handheld device, but from the cloud. When launched from the iPhone homescreen, the apps perform like any other app on the iPhone. Google’s Gmail and Google Voice for smartphone are just two of the well-known mobile cloud apps. The key to mobile’s future depends on the processing power of the cloud itself. Cloud-based mobile apps can scale beyond the capabilities of any smartphone. Cloud apps have the power of a server-based computing infrastructure accessible through an app’s mobile interface. It does not only allow non smartphone owner to access the same mobile applications, but allows the apps themselves to become more powerful.

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Even though the new generations of smartphone provide higher computation power and more storage space compared to their previous generation, they still fall short to the growing demand of computation power and storage space. Additionally, the battery industry is not as progressive as the telecommunication and semiconductor industries. Though, we saw a significant development in processing capacity and memory in a smartphone, it is still limited by its battery life. There is always a trade-off between the computation capacity and battery life. Portability, storage space and battery life are the main characteristics of a smartphone. The functionality and form-factor are dependent upon each other as more powerful a smartphone be, bigger battery it needs. Processing speed and storage capacity is inversely proportional to battery life which limits smartphones as a replacement for laptops and tablets. The advent of cloud computing in smartphones eradicated the computation power, storage and battery constraints that limited smartphones from running PC like capabilities. It made smartphones scalable in terms of storage and processing capability. Shared resources, storage, hardware and software are the peculiar characteristics of cloud computing which made the smartphone motto work anywhere anytime. Thousands of new applications are being developed every day which are one of the main energy consuming components in smartphones. These applications not only maximized the software capability but also minimized the hardware limitation in a smartphone. The cloud computing minimizes the energy needed for running computation intensive applications in smartphones as it offload the same. Cloud computing also increases device reusability factor as functionalities in the smartphones are based on the cloud expendability and not the hardware. Hardware free computation is another factor that makes cloud computing unique. This reduces frequent hardware updates and thus reduces electronic waste leading to sustainable mobile computing.

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Pitfalls of mobile cloud computing:

Some of the potential pitfalls to mobile cloud computing is the lack of internet speed and access. Also, mobile cloud computing presents challenges already inherent in PC and Notebooks such as security breaches, and viruses’ attacks, and it is thus important to have identity authentication as well as controlled and secured access.

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What comes after the smartphone?

The Internet of Things (IoT) and Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) will come after smartphone as technology advances. They’re the next places that these big tech companies are heading. If the last ten years were dominated by the rise of the smartphone and its ecosystems, the next is probably about IoT & ADAS, and whatever other acronyms we come up with to describe the multiplicity and diversity of these tiny gadgets. A wearable puts a computer on your wrist, sure, but IoT is putting a computer everywhere, and the ways industry has been talking about that gigantic shift have been terminally boring and easy to ignore so far. That needs to change. These devices are inherently creepy to some, but they’re beginning to look inevitable. It’s possible to build these systems with some modicum of privacy and safety. Samsung is at least approaching the ecosystem with the right attitude — it purchased SmartThings and is keeping that company’s dedication to openness and interoperability intact.

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My view on whether smartphone can replace PC (desktop/laptop):

Let me begin by saying that smartphone works as a phone while PC cannot work as a phone. PC plays CD/DVD while smartphone cannot play CD/DVD. Advancement in technology has made many pitfalls of smartphone obsolete. Low power processor is replaced by gigahertz processors. Advanced voice recognition and voice dictation has obviated use of small touchscreen keyboard.

So can smartphone replace PC?

Let me begin by showing a webpage from my website on my 15 inch laptop (PC):

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This is a screenshot of 1/3 of the webpage of http://drrajivdesaimd.com/?page_id=3224 seen on PC screen.

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Now I see the same webpage on my smartphone having 4 inch screen.

This is actually 1/6 of the webpage seen on my PC. But I can hardly read anything.

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I zoom in to enlarge text size to make is readable like PC.

This is 1/12 of the webpage seen on my PC screen. Now I can read as good as PC.

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In other words, in order to view webpage http://drrajivdesaimd.com/?page_id=3224 on smartphone, I have to read 12 smartphone screen contents to perceive the webpage which I can read on a single PC screen.

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Theoretically, you can calculate number of screen content of smartphone needed to read the entire text of any webpage on PC by following formula:

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You can read the text clearly without any strain on eyes at about one and half feet away from screen of PC (15 inch screen). Now you try to read the same text on your smartphone of screen size 4 inch. You will find only half of text on screen and you have to strain eyes to read it and you have to read it at half feet distance from your eyes. If you increase text size by using multi-touch capacitive screen by using two fingers spreading, you will find that you can read text as easily as on PC but number of words would be too few. So you have to keep moving webpage to read the whole content. This is the greatest limitation of smartphone which cannot be overcome by today’s technology. Contents can be viewed and read with ease, and comprehensive content can be accessed from single screen appearance on PC. The same data can be read and viewed on smartphone but webpage need to be moved constantly to gather comprehensive content and comprehensibility is achieved only through piece-meal data gathering. Not only your eyes but even your brain is stressed to assimilate data coming in piece-meal. The smartphones’ small screen size can make it difficult to view and properly display materials and as a result there is a high risk of reducing learning performance due to increased cognitive load. Remember, human eyes and human brains are same no matter whether screen size is 16 inch or 4 inch. I quote from “Theory of bio-socio-techno disharmony” posted is my article ‘science of love’ on my website. I have always felt that there is a disharmony between how we behave and how we are biologically programmed. There is rapid development in science and technology in last 200 years and human biology cannot change so fast to adapt to technological revolution and the social development mediated by technology. Biology has not been able to keep pace with technology and social development. Biology lags behind technology and social development. I have discussed in my article on ‘Obesity’ that obesity epidemic started in last few decades and since human genes & biology cannot change in such short time, the root cause of obesity is poor life-style choices like lack of exercise coupled with overeating of processed food, both available through technology. Technological innovation of 4 wheeler, 2 wheeler, computer, electrical appliances etc made physical work much less and technology made processed food available with high calorie content, highly palatable and cheap. Biology could not cope up with lack of physical work coupled with processed food resulting in obesity epidemic. The same logic applies for smartphone use. Smartphone screen of 4 inch is a technological innovation which makes us see the world through it. However, genetically and biologically, our eyes and brains are not tuned to see and understand the world through a small window of 4 inch. Enormous strain is put on eyes and brain when we try to assimilate information through 4 inch window. Trying to read entire webpage through 4 inch window is unnatural, unintelligent and counter-productive as information reaching brain in piece-meal will make it harder to understand. If you have a human whose eyes and brains are 4 times powerful than average human; only then screen size of 16 inch can be equated with screen size of 4 inch. Therefore smartphone can never become PC when you are trying to gather lot of data and understand lot of data. However smartphone is portable, pocketable and connected to internet 24 hours so that you are constantly in touch with world wherever you go 24 hours. This cannot be achieved on PC. Human-PC interaction is correlated with assimilation of comprehensive data while human-smartphone interaction is correlated with constant connectivity to world. Quantity and quality of data is a function of human-PC interaction while continual connectivity is a function of human-smartphone interaction. The advent of cloud computing in smartphones eradicated the computation power, storage and battery constraints that limited smartphones from running PC like capabilities. The key characteristics of new mobile devices are bigger, faster, or cheaper. Screen size of 5 to 7 inch is possible on phablet but still it is not comparable with PC screen size of 15 inch. Also as phablet becomes larger, less pocketable it becomes. Expandable flexible screen may be up to 7-8 inch but cannot become as large as PC screen. In-built projector can project smartphone screen content to 50 inches but luminance and resolution would be poorer compared to PC screen. New technology of wireless contact lens displays will allow information, such as text messages from a mobile phone, to be projected onto a contact lens worn in the human eye has been developed by researchers. However text message is much smaller data than a webpage you see on PC screen. Therefore wireless contact lens display of smartphone cannot overcome handicap of smartphone screen size, not to mention all the side effects of wearing a contact lens. For the sake of argument, someone may say that smartphone screen can be mirrored on TV screen or Google Glass can enhance smartphone screen content and therefore limitations of smartphone 4 to 5 inch screen can be overcome. Well, it is illogical as you are using another full-fledged device to help smartphone. The comparison between smartphone and PC is one to one. Therefore I see no technology in near future that can match smartphone screen with PC screen. Mobile cloud computing can equate computation power and storage of PC with smartphone but no technology can equate screen size of PC with smartphone. Doctors, engineers, scientists, researchers, technocrats, intelligence agencies etc need data in better quality and large quantity for their work and therefore need PC for it. Lay people do not need so much data and therefore smartphone would do function of PC. In a nutshell, smartphone can replace PC for lay people.

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Final comments on smartphone:

If you are a smart person and want to remain smart, use dumbphone rather than smartphone because smartphone will make you dumb. On the other hand, if you are a dumb person, smartphone will be a great help.

Here are reasons:

1.  Constant web browsing has diminished the brain’s ability to sustain focus and think interpretively.

2. Overuse of smartphones impairs memory so much that you can no longer remember things like your own phone numbers. To transfer information from short-term to long-term memory, the brain requires periods of rest. In a world where every free moment is spent refreshing email or responding to text messages, there are fewer opportunities for long-term memories to form.

3. People are not using their brain to answer a question or solve a problem but rather turn to their smartphone for every single question.

4. Using and looking at the smartphone constantly makes us use our left brain (logical, linear thinking) because that side of the brain deals with language and reading. Using the smartphone constantly can effectively keep us ‘locked’ on left brain mode for the majority of the day. This means that our brain is ‘out of balance’ and we are not allowing our right brain to engage. The right side of the brain (creativity, intuition) allows thinking “out of the box”, coming up with creative ideas, and solving problems using our intuition.

5. The average person looks at their smartphone 9 times an hour. Productivity research tells us that we don’t actually multi-task, but that we switch tasks – our brains move from one task to the other and back and forth quickly – so quickly we “think” we are doing two things at once. This research further tells us that when we are switching tasks, we are actually doing both tasks at about 70% of our capacity. Every hour smartphone users interrupt what they are doing to look at their phone multiple times (admittedly it might not be nine times an hour, as the usage might be higher at home or during leisure activities). And every time we stop and “check our phone”, we are switching our brain from the task it was on to a different one, causing us to lower our effectiveness on the initial task. The phone that is supposed to help our productivity is hurting it more than it is helping. Email is a convenient way to communicate, but trying to answer messages while also completing other work makes us measurably less intelligent. Glenn Wilson, psychiatrist at King’s College London University, monitored employees over the course of a workday and found that those who divided their attention between email and other tasks experienced a 10 point decline in IQ.

6. Consider what happens when a new message arrives in your inbox. Unless you’ve changed the default settings on your email, you are treated to a pop-up message, the sound of a bell, or a counter that signals your growing number of unread messages. Each time this happens your brain is forced to make a series of decisions—”Check email or keep going?” “Respond now or later?”—that drain your mental energy. These disruptions add up. Studies indicate that even brief interruptions exponentially increase our chances of making mistakes. This is because when our attention is diverted, we use up valuable cognitive resources reorienting ourselves, leaving less mental energy for completing our work. Research also suggests that frequent decision-making causes us to tire. The resulting fatigue makes it harder for us to distinguish tasks that are truly important from those that simply feel urgent.

7. Consider the findings of a study in issue of Social Psychology, examining how the “mere presence” of a cell phone—even when it is not being used—influences people’s performance on complex mental tasks. Within the study, participants were asked to quickly scan a row of digits and cross out consecutive numbers that add to a pre-specified total (for example, any two numbers that total 3). Before they started, half of participants were asked to put away their phones. The other half were asked to place their phones on their desk, ostensibly so they could answer a few survey questions about its features. Not a single cell phone went off during the experiment. Yet compared to those whose phones were stowed out of view, participants whose phones sat on their desk performed nearly 20% worse. Why would the presence of a silent cell phone inflict such a heavy toll? One possibility is that years of cell phone usage has conditioned us to anticipate the arrival of new messages. Consequently, even when our phones sit perfectly still, simply having it in our peripheral vision tempts us to split our attention, leaving less mental firepower for our work. So our problem-solving execution that suffers.

8. The ready availability of search engines is changing the way we use our memories. When people expect to have future access to information, they have lower rates of recall of the information itself and enhanced recall instead for where to access it. It’s good to know where to find the information you need—but decades of cognitive science research shows that skills like critical thinking and problem-solving can be developed only in the context of factual knowledge. In other words, you’ve got to have knowledge stored in your head, not just in your computer.

9. Spending so much time texting and updating, tweeting and watching, calling and playing at every free moment, from every location, we are never alone with our thoughts, never allowing our thoughts to drift, that impacts our creativity, which in turn can limit our full potential. Creative solutions to problems are more likely to come when your mind is wandering than when it is concentrated on a task like thumbing through a thousand tweets.

10. Excessive smartphone use leads to deterioration in cognitive abilities in brain resulting in digital dementia.

11. People favor to use their smartphones for recreation rather than work and productivity.

12. Need for instant gratification by accessing social media constantly and texting non-stop results in deflating our motivation to focus, to participate, to engage, to wonder and to inspire.

13. Smartphone causes distraction to students in their class & studies resulting in poor education. Handy information on smartphone makes student lazy to read books.

14.  Smartphones have replaced face to face interaction with texting. Texting interaction leaves out basic skills like clear speaking, body language, and eye contact with the person to whom you are speaking to, and the ability to listen and stay focused on what the person is saying. Also, concrete social anticipation combined with the chemical reward (dopamine) that came with receiving, opening and replying to the text message made texting so addicting. You only need to look at recent education statistics to see that text messaging has completely devastated the English language. Recent findings have suggested that schoolchildren in the 1960s and 1970s were far more literate than children of today. Many teachers in primary and secondary schools have expressed concern at the number of children whose literacy levels are dropping; and who are not even able to write by hand, so accustomed are they to texting by mobiles.

15. Smartphone does not educate pre-school children but it discourages social interaction like touching, talking, physical playing and movement so essential for child’s full development. If a 4 year old can go to facebook or twitter on smartphone, it is not smartness but only matter of touching a shape on screen. The use of smartphone could delay children’s language development, especially for children under age 2 of years. The practice of clicking or jumping from one option to another gather small chunks of information and it will be hard for children to focus and concentrate on just one big chunk of information when the situation calls for it. Smartphone will make your child dumb rather than smart.

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Moral of the story:

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1. Smartphone is a cell phone (mobile phone) that works as a computer. Smartphone is a multipurpose device that can effectively multitask using computer functionality with mobile operating system; internet connectivity through 3G/4G network including built-in apps for email, web browsing and social networking; QWERTY touchscreen keyboard; GPS; camera; motion sensors; video calls & conferencing; Wi-Fi connectivity; media player & video games; voice dictation & voice search; and ability to install & run third party apps. Smartphone screen size is getting bigger because smartphones have become our primary devices doing the jobs once held by personal computers and even television.

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2. The number of Smartphone users will be 2 billion by the end of 2015 in the world. On an average, internet users spend 1.85 hours online via smartphone each day. By 2020, more than six billion smartphones will be in use worldwide. Citizens of third-world countries are unlikely to own cars and computers, but they are rapidly buying smartphones.

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3. Smartphones have enabled users to keep connected to anyone at anytime from anywhere by any mode (voice call, text message, WhatsApp, email, video call and social media).

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4. Fundamental difference between smartphone and tablet is smartphone is pocketable while tablet is portable. Smartphone easily functions as mobile telephone while tablet cannot function as telephone as tablet is awkward to hold next to the face and tablet shape prevents to use it in a hand-held fashion.

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5. Smartphones have become interface between real physical world and virtual digital world. People are more willing to disclose their inner thoughts to a smartphone (virtual human) than a real human.

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6. Smartphones have radically changed many aspects of our everyday lives from communication to banking to shopping to entertainment to medicine; and smartphones assist on productivity, effective time usage and energy efficiency. On the other hand, there is substantial evidence to show that billions of smartphones have adverse impact on ecology, biology, environment, workplace, society, children, students and health.

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7. G in 1G, 2G, 3G, 4G and 5G stands for the “Generation” of the wireless mobile network and higher number before the ‘G’ means more power to send out and receive more information and therefore the ability to achieve a higher efficiency through the wireless mobile network. 2G shares a major part in the global market worldwide meaning many cell phone users still use this technology especially in third world. 3G network allows for more data transmission and therefore 3G enables voice and video calling, file transmission, internet surfing, online TV, view high definition videos, play games and much more. In 2011, 90% of the world’s population lived in areas with 2G coverage, while 45% lived in areas with 2G and 3G coverage. Modern smartphones are 3G phones with some models support 4G network. 4G networks use different frequencies to transmit data than 3G so you need a handset which has a modem that supports these new frequencies. 4G is around five times faster than existing 3G services. You can download an 800 MB movie in just 40 seconds on advanced 4G networks. That time would decrease to only one second for an entire movie download in 5G network.

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8. High-end smartphone is packed with power and features providing outstanding experience. Mid-range smartphone has enough features and power to do your essential tasks providing satisfactory experience. Low-end smartphone is cheap, built for third world to make it affordable to masses; has internet connectivity, camera, web browser and social media networking; and battery that last longer than high-end/mid-range devices as most customers of low-end devices are from third world having infrequent access to electricity.

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9. Voice dictation overcomes limitations of slow and small touchscreen to save time on smartphones. Voice search can answer any question and also commands to set alarms, make calls and texts, schedule meetings and more on your smartphone. In coming time this functionality will be smarter to operate whole Smartphone user interface (UI) by voice commands to make smartphone work more like your own secretary following your voice and making schedule for your daily routine.

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10. If you want to use your smartphone for video calls, please ensure that it has front-facing camera (secondary camera) besides traditional back-facing camera (primary camera) [two camera device]. Besides personal and social use, photography & videography by smartphone cameras have significant roles in crime prevention & detection, journalism and business; but they can be misused for voyeurism, invasion of privacy, blackmailing, pornography, rape blue film video and copyright infringement.

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11. Smartphone GPS technology is reliable for navigation while driving around town or on long road trips.

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12. Shorter the battery charge cycle, lesser will be battery lifespan. You can lengthen battery charge cycle by reducing screen brightness to minimum; avoiding live wallpapers and turning off Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, GPS and notifications unless essential. This will increase the length of battery life before recharging is needed to 2 days and this in turn will prolong battery lifespan to 1000 days.

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13. Researcher after researcher found harms caused by radiofrequency radiation from smartphones & mobile phone towers on ecology and biology. Insects, plants, birds and humans are all caught in a vast experiment from which there is little escape. Also unsafe disposal of old smartphones leads to waste of resources and environmental pollution. GSM phones emit about 28 times more radiation on average as compared to CDMA phones and GSM phones are more biologically reactive as compared to CDMA; therefore adverse biological and health effects are more with GSM phones.

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14. One in six cell phones is contaminated with some sort of fecal matter containing pathogenic bacteria, probably because their owners did not wash their hands with soap after using the toilet.

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15. There is evidence to show that constant smartphone use leads to permanent damage to vision (eyesight).

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16. Sleeping with smartphone ‘ON’ at night leads to sleep deprivation, stress, obesity and poor work performance.

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17. Because text messaging requires visual, manual and cognitive attention from the driver, it is by far the most alarming distraction and texting while driving is six times more dangerous than drunk driving. Drivers using smartphones are approximately four times more likely to be involved in a crash. But it’s not just drivers causing dangerous situations on the roadways. Pedestrians using smartphones are just as dangerous as drivers using them. One in three pedestrians is distracted by a mobile device while crossing busy streets.

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18. Smartphone addiction occurs in 6 % people using smartphones. It is mediated by same dopamine reward circuit in brain that causes cocaine addiction. Smartphone addiction causes irresistible urges, inability to stop using compulsively, withdrawal when you don’t have it and increased tolerance which leads to using it more and more. Withdrawal symptoms include pronounced negative mood swings, irritability, frustration, feeling disconnected, and a fear of missing out; accompanied by increased heart rate & blood pressure. The good news is that withdrawal lasts for few days only.

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19. The average smartphone user checks his or her smartphone 35 times a day — for about 30 seconds each time, checking for missed calls, news updates, SMS, emails, WhatsApp or social media connections. When the information rewards are greater (e.g. salary, exam result, job selection, love affair) user checks 110 to 150 times a day. Smartphone addict incessantly keeps on checking round the clock as dopamine reward circuit is activated in their brain.

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20. One in five young adults use their smartphone during sex.  Also, unprotected adolescent sexual activity is more common amongst owners of smartphones. A survey confirms that 7% to 20% of teenagers have sexted using their smartphones; and smartphones give young people access of pornography at any time in any place.

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21. Biggest shortcoming of smartphone as an educational tool in schools is limitations of screen size & battery life, and drifting of students from learning activities to non-learning activities in the school. Also, the processing limitations of the smartphone resulting in slow response time can cause students to quickly lose interest in the learning task. Also, students who own smartphones are largely unaware of their potential to support learning and do not install apps for that purpose.

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22. Face-to-face interactions are important for cognitive, language and emotional development of children; and modern parents are so engrossed in their face-to-face interaction with smartphones that they ignore and neglect, face-to-face interaction with their children jeopardizing cognitive, language and emotional development of their children.

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23. Smartphone malware infection is far less common than PC malware infection because apps are downloaded on smartphone through Google Play for Android devices or App Store for Apple iPhones where there is rigorous review process for apps. Also apps are kept separate from the main operating system so that malwares can’t gain access to the operating system to make changes throughout.

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24. Rooting the smartphone gives you full control of your device, boost performance of device and can give you some pretty awesome features that the manufacturer left out, but it can expose the device to malware.

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25. Locking the screen on your smartphone by setting a pass-code is easy and effective to protect it from theft and intrusive friends & family members.

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26. In future, Li-Fi (Light Fidelity) technology will replace Wi-Fi technology for data transmission in smartphones. Li-Fi works by harnessing visible light spectrum to deliver data unseen by human eye. Li-Fi is both faster and more secure as compared to Wi-Fi & Bluetooth which use radio waves. Also lighting is cheap and emits no radiation. However, light doesn’t pass through solid objects like radio waves do; therefore only users in the line of sight can link up.

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27. Smartphone can replace PC (desktop/laptop) for lay people as they do not need lot of data. However, PC cannot be replaced by smartphones for doctors, engineers, scientists, researchers, professors, technocrats, intelligence agencies etc as they need data in better quality and large quantity for their work. Smartphone having screen size of 4 to 5 inch makes it difficult to view and properly display materials and thereby give information to brain in piece-meal from large data which will make it harder to understand, and also difficult to learn due to increased cognitive load. Biologically our eyes and our brains are not tuned to see and understand the world through a small window of 4 to 5 inch. Biology is lagging behind technology.

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28. If you are a smart person and want to remain smart, use dumbphone rather than smartphone because smartphone will make you dumb. Smartphone will also make your child dumb rather than smart. On the other hand, if you are a dumb person, smartphone will be a great help.

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Dr. Rajiv Desai. MD.

February 9, 2015

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Postscript:

Nine month ago I purchased a 3G smartphone replacing 2G cell phone. After writing article on ‘smartphone’ I am in two minds. I certainly want to improve my life by using smartphone for communication, education, banking, shopping and health. On the other hand, I certainly don’t want to become dumb by using smartphone. It is vital that we acknowledge that not all innovations are equally effective at improving productivity, and that sometimes, the best way of enhancing our performance is to turn off the monitor, disconnect the telephone, and simply think.

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