Windows Phone became the third-most-popular smartphone OS, before being replaced by Windows 10 Mobile , which declined in share to become "largely irrelevant" at less than 0. BlackBerry Limited , formerly known as Research In Motion and known for phones with a full qwerty keyboard below the screen, made a new platform based on QNX , BlackBerry 10 , with which it was possible to control a device without having to press any physical buttons.
By the mids, almost all smartphones were touchscreen-only, and Android and iPhone smartphones dominated the market. In the early s, larger smartphones with screen sizes of at least 5. In , Fairphone launched its first "socially ethical" smartphone at the London Design Festival to address concerns regarding the sourcing of materials in the manufacturing  followed by Shiftphone in In October , Motorola Mobility announced Project Ara , a concept for a modular smartphone platform that would allow users to customize and upgrade their phones with add-on modules that attached magnetically to a frame.
The first smartphone with a fingerprint reader was the Motorola Atrix 4G in By , p displays began to appear on high-end smartphones. New trends for smartphone displays began to emerge in , with both LG and Samsung releasing flagship smartphones utilizing displays with taller aspect ratios than the common ratio. These designs allow the display to have a larger diameter, but with a slimmer width than displays with an equivalent screen size.
These designs allow for "edge-to-edge" displays that take up nearly the entire height of the device, with little to no bezel along the top. This design characteristic was popularized by the Essential Phone which featured a circular tab for its camera and iPhone X which used a wider tab to contain a camera and facial scanning system. Smartphones with foldable displays were theorized as possible once manufacturing costs and production processes were feasible. Also that month, Samsung presented a prototype phone featuring an "Infinity Flex Display" at its developers conference, with a smaller, outer display on its "cover", and a larger, tablet-sized display when opened.
Samsung stated that it also had to develop a new polymer material to coat the display as opposed to glass. Smartphones have central processing units CPUs , similar to those in computers, but optimised to operate in low power environments.
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The performance of mobile CPU depends not only on the clock rate generally given in multiples of hertz  but also on the memory hierarchy. Because of these challenges, the performance of mobile phone CPUs is often more appropriately given by scores derived from various standardized tests to measure the real effective performance in commonly used applications. One of the main characteristics of smartphones is the screen. Depending on the device's design, the screen fills most or nearly all of the space on a device's front surface.
Many smartphone displays have an aspect ratio of , but taller aspect ratios became more common in Screen sizes are measured in diagonal inches.
Phones with screens larger than 5. Smartphones with screens over 4. Due to design advances, some modern smartphones with large screen sizes and "edge-to-edge" designs have compact builds that improve their ergonomics, while the shift to taller aspect ratios have resulted in phones that have larger screen sizes whilst maintaining the ergonomics associated with smaller displays. Some displays are integrated with pressure-sensitive digitizers, such as those developed by Wacom and Samsung ,  and Apple's Force Touch system.
Sound quality can remain a problem due to the design of the phone, the quality of the cellular network and compression algorithms used in long distance calls. The small speakers can also be used to listen to digital audio files of music or speech or watch videos with an audio component, without holding the phone close to the ear.
By the end of , smartphone battery life has become generally adequate;  however, earlier smartphone battery life was poor due to the weak batteries that could not handle the significant power requirements of the smartphones' computer systems and color screens. Smartphone users purchase additional chargers for use outside the home, at work, and in cars and by buying portable external "battery packs".
External battery packs include generic models which are connected to the smartphone with a cable, and custom-made models that "piggyback" onto a smartphone's case. In , Samsung had to recall millions of the Galaxy Note 7 smartphones due to an explosive battery issue. A wide range of accessories are sold for smartphones, including cases, screen protectors , power charging cables, wireless power stations, USB On-The-Go adapters for connecting USB drives and or, in some cases, a HDMI cable to an external monitor , add-on batteries, headphones , combined headphone-microphones which, for example, allow a person to privately conduct calls on the device without holding it to the ear , and Bluetooth -enabled powered speakers that enable users to listen to media from their smartphones wirelessly.
Cases range from relatively inexpensive rubber or soft plastic cases which provide moderate protection from bumps and good protection from scratches to more expensive, heavy-duty cases that combine a rubber padding with a hard outer shell. Some cases have a "book"-like form, with a cover that the user opens to use the device; when the cover is closed, it protects the screen. Some "book"-like cases have additional pockets for credit cards, thus enabling people to use them as wallets.
Accessories include products sold by the manufacturer of the smartphone and compatible products made by other manufacturers. A mobile operating system or mobile OS is an operating system for phones, tablets , smartwatches , or other mobile devices. Mobile operating systems combine features of a personal computer operating system with other features useful for mobile or handheld use; usually including, and most of the following considered essential in modern mobile systems; a touchscreen , cellular , Bluetooth , Wi-Fi Protected Access , Wi-Fi , Global Positioning System GPS mobile navigation, video- and single-frame picture cameras , speech recognition , voice recorder , music player , near field communication , and infrared blaster.
By Q1 , over million smartphones were sold with Mobile devices with mobile communications abilities e. Research has shown that these low-level systems may contain a range of security vulnerabilities permitting malicious base stations to gain high levels of control over the mobile device. A mobile app is a computer program designed to run on a mobile device, such as a smartphone. The term "app" is a short-form of the term "software application". The introduction of Apple's App Store for the iPhone and iPod Touch in July popularized manufacturer-hosted online distribution for third-party applications software and computer programs focused on a single platform.
There are a huge variety of apps, including video games , music products and business tools.
Up until that point, smartphone application distribution depended on third-party sources providing applications for multiple platforms, such as GetJar , Handango , Handmark , and PocketGear. Since , smartphone shipments have had positive growth. The situation was caused by the maturing China market. In , Samsung had the highest shipment market share worldwide, followed by Apple. In , Samsung had Only Apple lost market share, although their shipment volume still increased by Samsung's mobile business is half the size of Apple's, by revenue.
Apple business increased very rapidly in the years to A University of Southern California study found that unprotected adolescent sexual activity was more common among owners of smartphones.
In many countries, mobile phones are used to provide mobile banking services, which may include the ability to transfer cash payments by secure SMS text message. Kenya's M-PESA mobile banking service, for example, allows customers of the mobile phone operator Safaricom to hold cash balances which are recorded on their SIM cards. Cash can be deposited or withdrawn from M-PESA accounts at Safaricom retail outlets located throughout the country and can be transferred electronically from person to person and used to pay bills to companies.
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Branchless banking has been successful in South Africa and the Philippines. Another application of mobile banking technology is Zidisha , a US-based nonprofit micro-lending platform that allows residents of developing countries to raise small business loans from Web users worldwide. Zidisha uses mobile banking for loan disbursements and repayments, transferring funds from lenders in the United States to borrowers in rural Africa who have mobile phones and can use the Internet. Mobile payments were first trialled in Finland in when two Coca-Cola vending machines in Espoo were enabled to work with SMS payments.
Eventually, the idea spread and in , the Philippines launched the country's first commercial mobile payments systems with mobile operators Globe and Smart. Some mobile phones can make mobile payments via direct mobile billing schemes, or through contactless payments if the phone and the point of sale support near field communication NFC.
Mobile phone use while driving—including calling , text messaging , playing media, web browsing , gaming , using mapping apps or operating other phone features—is common but controversial, since it is widely considered dangerous due to what is known as distracted driving. Being distracted while operating a motor vehicle has been shown to increase the risk of accidents. In Egypt, Israel, Japan, Portugal and Singapore, both handheld and hands-free calling on a mobile phone which uses a speakerphone is banned.
In other countries including the UK and France and in many US states, only the use of calling on handheld phones is banned, while hands-free use is permitted. A simulation study at the University of Utah found a sixfold increase in distraction-related accidents when texting.
This is more apparent in countries which ban both handheld and hands-free usage, rather than those which ban handheld use only, as officials cannot easily tell which function of the phone is being used simply by looking at the driver. This can lead to drivers being stopped for using their device illegally for a call when, in fact, they were using the device legally, for example, when using the phone's incorporated controls for car stereo, GPS or satnav. A study reviewed the incidence of phone use while cycling and its effects on behavior and safety.
Accidents involving a driver being distracted by being in a call on a phone have begun to be prosecuted as negligence similar to speeding. New Zealand has banned handheld phone use since 1 November Many states in the United States have banned text messaging on phones while driving.go site
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Illinois became the 17th American state to enforce this law. This database of laws provides a comprehensive view of the provisions of laws that restrict the use of mobile devices while driving for all 50 states and the District of Columbia between , when first law was passed through December 1, The dataset contains information on 22 dichotomous, continuous or categorical variables including, for example, activities regulated e. There was also smartphone patents licensing and litigation involving Sony Mobile , Google , Apple Inc.
The conflict is part of the wider "patent wars" between multinational technology and software corporations. To secure and increase market share , companies granted a patent can sue to prevent competitors from using the methods the patent covers. Since the s the number of lawsuits, counter-suits, and trade complaints based on patents and designs in the market for smartphones, and devices based on smartphone OSes such as Android and iOS , has increased significantly.
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Initial suits, countersuits, rulings, license agreements, and other major events began in as the smartphone market stated to grow more rapidly by Some apps allows for sending and receiving facsimile Fax , over a smartphone, including facsimile data composed of raster bi-level graphics generated directly and digitally from document and image file formats. With the rise in number of mobile medical apps in the market place, government regulatory agencies raised concerns on the safety of the use of such applications.
These concerns were transformed into regulation initiatives worldwide with the aim of safeguarding users from untrusted medical advice. Smartphone malware is easily distributed through an insecure app store. An online petition has urged smartphone makers to install kill switches in their devices. Leaked documents published by WikiLeaks , codenamed Vault 7 and dated from —, detail the capabilities of the United States Central Intelligence Agency CIA to perform electronic surveillance and cyber warfare , including the ability to compromise the operating systems of most smartphones including iOS and Android.
Guidelines for mobile device security were issued by NIST  and many other organizations. For conducting a private, in-person meeting, at least one site recommends that the user switch the smartphone off and disconnect the battery. Using smartphones late at night can disturb sleep, due to the blue light and brightly lit screen, which affects melatonin levels and sleep cycles.
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In an effort to alleviate these issues, several apps that change the color temperature of a screen to a warmer hue based on the time of day to reduce the amount of blue light generated have been developed for Android, while iOS 9. Amazon released a feature known as "blue shade" in their Fire OS "Bellini" 5.
It has also been theorized that for some users, addicted use of their phones, especially before they go to bed, can result in " ego depletion ".