Brief World’s Smartphone Market History

By on October 24, 2017

What Is A Smart Phone?

A smartphone is a handheld personal computer with an integrated mobile broadband cellular network connection and a mobile broadband cellular network for data and voice communication. As opposed to smartphones, tablets are larger than the average pocket size.

The contemporary smartphone has touchscreen color display, on which the user can press onscreen icons to interact with applications and a virtual keyboard to key in data. However, the Smartphone Market History has passed through various transformations to get us here today.

smartphone market

“The Angler”

Data signal integration with telephony first came to be in 1909, under Nikola Tesla, introducing data transmission through telephone lines. Fast forward down the timeline, Frank Canova developed the “Angler” prototype, the first device nearing the smartphone term in history. He demonstrated it at COMDEX computer industry trade show of the year, working with IBM.

This was the first mobile device of its nature in the market, and Bellsouth marketed its improved version in 1994, branded Simon Personal Communicator. The word “smartphone” emerged in 1995, used to describe the PhoneWriter Communicator from AT&T.

Mass Production of Smartphones

NTT DoCoMo manufactured and distributed smartphones in mass within Japan, in 1999. The phones use i-mode, transmitting data with a speed of up to 9.6kbit/s. outside Japan, smartphones remained sparse until Danger Hiptop emerged in 2002. This resulted in average progress in the United States, especially with the T-Mobile Sidekick.

Further within the decade, businesses in the U.S fell in love with Research In Motion smartphones, Microsoft Windows Mobile devices, and Blackberry smartphones. Americans coined the term “CrackBerry” in 2006, because of the addiction that the Blackberry smartphone brought.

In Europe, Nokia made a major footprint with Symbian smartphones, which came from Psion for own organizers. This smartphone OS remained the most popular in the continent, from the mid to late 2000s.

Smart Phone Feature Evolution

Most smartphones used a QWERTY keyboard or a physical numeric keypad before 2007, and then things changed. The first capacitive multi-touch interface emerged towards the beginning of 2007, on an Apple Inc. iPhone. Come October 2008, the first phone to use Google’s Android OS called the HTC Dream or the T-Mobile G1 emerged in the market.

This development still had a large screen, but later versions improved and added on-screen keyboard support, making physical keyboards a rare thing on Android devices. Android devices found a slow reception on entering the market, but the popularity picked a higher pace in 2010. By 2012, the devices took over the worldwide market and maintained the position up to now.

Key-pad focused and keyboard platforms declined with the entry of Android phones and the iPhone, which brought in capacitive touchscreens. This led to major changes in the smartphone industry landscape, with Windows dropping Windows Mobile and venturing into a touchscreen-oriented OS (Windows Phone).

Nokia responded to the changes by joining Microsoft in developing and using Windows Phone on its smartphones, after quitting Symbian. Before Windows 10 Mobile, Windows Phone was the most popular smartphone OS. Unfortunately, the initial declined in relevance by below 0.5% of smartphone market.

Palm OS gave way to webOS, which Palm later sold to Hewlett-Packard (HP). HP later sold the system to LG Electronics, who used it to manufacture smart Television sets. Blackberry Limited came up with a new platform, which enabled one to control a device without pressing any physical buttons. Unfortunately, this platform discontinued at some point.

Towards the mid-2010s, almost all smartphones in the market dominated by iPhone and Android were completely touchscreen. Fairphone launched the first socially ethical smartphone during the 2013 London Design Festival. Towards the end of the same year, QSAlpha ventured into production of a smartphone design completely revolving around identity protection, encryption, and security.

Samsung Galaxy Round came up with a device that embraces curved form factors. In October 2013, Motorolla Mobility commenced the Project Ara, a modular smartphone concept platform. The development aims to help users to magnetically attach add-on modules, and by so doing the upgrade and customize their phones.

Motorolla and LG also unveiled smartphones featuring a limited form of modularity for accessories. One can install accessories on the LG G5 by removing the battery compartment, or use accessories attached at the back of the Moto Z. The XperiaZ5 Premium, launched by Sony in 2015, has a 4K resolution display, which allows video and image rendering.

Some of the other main technological developments of the 2010 focus on augmented reality and virtual reality experiences directed towards the new USB-C connector, improving LTE technologies and smartphones. The global smartphone ownership median was at 43% by 2015, and projections indicate that by 2020, around 3 billion people will possess smartphones.

Phone Accessories

Smartphone accessories are available from the manufacturer or other sources that produce compatible parts. These include phone covers, extra batteries, earphones, screen protectors, headphone-microphones and power charging cables. The touchscreen covers most of a smartphone’s front area, with the latest development increasing the screen coverage.

On average, the touchscreen covers about 70% of the front, but the edge-to-edge concept seeks to increase this. The larger the screen, however, the more difficult it becomes for one to use the phone on one hand, as the fingers may not reach all the parts well.

They range from basic to the sophisticated device, such as the wireless Bluetooth earpiece that helps one to pick calls or listen to music without physical connections from the phone. Some phone cases have space for credit cards, and one may use it as a wallet. Others are book-like, and help protect the screen and phone body from scratches and other damages.

Possible Future Developments

For many years now, the industry has anticipated Foldable OLED smartphones, but the development has had very many obstacles. One of the greatest challenges has been coming up with a foldable battery and screen, with high failure at the production stage.

Looking at Smartphone Market History, it is clear that the future smartphone will be able to do unbelievable things. For instance, one will be able to charge a smartphone without using a cord charger. Phones will become transparent, and one will be able to change the color according to the environment and preference. Artificial Intelligence (AI) will also be a major contributor towards building the smartphone of the future.

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