When you go to any cellular phone store, kiosk at the mall, or a consumer electronics store (like Best Buy, Circuit City or Radio Shack), you’ll see an assortment of Smartphones available. As you begin to shop around, you’ll quickly discover several distinct categories of Smartphones, each of which utilizes a different operating system.
If you’re familiar with desktop computers, you probably know that PC-based desktop computers often operate using Microsoft Windows, while computers manufactured by Apple Computer, Inc., for example, operate using a totally different operating system.
PC-based computers and Apple computers can be used to handle virtually all of the same computing applications, but the look of the screens, the user interfaces, and the commands used to make things happen are somewhat different.
This same concept holds true with Smartphones, because there are many different companies manufacturing Smartphones that use different operating systems. They all pretty much run the same types of applications, only they handle them differently. The following is a rundown of the types of Smartphones available that run under the various operating systems.
- Windows Mobile Smartphones - Windows Mobile Smartphones are sleekly shaped devices designed primarily for one-handed use that offer voice and data communication from the palm of your hand. It’s these devices that this book primarily focuses on. Smartphones that run using the Windows Mobile operating system offer a strong similarity to desktop computers running Windows XP, for example, so you’ll find many of the commands and icons to be similar.
- Pocket PC Phone Edition Smartphones - Pocket PC Phone Edition devices also utilize the powerful Windows Mobile operating system, but they’re larger, have a touch screen, look more like traditional PDAs, often have some type of built-in alphanumeric keyboard, and they’re designed primarily for two-handed operation.
- Palm OS-Based Smartphones - PalmOne is the current industry leader when it comes to developing and marketing handheld personal digital assistants (PDAs) that offer a wide range of functionality and expandability. This company also offers several devices that nicely combine PDA technology with cell phone and wireless data technology. The Treo 600 is an example of these all-on-one Smartphone devices that use the popular Palm-OS operating system. This operating system looks and functions differently than the Windows Mobile operating system.
- Blackberry - Blackberry devices, developed by Research In Motion Limited (RIM), started out as souped-up two-way text pagers and have quickly evolved into Smartphones being used primarily by corporate America. They’re highly functional, sleek, and use a proprietary operating system. These are primarily voice and data communication devices with some PDA functionality and a vastly smaller library of add-on software packages and applications available for them.
Before running out and purchasing a Smartphone, think about what you’ll be using it for. Ultimately, your goal should be to choose a Smartphone that meets the needs you have right now in your personal and professional life. Ideally, you also want a device that you will be able to upgrade and/or expand later in order to adapt to changes in your life and new software/technology developments.
Knowing what you want and need a Smartphone for and developing a better understanding of what the technology actually offers, will allow you to choose a specific Smartphone device that’s perfect for you.