Smartphones are mobile phones with additional advanced computing capabilities, distinguishing them from standard feature phones. Smartphones have the ability to run more complicated applications than feature phones and often run on open operating systems, possess stronger processers, have greater storage capabilities and feature larger screens. The first Smartphone, as reported in USA Today, the IBM Simon, was sold by BellSouth in 1992 and included a calendar, a note pad, games, and allowed the user to email and fax. The IBM Simon was also the first phone to use touch screen technology. In 1997, Ericsson produced the GS88, the first phone to be called a “Smartphone.” Since the 90s, the smartphone market has changed dramatically. As of 2010, Smartphones now make up 20 percent of the handset market, with global Smartphone shipments increasing by a whopping 74 percent from 2009 to 2010. Smartphone revenues reached $99 billion in 2010, accord to a report from Strategy Analytics. Apple, Nokia, and Research in Motion (RIM) cashed in, with Apple in the lead, commanding 29 percent of the total market revenue. According to a report by Canalys, 97 percent of Smartphones on the market run on operating systems produced by Android, Symbian, Apple, RIM, or Windows Mobile. Only 3 percent of Smartphones run on alternate operating systems. The most popular smart phones on the market currently include Apple’s iPhone 4, Motorola’s Droid 2 and Droid X, HTC’s EVO 4G and  Droid Incredible, and RIM’s BlackBerry Torch, BlackBerry Bold, and BlackBery Curve.

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Latest Headlines

MWC 2015: Plotting your way through the madness

My favourite week in the mobile industry trade fair calendar is rapidly approaching. Yes, I am talking about Mobile World Congress in Barcelona--the show that has ballooned from a modest event in Cannes to a rather bloated celebration of anything that has the remotest connection to mobile or wireless technology (including smart toothbrushes with Bluetooth for optimal brushing!).

How Verizon, AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile stacked up in Q4 2014

The fourth-quarter earnings season is coming to a close, so now it's time to see how the nation's top wireless carriers stacked up against each other in terms of key metrics. Jackdaw Research analyst Jan Dawson has assembled these slides that provide an in-depth look at how Verizon Wireless, AT&T Mobility, Sprint and T-Mobile US performed in the fourth quarter. Dawson's research covers relatively standard metrics including revenue growth and net adds, but also includes deep dives into prepaid vs. postpaid performance, subscriber acquisitions vs. losses, and more. Special Report

Motorola's Osterloh calls Apple's prices 'outrageous' in response to criticism from Ive

Motorola Mobility President Rick Osterloh blasted Apple's prices as "outrageous" and said that Motorola and Apple have different design philosophies and strategies. The comments appear to be a slap back against Apple executive Jony Ive, who appears to have issued veiled insults against Motorola in a recent magazine article.

Sony CEO: We're willing to part with the mobile phone unit

Sony CEO Kazuo Hirai confirmed that the company is willing to get out of the mobile phone business, although the electronics giant currently has no plans to do so. When asked about Sony's TV and mobile phone units during a presentation of Sony's latest turnaround strategy, Hirai said he would not "rule out considering an exit strategy," according to Reuters.

Sprint, T-Mobile not meeting all cell phone unlocking policy commitments, advocate says

Last week the largest U.S. wireless carriers agreed to let customers who have fulfilled their contracts unlock their phones and tablets and move to another carrier. Yet according to the consumer advocate who spurred the movement to change unlocking policies, Sprint and T-Mobile US in particular are not fully meeting their six commitments under the new policy.

IDC: Smartphone sales hit record high in Western Europe in 2014

Total smartphone shipments in Western Europe increased by 6.4 per cent year-on-year to reach a record high of more than 145.8 million units in 2014, with the total value of the shipments increasing by 1.7 per cent to $62.4 billion (€54.8 billion).

GSA: 1,275 new LTE devices launched in past year

Smartphones continue to dominate the device category with 1,395 products launched.

Xiaomi to launch U.S. store in 2015- but not to sell smartphones

Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi is launching an online store in the United States this year, but it won't be selling smartphones. Instead, it will sell products like headphones and a wearable. The effort is part of the company's strategy to position Xiaomi as more than just a smartphone maker.

Microsoft releases Windows 10 preview for a handful of phones

Microsoft released an early "technical preview" version of Windows 10 for smartphones to those who have registered for its "Insider" program, but only made the software builds available to customers with a few mid-range, Lumia-branded Windows Phones.

Verizon, AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile likely to finance $37B in devices this year, analysts say

As wireless carriers increasingly embrace equipment installment plans (EIPs), they are working to mitigate the risk of those plans to their balance sheet by turning to a variety of financing alternatives, according to a report from investment bank Jefferies.