Monday, April 20, 2009

What is a Smart Phone?

I wish to post some thoughts on smart cards as payment devices: possible replacements for credit cards or even a possible electronic wallet. To do so, I feel I have to write about Smart Phones, about NFC (Near Field Communication), and about the two in combination. Rather than prepare one long multi-topic post, I’m dividing this topic into three parts to make it more reader friendly. The three parts will be:

What is a Smart Phone?
What is Near Field Communications?
My Quest for a Smart Phone with NFC

Here is the easy part. By my definition, a “Smart Phone” contains at least the following elements:

· Powerful hand-held computer, with integrated keyboard and display,
· User programmable, with a large library of applications available,
· Allows attachment of a wide variety of input and output devices (e.g. Bluetooth),
· Attaches to multiple high-speed networks selecting the best for the job (e.g. GSM, 3G, WiFi),
· Can sense its location,
· Battery powered,
· Can back-up data or synch data with a computer,
· Can be linked to a computer for data and program downloads.

I recognize that some of these terms are subjective. For example, “powerful” and “high speed” are clearly defined by the alternatives available today. Kevin Short from UNH helped me with this definition.

Another view can be found here in the Wikipedia. This is my blog, we’ll use my view. Comments encouraged.

1 comment:

  1. You have the technical description and basic required feature set of smartphone well defined.

    Here is a different perspective - the day I realized that someone finally figured out how to make a smartphone was when I bought the Treo 600 running the Palm OS. It had all the bells and whistles of the time (2002 I think), but more importantly – I could actually get something done away from a PC. It is as simple as that – the feeling that if a work issue arises and your phone will truly help you solve the problem, through a combination of phone, email, web, stored notes/contacts, utility apps, etc. I still think that the Treo is a great device – the biggest problem is that it still does not have usable web browsing like the iPhone has (maybe the Palm Pre will change this?). Apple redefined the smartphone all because of the web browser. Still, the iPhone is severely lacking in numerous other areas such as the calendar and email applications to name a few.

    I remember back in my Pumatech days when an executive made a statement that it didn’t make sense to ever combine a phone and a PDA together, because when you are on the phone you also need to view and type/write in data into some other device. At the time this exec wasn’t thinking about Bluetooth headsets, speakerphone, or even just the raw power of having one device instead of 2 to carry around. This thought proves that the iPhone is not (yet) the golden solution because I still see business people carry a BlackBerry and an iPhone when they travel to combine the best functionality of both.