What are they?
The term smartphone is used to describe the new breed of mobile phones that can run multiple software applications and perform more like mini portable computers. Recent examples include the Apple iPhone and smartphones based on the Android operating system created by Google and manufactured by companies including HTC and Motorola.
How do they work?
Smartphones will make phone calls and take pictures just like any other phone, but can also connect to the internet for web browsing and email, and can run applications ranging from personal productivity enhancers to games. Many now include features such as built-in compasses and GPS receivers, and can play audio and video files.
Why are smartphones useful?
Because of their range of features, smartphones can replace the role of a computer in some situations, such as browsing the web or checking email. Generally they are much smaller and lighter than a notebook computer with superior battery life.