Clicking on the Web: Learn about smartphones on web

by Howard Lestrud

Many of us received what we wanted for Christmas and have been spending our following days incorporating some of our gifts into our lifestyles.

That gift may have been a new computer, a new television, a new car or a new phone.

My new gift was a smartphone and I, indeed, am still familiarizing myself with it.

We are for sure in that now connectivity generation.

Many of us have resisted joining the new connectivity, but others of us have welcomed it with eagerness to learn.

One of my best instructors has been my eight-year-old grandson Ryan.

I have been one of those who has thought it rude when people hang onto their phone and check messages, or whatever when they are with you.

Just the other night, Judy and I went to Applebee’s for dinner and were waiting on a bench for our name to be called.

As we sat there, six other people were near us (of all ages) and they were connected to their phones.

I suddenly found the urge to grab my smartphone and do the same thing.

My new smartphone is my computer away from home and I can check the latest news and weather and also manipulate by e-mail by sending or receiving.

Not to make this a retail bonanza for many of the smartphone retailers out there, I have chosen my favorite source, Wikipedia, to tell us more about the development of the smartphones.

Go to

Let’s read from Wikipedia:

“A smartphone is a high-end mobile phone built on a mobile computing platform, with more advanced computing ability and connectivity than a contemporary feature phone.

“The first smartphones were devices that mainly combined the functions of a personal digital assistant (PDA) and a mobile phone or camera phone.

“Today’s models also serve to combine the functions of portable media players, low-end compact digital cameras, pocket video cameras, and GPS navigation units.

“Modern smartphones typically also include high-resolution touchscreens, web browsers that can access and properly display standard web pages rather than just mobile-optimized sites, and high-speed data access via Wi-Fi and mobile broadband.

“The most common mobile operating systems (OS) used by modern smartphones include Google’s Android, Apple’s iOS, Microsoft’s Windows Phone, Nokia’s Symbian, RIM’s BlackBerry OS and embedded Linux distributions such as Maemo and MeeGo.

“Such operating systems can be installed on many different phone models, and typically each device can receive multiple OS software updates over its lifetime.

“The distinction between smartphones and feature phones can be vague and there is no official definition for what constitutes the difference between them.

“One of the most significant differences is that the advanced application programming interfaces (APIs) on smartphones for running third-party applications can allow those applications to have better integration with the phone’s OS and hardware than is typical with feature phones.

“In comparison, feature phones more commonly run on proprietary firmware, with third-party software support through platforms such as Java ME or BREW.

“An additional complication in distinguishing between smartphones and feature phones is that over time the capabilities of new models of feature phones can increase to exceed those of phones that had been promoted as smartphones in the past.”

In the publishing business the ultimate in communications is desired.

I remember very clearly going back nearly 14 years when I first started to write this Clicking on the Web column.

At that time, ECM Publishers was expanding its Internet presence and was utilizing as many upgrades as we could add to our publishing system.

It was imperative then and still is that we communicate with all of our publications to provide news information to as many people as possible, either by the print or electronic vehicles.

In addition to our website presence, many of our locations have relied on Facebook and Twitter to expand that new media presence.

Let’s look at the early years

“The first smartphone was the IBM Simon; it was designed in 1992 and shown as a concept product that year at COMDEX, the computer industry trade show held in Las Vegas, Nevada.

“It was released to the public in 1993 and sold by BellSouth.

“Besides being a mobile phone, it also contained a calendar, address book, world clock, calculator, note pad, e-mail client, the ability to send and receive faxes and games.

“It had no physical buttons, instead customers used a touchscreen to select telephone numbers with a finger or create faxes and memos with an optional stylus.

“Text was entered with a unique on-screen ‘predictive’ keyboard.

“By today’s standards, the Simon would be a fairly low-end product, lacking a camera and the ability to download third-party applications.

“However, its feature set at the time was highly advanced.

“The Nokia Communicator line was the first of Nokia’s smartphones starting with the Nokia 9000, released in 1996.

“ This distinctive palmtop computer style smartphone was the result of a collaborative effort of an early successful and costly personal digital assistant (PDA) by Hewlett-Packard combined with Nokia’s best-selling phone around that time, and early prototype models had the two devices fixed via a hinge.

“The Communicators are characterized by a clamshell design, with a feature phone display, keyboard and user interface on top of the phone, and a physical QWERTY keyboard, high-resolution display of at least 640×200 pixels and PDA user interface under the flip-top.

“The software was based on the GEOS V3.0 operating system, featuring e-mail communication and text-based web browsing. In 1998, it was followed by Nokia 9110, and in 2000 by Nokia 9110i, with improved web browsing capability.

“In 1997 the term ‘smartphone’ was used for the first time when Ericsson unveiled the concept phone GS88, the first device labelled as ‘smartphone.’”

Excuse me a moment, my grandson Ryan wants to borrow my smartphone.

He must be making a very important call, maybe to his parents.

“Hey Ryan, what are you doing?” I can’t find him.

Oh, here he is in the dining room, playing Angry Birds. I’ve even learned how to play this popular game. Oh no, I’ve sold out.

If you wish to learn more about his viral game, download it on your computer or other device.

Also, you can go to Wikipedia at

It was first released in December 2009.

Editor’s note: Howard Lestrud is ECM online managing editor.