PNG images: Smartphone 

A smartphone is a mobile personal computer with a mobile operating system with features useful for mobile or handheld use. Smartphones, which are typically pocket-sized (as opposed to tablets, which are much larger than a pocket), have the ability to place and receive voice/video calls and create and receive text messages, have virtual assistants (such as Siri, Google Assistant, Alexa, Cortana, Bixby), a note-taking application, an event calendar, a media player, video games, GPS navigation, digital camera and video camera. Smartphones can access the Internet through cellular frequencies or Wi-Fi and can run a variety of third-party software components ("apps" from places like Google Play Store or Apple App Store). They typically have a color display with a graphical user interface that covers the front surface. The display is almost always a touchscreen that enables the user to use a virtual keyboard to type words, numbers, and other characters, and press onscreen icons to activate "app" features.

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In 1999, the Japanese firm NTT DoCoMo released the first smartphones to achieve mass adoption within a country. Smartphones became widespread in the late 2000s. Most of those produced from 2012 onward have high-speed mobile broadband 4G LTE, motion sensors, and mobile payment features. In the third quarter of 2012, one billion smartphones were in use worldwide. Global smartphone sales surpassed the sales figures for feature phones in early 2013.

Devices that combined telephony and computing were first conceptualized by Nikola Tesla in 1909 and Theodore Paraskevakos in 1971 and patented in 1974, and were offered for sale beginning in 1993. Paraskevakos was the first to introduce the concepts of intelligence, data processing and visual display screens into telephones. In 1971, while he was working with Boeing in Huntsville, Alabama, Paraskevakos demonstrated a transmitter and receiver that provided additional ways to communicate with remote equipment, however it did not yet have general purpose PDA applications in a wireless device typical of smartphones. They were installed at Peoples' Telephone Company in Leesburg, Alabama and were demonstrated to several telephone companies. The original and historic working models are still in the possession of Paraskevakos.

The first mobile phone to incorporate PDA features was a prototype developed by Frank Canova in 1992 while at IBM and demonstrated that year at the COMDEX computer industry trade show. It included PDA features and other visionary mobile applications such as maps, stock reports and news. A refined version was marketed to consumers in 1994 by BellSouth under the name Simon Personal Communicator. The Simon was the first commercially available device that could be properly referred to as a "smartphone", although that term was not coined until a year later. In addition to placing and receiving cellular calls, Simon could send and receive faxes and emails and included an address book, calendar, appointment scheduler, calculator, world time clock and notepad, utilising its touch screen display. The term "smart phone" appeared in print as early as 1995, describing AT&T's PhoneWriter Communicator.

In the mid-late 1990s, many mobile phone users carried a separate dedicated PDA device, running early versions of operating systems such as Palm OS, BlackBerry OS or Windows CE/Pocket PC. These operating systems would later evolve into mobile operating systems. In March 1996, Hewlett-Packard released the OmniGo 700LX, a modified HP 200LX palmtop PC that supported a Nokia 2110 phone with ROM-based software to support it. It had a 640×200 resolution CGA compatible four-shade gray-scale LCD screen and could be used to place and receive calls, and to create and receive text messages, emails and faxes. It was also 100% DOS 5.0 compatible, allowing it to run thousands of existing software titles, including early versions of Windows.

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