Smartphones in Contemporary Society

A Smartphone is an advanced mobile phone which exceeds the capability of a regular cell phone. It is a personal technology device that is always connected to cellular data in order to provide online services. A Smartphone is usually seen as a “converged device that combines the functionalities of a PDA [(Personal Digital Assistant)] and a cell phone” (Johnson). Because all PDAs made today are also tethered to the cellular network, PDAs are now more or less the same as Smartphones.

Smartphones have a lot of different capabilities. A Smartphone, in its most basic form, can make phone calls, check e-mails, and browse the web. Most popular Smartphone OSs today are the iPhone OS (Apple), Android (Google), BlackBerry OS (RIM), Windows Mobile (MS), and S60 (Symbian). The once prominent, but aging Palm OS will soon be replaced by WebOS (Palm). These prominent operating systems allow the users to install third party applications to meet their specific needs. Smartphones provide its users immediate access to the Internet, which means that many things generally associated with a personal computer can now be done via a small, mobile device that one carries around literally everywhere. They provide the users, us, “Internet in your pocket” (Macworld Conferences & Expo, 2007). Many cell phones in North America are now quickly being replaced by these advanced mobile devices called the Smartphone.

Smartphones have similar effects on the society as regular cell phones, and then some. They are more of multi-purpose computers, allowing us to play games, take pictures or videos, send and receive e-mails and text messages (SMS), and even browse the full web (unlike WAP browsers on a regular cell phone) (Rauch, 2005). School classrooms are a great example of how the Smartphone, or even a cell phone, has clearly changed its environment completely. Because of its ubiquity, it is now the norm to find at least one or two students using his/her Smartphone to be instant messaging with others, or even browsing the web in a classroom, even during a lecture. Because of its speedy spreading and its relatively short history, it is unclear of when it is or is not appropriate to be utilizing the features of a Smartphone. More importantly, these mobile devices are “enabling people to create their own micro-cultures” (Rauch, 2005), quickly changing our social and cultural norms and values.

Smartphones affecting our society and culture is mostly a good thing. Firstly, it has already proven to be very convenient. We are now almost always connected with one another through this technology and being able to access data anywhere one may be can be very addicting. For example, when there are questions to be answered, one can retrieve the answers instantly by using a Smartphone to find the answers on the web. Something like this was unimaginable just a decade ago, and now we find ourselves finding this new ability being the norm. One downside of being always connected is the expected requirement of having to get back to others instantly. Another downside affect is that once disconnected, one may start to feel vulnerable and unstable, from depending on the device too much.

With Smartphones, there is no going back. Once connected, it is hard to let go, as the experience is very addictive. One can only be free of it when he/she realizes that it is too tiring to be worth the effort of being always connected. In other words, Smartphones will be the norm in the mainstream society, while people will eventually stop being so dependable on these devices as they start becoming too old to keep up with the current trends.

these devices as they start becoming too old to keep up with the current trends.

Works Cited

Johnson, J. (n.d.). PDA vs. Smartphone. Retrieved February 11, 2009, from

Jobs, S. (Performer). (2007). Macworld Conferences & Expo. San Francisco, California, United States of America.

Rauch, P. (2005, November 17). Cell Phone Culture. Retrieved February 10, 2009, from MIT Forum:

Smartphone. (2009, February 9). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 08:10, February 10, 2009, from

    • Adrian Niedermann
    • November 19th, 2012


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