It’s hard to imagine that over a decade ago, Steve Jobs announced the first very first iPhone at a Macworld convention. He received a ridiculous amount of media attention and the very first iPhone was released that same year on June 29, 2007. The first generation iPhone wasn’t the very first smartphone. We can trace the history of the smartphone all the way back to the early 1990s when PDA (Personal Digital Assistant) devices were popular among business users. In the early 2000s, the most popular smartphone OS was Symbian and was used exclusively on Nokia phones.
Fast forward a few years and we now have three major smartphone operating systems: iOS, Android and Windows Phone. Unfortunately, Windows Phone has been dropping in popularity due to how much traction the other two operating systems have been gaining. However, despite all of these technological advances and improvements, many people haven’t realised a very exciting (or scary) development; smartphones have become a window to the world.
Social media + camera = sharing experiences
Sharing our experiences with the world has never been so simple. We can snap pictures and instantly upload them to Facebook or Instagram and tag all of our friends so that they can see what we’re up to. This ease of use has become a cornerstone in the massive growth of smartphones as a social device. We can even record videos and, thanks to the availability of 4G connections around the world, we can even broadcast from our phones on websites such as Periscope or Twitch.tv.
Entertainment streamed directly from your phone
We’ve probably all been exposed to YouTube and how convenient it is to view those videos on our phones. However, that’s not the only form of entertainment we can get from our phones. We can even stream movies, television shows or even live casinos. Smartphones have made it easy to get into gambling on your mobile device, and you can even play video games from your phone thanks to the thousands of apps available in the stores.
Services from the comfort of our home
Currently, if we wanted to go visit a doctor or see our general practitioner, we’d have to book an appointment and wait a week or two before we’d hop on public transportation or drive over to see them. That’s set to change in the near future thanks to mobile devices. In the future, we’ll be able to book appointments, ask questions, check symptoms and even get a virtual meeting with our doctor through our phones.
An app for everything
There quite literally is an app for everything we could ever hope to do. Do you need to hire private transportation? There’s Uber. Do you want a companion for weight loss? Your phone can track calories and even your pulse and monitor your step count. Need an alarm clock to wake you up in the morning? Your phone has you covered. Travelling to another country and need some translation assistance? Don’t worry, your phone can do that too.
Travelling made easy
As mentioned before, smartphones are excellent devices for sharing your experiences—but that’s only part of what makes them incredibly handy social devices. In addition to having a camera, plenty of storage space and the ability to quickly share your pictures, you can also use apps to improve your quality of life when travelling. You can translate messages, there are comprehensive maps and GPS for you to navigate the world and there are even apps that will give you recommendations on where to go for a great meal, entertainment or even hotels—it’s the ultimate travel companion.
Great for business too
Not only do our smartphones open up the world to us, they also make work easier to handle. For instance, there are some handy smartphone apps that allow you to scan documents which is perfect for someone that needs to digitise a sheet of paper or an important report. You can also use apps to keep in touch with co-workers, share ideas and get instant updates on new tasks that you need to perform. If you wanted to get even more creative, you could attach an external keyboard and mouse via BlueTooth and turn your smartphone into a portable workstation. If you need a bigger screen, you could plug it into a projector, monitor or even a television—and you don't even need wires most of the time.
Some final words
Smartphones have made us humans more adventurous and productive, but most importantly it has opened up the whole world to us. We no longer have to confine ourselves to our country or city, and with the power of the internet plus an amazing device like a smartphone, we’re slowly becoming a global society.
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