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Smartphone, how it works, types, and why you need one

You might have seen, held and/or used a smartphone. But, have you ever wondered what phones are made up of? Like, how it works, its use, and maybe why you should probably go get one?

It’s a good thing that you understands the makings and workings of a phone. This way, you have an idea what makes a good smartphone, things you should look out for when buying one, and how to best maintain your mobile phone.

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So, what is a smartphone, how does it work, what are its use, how many types of mobile phones are out there, and why do you need one? All this questions will be answered in simple user terms in this article.

What Is a Smartphone

A smartphone can be referred to as any device that has a user interface, has an operating system, can process, send, receive, store data (computing), is portable device, and is mobile (also known as, a Phone, Mobile Phone or Cell Phone).

This is why according to Wikipedia, A smartphone ( a Phone, Mobile Phone or Cell Phone) is a computing platform portable device that combines mobile telephone and computing functions into one unit.

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A smartphone is: Portable in the sense its small, mobile in the sense that you can carry it with you anywhere, computing in that it can process, send, receive, and store data.

Look at it this way: If you need to access the internet, you need a computer that is connected to the internet. If you need to take photos you need a camera, and if you need to save a file then you need a storage drive.

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Well, smartphone can perform all the tasks listed above on the go. You can access the internet anywhere (there is network service), you can take photos using the cameras, and you can save files all in one device while walking or jogging. So how does a smartphone work?

How does a smartphone work

As a computing device, a smartphone is made up of two components: the Hardware and Software:

  1. Hardware: A mobile phone hardware is the physical part of the device. These are the components that you can touch and feel e.g. battery, camera module, screen, RAM, chipset board, charging port, etc.
  2. Software: Mobile phone software are the non physical part of the device. These are components that you can touch and feel but breathes life into the hardware components. Examples are the software (Operating system and Skin software).

So, the hardware needs the codes and instructions of the software to come to life while the software needs the hardware for all its functions to be utilized.

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Types of smartphone Hardware

There are lots of hardware inside smartphones but I’ll list the popular once and its importance below:

  1. Screen and Display: This serves as the monitor that shows pictorial representation of what tasks mobile phones are been instructed to perform. Most phones now use touchscreen.
  2. Battery: This is a hardware component that serves as the power supply for your phones. When fully charged, the battery will keep the phone up and running for some hours.
  3. Chipset: This is also refers to as Processor or System on Chip (SoC). It’s like the brain of all smartphones. The CPU, GPU, ISP, AI, NPU are all in this component. All the processing including send, receiving and storing data is done by the chipset.
  4. Camera: This component is responsible for taking photos and videos.
  5. RAM and Storage: RAM is the temporal storage while the chipset above is processing data. Storage is the permanent storage for your files in the mobile phone.
  6. Other hardware components are; USB port, 3.5mm jack port, vibrator module, ribbon cables, network cables, etc.

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Importance of Smartphone hardware
  1. Hardware makes it possible for you to touch and actually use the phone.
  2. Mobile phone hardware makes it possible for you to use the software installed in the phone.
  3. Components of hardware like the battery powers and keep your smartphones alive.
  4. Camera which is a hardware component allows you to take photos and videos of important occasions.
  5. The hardware like RAM and ROM makes it possible for users to store and make use of the phone.
  6. Important software is packed inside the hardware of mobile phones like the software in the chipset (processor or SoC).
  7. Hardware allow for your phone to give additional functionality like external memory via microSD card and ear phones.

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Now that we have talked about the hardware parts of smartphones and its basic components. It is time to talk a little about the software part of the mobile phones.

Types of smartphone software

Software of smartphones can be technically categorized into three. Namely:

  1. System Software: These type of software is responsible for the entire operation of the mobile phone. That’s why it’s also called Operating System. Examples of popular software of mobile phones are: Android OS from Google, Apple iOS from Apple, and HarmonyOS from Huawei.
  2. System UI: System UI is a type of system software that brings enhances user experience inside a smartphone. This software is responsible for phone navigation, icon, notification arrangement, and how you see the settings of a smartphone. Every smartphone maker has its own System UI.
  3. Application Software: Application software are a type of software that helps users perform different tasks in a smartphone. These software are installed on top of the system software. Examples of application software are: TikTok, Facebook, Instagram, Gmail,, Binance, etc.

The list is a very long one and we can’t possibly list them all. But its good you now have an idea of what we mean by system and application software.

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Importance of software in smartphones
  1. Without the system software the smartphone is no longer smart.
  2. The software brings the hardware components to life.
  3. Software makes it fun for you to interact with your phone.
  4. Communication between you and your phone is made possible thanks to the software.
  5. Daily tasks and related work are possible due to the presence of software.

Types of smartphones

Right now, smartphones are categorized based on their Operating System or System Software. Going by this categorization, there are currently three types of smartphones:

  1. Android OS Phones
  2. Apple iOS Phones
  3. HarmonyOS Phones

There are lots of companies producing Android OS phones. The list for Android phone manufacturers is endless and more companies are joining in.

Apple iOS phones are Apple iPhones that boots the iOS software. Only Apple make iPhones. HarmonyOS phones are made by Huawei. This new Operating system was developed after the US ban on Huawei.

See Also: Between Apple iOS and Android which is better

Why you need a smartphone


The list of what you can do with a phone is probably endless (good and bad). I mean, there 1 million ways to use a smartphone. But, below are the general use of phones (only the good stuffs):

  1. To access the internet and share or receive information (this include social medial).
  2. To take and save photos and videos of important moments in life.
  3. To send, receive, and store data.
  4. Can be use for work and personal related things.
  5. For educational purposes (researches can easily be done online).
  6. You can make money online using your mobile phone. You just have to learn how as there are numerous ways.

See Also: Between Apple iPhones and Samsung Galaxy which is better

So, this is basically what a smartphone is all about. The next time you hold or use a cell phone, know that there are lots of work going on in the background as you instruct it to perform a task.






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