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What are the hardware components of smartphones?
Answered by HowStuffWorks
  • HowStuffWorks

    HowStuffWorks

  1. Today it seems everyone is attached to their smartphone -- almost literally and certainly figuratively. We're in love with all of the things our phones can do. But what are the basic components and technologies that help it work its magic? What's under the hood, as it were, of the typical smartphone?

    The showiest piece of the puzzle, of course, is the phone's display. The displays themselves, increasingly of the touch-screen variety, are made by top producers such as Samsung and Sony. Most of the touch-screen phones also use Corning's Gorilla Glass screen material. The durable, thin glass product is used for encasing screens in some 150 products, including phones, tablets and laptops [source: CNBC].

    Not as showy, because in daily use you can't see it, but easily the most important piece of hardware in the smartphone is the processor. Many smartphones use ARM processors, a technology licensed to phone makers by Arm Holdings. The phone brains designed by the company are known for their energy efficiency, which is especially important for battery-powered mobile devices that need to stay powered up and on the go for long periods.

    Memory, of course, is also part of smartphone hardware picture. While all smartphones come with some built-in memory, many include slots for removable storage, such as SD memory cards.

    And we can't forget chips! Lots and lots of chip types give smartphones functionality for all kinds of the applications demanded by today's smartphone power user. A camera-equipped smartphone, for example, will have image sensors like those of digital cameras. Other chips inside the phone might allow for things such as Internet browsing, file sharing and audio playback.

    But what about operating systems? After all, phones today are very small computers. The Apple iPhone and Google's Android are two high-profile options. BlackBerry, meanwhile, has been a popular OS for quite some time. It's preferred by IT departments and power users for its reliability, security, call quality and messaging capabilities [source: Hiner]. Furthermore, it runs on its own server, which makes it easier for IT departments. Windows Mobile (or Windows Phone) is Microsoft's version of smartphone technology, while Symbian is Nokia's operating system

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