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The words used to describe portable devices are confusing and continue to evolve.
App: An software application on a smartphone.
Mobile-friendly website: A website that is specially formatted to be readable and useable on the smaller screen of a mobile device.
Handheld devices, Mobile Devices, and handheld computers are synonyms and include both SmartPhones and PDAs.
SmartPhone: Combines computing functions with phone functions. SmartPhones connect to the Internet via phone networks or wireless networks. Examples are iPhones, Androids, and BlackBerry phones. Most SmartPhones have a proprietary method for getting apps onto the phone (such as the Apple iTunes Store, Android Marketplace, or Blackberry AppWorld).
Examples: Apple iPhone, Blackberry devices. Many other manufacturers build and market SmartPhones.
Personal Digital Assistant (PDA): A handheld computer. Does not have a phone function and typically and may or may not connect wirelessly to the Internet. PDAs are usually "synchronized" with a desktop or laptop computer when adding software or updating messages or the operating system.
Examples: Palm, a bastion of the PDA world, no longer makes a true PDA. Hewlett-Packard (HP) makes two PDAs that have the ability to use WiFi or BlueTooth to connect to the Internet via a wireless network or a cell phone, respectively.
When considering purchase, factor in the cost of the hardware, the service costs, and the cost of software. For a SmartPhone, the costs may easily reach $2,000 to $3,000 for 2 years.
Use Online Dictionary of Library and Information Science (ODLIS) to define technology terms.
There are 6 major operating systems used in Mobile Devices: