If you’ve ever wondered what the difference is between an ordinary cell phone and a smartphone, then you’re not alone.

For an answer we turn to Scott Steinberg, editor at Digital Trends. “A smartphone is essentially a computer in your pocket,” Steinberg says. “It’s a cellular phone that does more than just make calls to the point that it can actually serve as a functional laptop or desktop replacement.”

“Like a supercharged PDA, it basically offers high-speed Internet access so that you can surf the Web, compose and receive emails, and purchase applications or third-party programs that transform the device into everything from a calculator to a calendar, and receive up to the minute news, stock, and business updates.”

According to Steinberg, smartphones commonly sell for around $99 to $199 with a two-year cell plan that includes voice and data, and offer 3G wireless access speeds. Leading service providers include AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile and Sprint. Leading handset manufacturers include Apple, Motorola, HTC, Nokia, Samsung, RIM and LG.

Despite their increasingly mainstream appeal, not everyone needs – or would want – these all-in-one devices, according to Steinberg. “Smartphones are primarily for power users or business users who have the need to stay constantly connected, receive information wherever they travel, or will be using the device for extended computing applications such as editing word documents, creating spreadsheets, or an array of third party creative applications,” he says.


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