Smartphones are the new breed of mobile phones that have multiple functions similar to those you might expect from a regular computer. Apple's iPhone is the most popular example, with over 100 million handsets sold by 2011, but competitors like Samsung and Google Nexus are catching up fast. Almost every mobile phone you can buy now will have some sort of smartphone capability.

Smartphones' key benefits and features

  • Smartphones are about the same size, shape and weight as a normal mobile phone.
  • They've usually got a large amount of memory so that that they can store and carry music, photographs, videos and information.
  • Smartphones can access email and the web wherever you are, either through a portable 3G connection or through a wifi connection if one's available.
  • Smartphones have the ability to run applications known as 'apps' – computer programs that run on your phone. Apps can provide a wide range of functions, from word processors to games and foreign language translators. It's almost like having a fully functional computer in your pocket.
  • Of course, smartphones can also make and receive phone calls and text messages!
  • Smartphone costs vary a great deal, according to model and network provider. You can expect to pay between £150 and £300 on an annual contract or around £500 on a pay-as-you-go basis.