These reading passages and question sets examine the history and current state of the smart mobile phones.

A smart phone is basically a phone and computer in one. Most smart phones are capable of using all features of the Internet and most networks as if they were any other computer. The modern smart phone is touch screen based and requires very little manipulation to get the job done. Computer programs have taken a new form or life on smart phones; they are referred to as "apps" and are mostly self contained. Do you allow phones in your classroom? Does your school allow them? They can be a blessing and a curse depending on the situation.

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History of Phones Worksheet

The History of the Smart Phone

The late 1990s saw the rise in popularity of the PDA, or Personal Digital Assistant. Examples included the Palm Pilot, the Handspring, and the Apple Newton.

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History Questions Worksheet

Questions: The History of the Smartphone

Why was the Blackberry so successful?

Classroom Worksheet

Smartphones in the Classroom

More and more schools are implementing Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) programs, allowing students to use their smartphones in the classroom as a learning aid.

In the Classroom Questions Worksheet

Questions: Smartphones in the Classroom

What are some ways that students are using their smartphones positively for school?

Improving Healthcare Worksheet

Improving Healthcare

There are over 16,000 apps available which offer disease-specific, information, medication reminders and side-effect information, and communication with healthcare providers and/or insurance companies.

Improving Healthcare Questions Worksheet

Questions: Improving Healthcare

What problem in the healthcare industry could use of smartphones solve?

Debunking Myths Worksheet

Debunking Myths

Christopher J. Ferguson, Professor of Psychology at Stetson University in Florida, disagrees with a lot of the negative things that are said about smartphones.

Debunking Myths Questions Worksheet

Questions: Debunking Myths

Why did 28 scholars write a critical open letter to the World Health Organization?

Attention Span Worksheet

Attention Span

Is there a correlation between smartphone use and attention span? A recent study draws upon the results of two experiments measuring how frequently subjects used their smartphones purposely and how much they used it without any specific purpose in mind.

Attention Span Questions Worksheet

Questions: Smartphones and Attention Span

What did researchers in the referenced experiments hypothesize?

Brain Drain Worksheet

Do Smartphones Cause Brain Drain?

At the McCombs School of Business at The University of Texas, 800 subjects participated in several experiments designed to gauge whether just the presence of a smartphone can reduce our ability to concentrate.

Brain Drain Questions Worksheet

Questions: Do Smartphones Cause Brain Drain?

Participants were divided randomly into three groups. What instructions were given to each group?

Spying on You Worksheet

Is Your Smartphone Spying on You?

Companies may be tracking your movements using your smartphone's GPS capabilities. Data about where you go and what you purchase is extremely valuable to companies, because they can use this information to serve ads to their target customers - those most likely to purchase their products or services.

Spying on You Questions Worksheet

Questions: Is Your Smartphone Spying on You?

If you are concerned about your smartphone spying on you, then you can do what?

Making Teens Miserable Worksheet

Are Smartphones Making Teens Miserable?

In September 2017, psychologist Jean M. Twenge wrote an article for The Atlantic magazine called "Have Smartphones Destroyed a Generation?" It focuses on those born between 1995 and 2012, a generation that Twenge calls "iGen." Twenge says that teens are living increasingly more and more of their lives on their phones, and they are far more psychologically vulnerable than teens have ever been before.

Making Teens Miserable Question Worksheet

Questions: Are Smartphones Making Teens Miserable?

What kinds of changes have taken place in how teens socialize in the past several decades?

Selfie Phenomenon Worksheet

The Selfie Phenomenon

Personalities, pop stars, and politicians are all doing it. Selfies are even being taken in space. Japanese astronaut Aki Hoshide snapped his image at the International Space Station.

Selfie Phenomenon Questions Worksheet

Questions: The Selfie Phenomenon

What technology has given anyone and everyone the ability to take a selfie?

Processed Food Worksheet

What Do Smartphones Have in Common with Processed Food?

A recent study from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health found that teens who spent more than five hours a day in front of screens were 43% more likely to be obese.

Dangerous for Teen Health Questions Worksheet

Questions: Are Smartphones Dangerous for Teen Health?

What do the makers of processed food have in common with tech designers?

What Are Smartphones?

You have probably seen countless smartphone brands varying in size, color, and performance. However, few people know what makes a smartphone different from a standard phone.

Smartphones are portable electronic devices used for communication and Internet browsing. Although the word 'phone' is embedded in its name, it has significant computer-like characteristics allowing it to run programs, web browsers, and apps.

Join me to learn more about why smartphones are indispensable to the modern person. I will discuss the features that make smartphones smart and tell you about the technological development of smartphones and their future.

What Are They Used For?

Smartphones are used for phone functions such as calling or texting people, but they can also connect to the internet to access the world wide web. Smartphones also feature millions of applications that can connect to the internet or not.

People, especially the younger generations, cannot fathom their lives without smartphones. However, to learn to appreciate smartphones, picture yourself as an average person from the early '90s.

You would walk around carrying a map if you needed to find a new location. If you wanted to tell the time and the date, you would have to wear a watch or have a calendar. You would use a notebook, a pen, a giant camera, and a voice recording device to take notes, pictures, or record voice.

Portable phones were not mainstream at the time. Therefore, you could not communicate while on the street. Your only and most reliable way to connect with people would be through landlines, phones plugged into walls or telephone wires.

The smartphone we sometimes take for granted blends all these objects into one easy-to-handle gadget. You can go anywhere, do anything and see anyone at any time. People are not bound by time or space anymore.

Important Milestones in Smartphone History

Although smartphones have become standard, and you'll likely find one in any adult's pocket, they are a recent invention that has only been around for about 25 years. Let's discuss the beginning of smartphones and look at how they have developed in our recent history:

1994: the world's first smartphone, Simon, was created by IBM. It even made an appearance in The Net, a Sandra Bullock film from 1995.

1996: The first 'slider' or banana phone was Nokia 8110.

1999: the first smartphone you could browse the Internet with was the Nokia7110.

2006: Nokia N95, the first 5-megapixel camera on a smartphone, became available.

2007: Apple launched the first iPhone. It popularized the touchscreen.

2008: The first Android smartphone was T-Mobile G1. The first mobile apps appeared within the Apple store.

2010: the first Samsung smartphone became available in the market.

2011: smartphones officially outsold cellphones in the US, according to the IDC.

2019: Samsung Galaxy Fold was introduced.

2020: An astonishing 108-megapixel camera was offered by Samsung Galaxy S20.

How Do They Work?

Smartphones work by connecting to WiFi and cellular networks. To communicate, send and receive data, smartphones still rely on the cellular networks invented in the 1970s.

The phones have cells, and each cell has an antenna that acts as a transceiver. The antenna sends signals to the phone network and receives radio signals which become digitized. Other antenna systems are also GPS, Wi-fi, and Bluetooth.

The cellular network era of wireless communication consists of five generations of systems.

  • 1G was analog and appeared in the late '70s.
  • 2G launched in the early 1990s, and it was digital, allowing for the creation of SMS.
  • 3G appeared in the early '00s paving the way for Internet browsing and multimedia.
  • 4G came in the late '00s and made video conferencing and HD mobile TV possible. Five-time faster than 3G.
  • 5G appeared in 2019, and it is ten times faster than 4G, according to IBM.

The Future of Smartphones

Technology is ever-evolving. We can only predict the development based on what we have seen.

Here is what we can expect to see from the smartphones of the future:

  • 6G could popularize VR and AR. We expect it to become available by the end of the '20s.
  • AI would further develop facial recognition software, translation programs, and a voice-activated interface.
  • Solar energy could make chargers and batteries things of the past
  • Expandable and shrinkable phones adapt to user's needs

Final Thoughts

The smartphone has changed so much since its early beginnings. It has made our lives easier, more fun, and more engaging.

What is the next science-fiction prediction to come true? We can only assume. However, we know that innovation is rushing toward us at the speed of 6G.