When Did Smartphones Become Popular?

11 Min Read

Smartphones became popular in the 2000s. Though it’s hard to pinpoint the exact year it happened. Smartphones were hard to get in the past, and only a few wealthy people worldwide owned them. 

One of the main contributing factors to this popularity was competition among companies like Motorola, Apple, Nokia, and Samsung. Their drive to outperform their competitor led to huge strides in the industry.

The introduction of the iPhone in 2007, a phone that was said to be years ahead of its time, was an enormous milestone for modern smartphones. 

Why Did They Become So Popular?

Despite the fact that cell phones have been around for a long time, their popularity has grown as new features have been added. These features made smartphones function more like small computers than mere cell phones. They included:

1. Internet Access 

Access to the internet was a key factor in the popularity of smartphones. Before that, the only way to access the internet was through laptops and desktops, which wasn’t always so convenient.

Through the internet, people could get more connected around the clock. This was a big advantage for both young people looking to socialize and people in business who were now able to conduct their business 24/7, even from the comfort of their homes. 

2. Entertainment

Smartphones also play a big role in entertainment. They made it possible for people to stream TV shows, watch YouTube videos, and listen to music. They sort of combined all the avenues of modern entertainment into one. 

Smartphones also had all sorts of games available to their users. Android users had both free and paid games on the Android Market. The market was first available to users in the US and UK in 2009, then was expanded to international markets in 2010.

Then in March of 2012, Google combined its Google eBookstore, Android Market, and the Google Music Store to form the Google Play Store, where android users could have access to hundreds of thousands of games and other entertainment apps. 

3. Cost 

Once numerous companies could design and build decent smartphones, the high supply made the prices subside a bit. When the first iPhone phones hit the market, they were going for $499 for the 4GB and $599 for the 8GB. Apple sold over 100 million units between 2007 and 2011.

This was way cheaper than the previous IBM’s SPC, which retailed at $1,100, and the Motorola Dynatac 8000x going for a whopping $4,000. These were insane prices, given that they didn’t have as many features as the iPhone did. 

4. Variety 

The different companies trying to outdo each other came will all sorts of models to try and dominate the market.

The introduction of the iPhone in 2007 was a huge milestone in the right direction. It was the first modern smartphone similar to the ones we enjoy today. 

There is no one standard for people, and they all have different tastes. Even people who look for the same smartphone make are drawn to different features such as their colors, sizes, and patterns. The availability of smartphones in a wide variety also contributed to their popularity. 

5. Applications

Almost everything now has an app, from shopping, exercise, and social media platforms. Heck, there are even apps that help you keep track of your steps. Others for helping you calm down when you’re feeling stressed. 

Every business that knows what’s what has an app that you can download and install on your smartphone. For example, Apple has over 350,000 apps that iPhone users can access through their iTunes App Store.

6. Battery Life 

The early phones were vampires when it came to draining power. They lasted only for a few hours, but took around ten hours to charge. On the other hand, the first generation iPhone had an 8-hour talk time battery life, with a standby life of 250 hours. 

Prolonged battery life made it more fun to surf the net without worries about your smartphone dying. This contributed to the already growing popularity of smartphones. 

7. Portability

Lastly, portability also played an important role in their popularization. Unlike some of the previous cell phone models that were huge, in the 2000s, smartphones became smaller and easier to carry. 

A good example is Motorola’s Simon Personal Communicator (SPC), which became available to consumers in 1994.

The SPC had numerous features such as email, cellular pages, a touch screen dial pad, facsimiles, a calendar, and a calculator. However, it was heavy and shaped like a brick, which wasn’t pleasant to carry around.  

Smartphone Addiction

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Their grown popularity hasn’t had positive effects only on society at large. There are several ways in which the smartphone has negatively affected most. A good number of road accidents have been thanks to smartphone addiction. 

The two main habit-forming and dangerous use of smartphones are texting and social media. 


This is a great way of communicating and one of the highly used with estimates putting it as the number one function on smartphones. Around 88% of mobile users use text messages. 

Though it’s a popular way of communicating, its’ known to cause a lot of problems other than accidents. These include causing obsessive behaviors, social disruption, limitations, misunderstandings, sleep problems, and erosion of language skills. 

Surveys showed that a third of young people were prone to text while driving in the US alone. Addiction to texting while driving is reported to cause over 400 deaths annually in the states alone. 

Social Media and Mental Health

Another problem caused by smartphone addiction is too much social media. Many studies have shown that using social media too much may have negative effects on mental health. It causes problems such as anxiety, self-harm, depression, loneliness, and suicidal thoughts. 


  • It keeps you connected with family and friends
  • Great marketing tool
  • Quick access to research and information
  • Offers easy banking 
  • It gives you a voice in civic matters
  • Content discovery and online learning
  • Creates remote job opportunities


  • Increased usage
  • Raises self-image issues
  • Fear of missing out
  • It’s addictive
  • May lead to online bullying
  • Blurs the line between online vs. reality

Smartphones and Business

Another area in which smartphones’ popularity has been great is in the business arena. Whether you work online or in a physical office, a smartphone is always a handy tool. As an employer, supplying your employees with smartphones would be a great investment.

Some of the benefits of having smartphones at the workplace include improved customer service, increased mobility and productivity, working remotely, and constant communication with your suppliers, customers, and employees.

There are numerous business apps available for smartphone users that could increase productivity among workers.

These apps include conference apps like Zoom and Google Meet. You could also use apps such as Slack and Discord to organize your remote workers and hold group discussions via text. 

You can use apps like Trello for the distribution and collection of assignments. There is also software like TurboTax Deluxe that you can use to do your taxes from the comfort of your favorite couch. 

Smartphones have become quite popular marketing tools that can grow your business in no time when utilized properly. Mobile marketing apps don’t cost a lot, but they give you the reach that only big companies had a few years ago. 

Payment platforms such as PayPal, Skrill, and Venmo have revolutionalized how we make and receive payments.

You no longer need to visit the bank all the time or even worry about carrying cash. These apps are easy to use and a great time saver for the businessman on the move. 

However, you need to find the right balance of policy, especially when it comes to using smartphones at work.

To avoid the cost of your employees’ smartphone use going high, try enabling only features that are relevant to your business. Your service provider can help you determine the most appropriate tariffs for your business.

Calling your employees around the clock may seem like a great idea, but it’s bound to mess with productivity. Only interrupt their free hours when you’re dealing with real emergencies.

Finally, avoid legal issues by prohibiting the use of mobile phones while they’re driving. If an employee gets in trouble for using a company phone while driving, you could be liable –especially if you permit them to do so.


In conclusion, smartphones have proven to be a great tool for social and economic use. They not only connect people in business but can also be a tool for leisure and relaxation.

Once you master how to control your innate desire to stay online all day, you’ll have nothing to worry about.

The only drawback is the overuse of this wondrous tool, whose design, capability, and functionalities seem to grow with each passing year.

The time it has taken to move from 1G to 5G hasn’t been that long, and we can only imagine what the next evolution of the cell phone will be like.

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