Smartphone Definition for Web Designers

While some sources define a smartphone as a mobile device with an operating system that allows people to install and run applications, something more useful to Web designers would cover the device’s context of use:

  • primary input method
  • average screen size
  • Web browsing capabilities

Sounds like a mouthful but Luke Wroblewski defines Smartphone on his site this way:

  • Is palm/pocket sized: it needs to be portable so it can be used everywhere and anytime
  • Primarily operated through a touch-based user interface: hardware buttons and a physical keyboard can be present but are optional.
  • Has an average screen size of 3 to 6 inches: anything smaller makes touch-based interactions hard; anything much bigger makes it hard to transport everywhere easily.
  • Features a Web-browser with decent CSS (floats!) and Javascript support: ideally CSS3 and HTML5
  • Is used with a data plan (not just voice!)