Devices like the iPhone, Samsung Instinct, LG Dare, and various others are starting to turn our concept of what a "smartphone" is on its head. It's time to accept that our old definition is no longer valid. We should come up with a new one, one that takes into account more than just the device's features, but also what these products enable us to do. Out with the Old The old definition for smartphones is based entirely on its feature set: Smartphone are cellular-based mobile devices which utilize an operating system that allows for the addition of natively-written third-party applications and are created on a PC-like architecture This definition was once easy to establish. Smartphones were simply priced higher and did more than their conventional PDA and feature-phone cousins. From Wi-Fi access to GPS, they pretty much set the standard for what people wanted to do with mobile devices. Of course, having cutting-edge technologies also meant that many times users were the "beta tester" for something that would be rolled out at a lower price later on. Therefore, owning a smartphone became synonymous with becoming your own IT department. From simple tasks such as looking for third-party software, to more complicated ones such as updating the operating system, smartphone users had a lot of responsibility. Nevertheless, devices that were easy to use, priced right, or just feature packed -- from the BlackBerry to Palm's Treo line to the HTC Touch -- became the poster children for the smartphone. In with the New And then something happened, other devices started getting the same abilities that these vaunted smartphones had. No longer were high megapixel cameras, or even Wi-Fi and third-party applications, the sole providence of smartphones. These "lower" devices, usually running some proprietary operating system, started doing the same things that smartphones do, and at a lower price. So what makes the previous class of devices "smartphones" but not the newer ones? Hence my call for redefining what a smartphone is. Despite the similar features that can be boasted by all mobile phones, smartphones are valued because they enable connectivity across several services, usually driven by some aspect of cellular or wireless data, and do so with web browsers and other components that are fairly well advanced. My proposed new definition is this: Smartphones are mobile devices which utilize cellular and wireless software to enhance the user experience of mobile-enabled services by connecting to those services by direct ties into the operating system and hardware of the mobile device. Simple speaking, this expands the definition to not just say that a device can install a third-party application, but that application also takes advantages of hardware and software features specific to that device to enhance the mobile experience. Using this definition, we can say that devices that boast GPS-receivers are smartphones. Devices that have only Assisted-GPS receivers, though, would not be counted because all mobile devices have this, and there is usually no way for software to tap into this feature. Using this definition we can also say operating systems continue to play a part in mobile devices, but as an enabler more than a definition. Operating systems that do not allow developers to access APIs to extend mobile functionality through third-party software would have to be considered closed, and therefore devices running them would be nothing more than featurephones. Sure, its a tough definition when you look at it. But if you think about it, smartphones have always had a tight definition and focus. Within the confines of this new definition exists the ability for smartphones to once again carry that banner of innovation and forward thinking, and at the same time integrate those ideas of connectivity that the Web 2.0 movement has brought to mainstream attention. Would you favor such a change in definition? And if so, what devices would make/not-make your list?