Before, it was backlighting and operator logos. Now, it’s all about applications and finding (or acting as) a WiFi hotspot. It’s official--we are well into the smartphone era!

A smartphone is a mobile device that has the capabilities of a computer. It has an operating system, applications, Web access, a QWERTY keyboard for interface, and the ability to sync with your online accounts--especially e-mail and often social networking accounts. Most smartphones in the market have touchscreens, others have keypads, and others have a combination of both.

Whether you’re new to the smartphone game or looking to replace your old unit with a newer version, here are a few tips that might come in handy when picking a mobile device.

(Photo by Dharder via Morguefile.com)

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