What’s the True IQ of a Smartphone?

I am sitting here playing around on my “smart” phone, and fiddling around with the features and apps. I am thinking about the word “smart” and why these phones are considered smartphones. The definition of the word smart is as follows: having or showing a quick-witted intelligence; clever, bright . I'm thinking about each word in this definition and pondering how it actually applies to a non-human device.

Many say they are called smartphones because of the various functions they perform compared to old phones that only had calling and texting capabilities. As we all know, today's phones have calling, texting, GPS, web browsing, games, calendars, apps from Facebook, barcode scanning… the list goes on. These are all great features and we rely heavily on some of these. However, does this mean our phone is smart or just a great multitasker?

I want you to think of a friend, acquaintance, or colleague of yours. What if they locked up or went blank when you needed them most? What if they became extremely slow when you needed the most out of them? Would you consider these people unreliable? Lazy? Possibly a little dim-witted? Of course, perhaps they were able to take notes, drink a soda, and walk at the same time. Does that make them smart — or just a good multitasker?

What if we had a device that could help solve real world issues, solve engineering design problems, and help negotiate or advise on that next great deal? What if it helped decide what the best gift to buy your significant other was? What if it knew what would make them happy? These are all things that I am sure an app might try, but probably only human brain power can do. So, it's not too likely that you'll see working versions of these applications in the near future. And remember — “working” means “provides usable results.”

Should we change the name of smartphones to something like “the great multitasking assistants”? Or maybe smartphones are smart and we rely on them so much that they are draining our brains and making us less smart. What are your thoughts on this? If you're not sure, check with your phone.

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25 comments on “What’s the True IQ of a Smartphone?

  1. Netcrawl
    September 16, 2013

    Interesting topic, thanks for sharing it. Today's smartphones are getting much more sophisticated and smarter, they're now capable of doing anything from web browsing, calling, texting, doing multimedia, gaming and computing. The chips inside the smartphones are getting much more powerful, acting like a small computer.  

    Consumer market are demanding more from mobile space- they want more, they are voracious for the applications atht continually demand more and more chip power. And more and more companies are seeing the huge potential of the smartphone market, Qualcomm is making a great contribution here, by bringing some of the great innovation in smartphone's chips. Qualcomm's Snapdragon processor is a good example.        

  2. samicksha
    September 16, 2013

    You are right @Netcrawl, phones altogether are taking up new shape and height and more than phones becoming smart i guess its application making it change people are more intersted in whole new world of application store or andorid market..this is reason we are observing BYOD as new trend becoming near to mandate. But in all this what's really challenging is kepping processor speed upto their expectation.

  3. eafpres
    September 16, 2013

    @Jason–Your blog made me thing about the term “smartphone” and inspect the other half–the “phone” part.  For me, I have a smartphone, and at times it is critical that it be a phone.  But the vast majority of the time it is just a little internet terminal, keeping me connnected to my various email accounts, allowing me to clear my inboxes while waiting for something else, and if needed answer something urgent.  It also keeps my calendar, which is very important as I get older and forget to do things, I rely on my “phone”.

    We have a long way to go on the smart side of the word, though.  My “smart” phone gets confused on time zones, sends me reminders 2 hours too early for some things and late for others.  I think even a distracted teenager could probably do a better job of knowing where it is and what time it is.  My smart phone can talk as well, but I don't like talking to it.  The answers often seem like they are coming from another phrase that begins with “smart”.

  4. Netcrawl
    September 17, 2013

    Smartphones are getting more powerful and faster, Apple and Samsung are leading the pack. One of the striking things that Apple announced these past few days was that its high-end iPhone 5S smartphone was using a 64-bit processor. Apple has already claimed the title of being the world's first smartphone to use a 64-bit processor. 

  5. Netcrawl
    September 17, 2013

    Industry called it smartphones because its has a some sort of terrible computer power inside or “a smart stuff inside” today's smartphones are getting much more sophisticated, powered with quad cores processors, they are capable of everything.  

  6. Davidled
    September 17, 2013

    Smartphone is more intelligent and its price is getting down. Customer relies on smart device to google information and find out POI.  I think that battery lifetime is mainly concerned in the consumer electronic device. I wonder how Qualcomm chip handles power management to save battery life.

  7. TheMeasurementBlues
    September 17, 2013

    I finally broke down and bought myself an iPhone. It's an iPhone 4S and I bought i off eBay, used and unlocked.

    When I had my “feature” phone (Samsung SGH-T369), I changed the ringtone to a sing. To do that, I used Audacity to clip 30s of “Victory is Won,” an instrumental by Carlos Santana, used the Samsung software to transfer the mp3 clip to the phone, and using the menus, set the ringtone.

    Now, you'd think that you should be able to the the same thing with the iPhone, right? HA!

    I was able to accomplish the task, but it took two hours to figure out. First, I transferred the MP3 to the phone. Next I had to download and app (free) to create the ringtone, an m4r file. I saved the clip with the app, but it didn't appear in the ringtone list. Where was the ringtone? I tried another free app, then a third. Same problem. Where was the ringtone?

    The fourth app that I downloaded came with instructions on what to do after saving the ringtone. I had to go to iTunes and select the apps on my phone, There, I found the ringtone file assosiated with the app. Next, I had to save the ringtone to my hard drive and turn on “tones” in iTunes. Then, I transferred the ringtone back to the phone. Alas, the title of the song appreared in the rington list.

    Smart, or just Apple being Apple?

    The new ringtone is another guitar instrumental called “Toast” by Jon Clarkson. The song starts at the 5 sec mark of the video. My ringtone is the first 30 sec of guitar.

    The video is a few years old and it says to get the song from That's the old, which is where I first heard the song. the old garageband was a site where unsigned musicians could upload their work. I grabbed quite a number of songs there, but alas, the site is gone. If you go to, you get Apple's site for their Garageband software.



  8. eafpres
    September 17, 2013

    @Martin–you may have just convinced me to try and get some guitar into my ringtones.  I'm more inclined to put some riff on mine from my own guitar playing; that would be perfectly narcissistic.  But it would make me happy that Siri had to listen to that same riff of mine over and over and over.

  9. samicksha
    September 18, 2013

    any idea on , f/2.2 aperture which looks larger too, and is paired with a twin-LED flash..

  10. fasmicro
    September 18, 2013

    Very interesting piece – the IQ of a phone. Not sure it does have a lot. Most times it depends on the user as we use less than 20% of all the capabilities of these devices. Do we have self-learning phones yet? Maybe, but phones are still “dumb” when benchmarked with the homo sapiens that have the true IQ. I recorded my voice to talk to my phone – depending on my state of mind, it will understand me or not. Ask iPhone Siri – we know the IQs are still not really great.

  11. kvasan
    September 23, 2013


    Well said. 

    The 'smart' part of a phone depends on how we use it and probably 'fidle' with it. For me, the only smart thing I saw in any phone is its predictive texting capabilities. The phone learns it over a period and suggests the next word/phrase to complete the sentence. Sometimes, it could be irritating too.

  12. jkvasan
    September 23, 2013

    Well said. 

    The 'smart' part of a phone depends on how we use it and probably 'fidle' with it. For me, the only smart thing I saw in any phone is its predictive texting capabilities. The phone learns it over a period and suggests the next word/phrase to complete the sentence. Sometimes, it could be irritating too.

  13. Vishal Prajapati
    September 23, 2013

    Smart phone isn't smart untill it does some life changing tasks. The phones which are powered with performance and quad cores can't even design my PCBs or rather I would not like to do it on my smart phone. I have Samsung Galaxy Note-II which has 1.6 GHZ quad core CPU with 2 GB Ram but it doesn't even help me as much as my first computer with 256 MB of RAM and P4 32 bit processor. 

  14. Hughston
    September 23, 2013

    I think the software people that did my predictive texting were practical jokers.  The occasional nasty word would pop up and I could have sent that out.  Who would put that word ever in a predictive list?  And a couple of companies must have paid for their names to pop up all the time first on the predictive list.

  15. Davidled
    September 24, 2013

    There is lots of basic engineering tool app available except PCB design. In the future, with screen adapter cable or HDMI, smartphone screen will be porting to PC size screen. Wireless Keyboard might be used to design PCB in the smartphone.

  16. Vishal Prajapati
    September 25, 2013

    Agreed. But at this stage whatever phones are available, I don't think can be called smartphone.


    I liked the idea of Ubuntu Edge. It can be called a real smart device for sure. But it didn't happen.

  17. jkvasan
    September 25, 2013


    I am wondering if we are matching right devices for the right application. For example, a PC cannot do a job of a calling bell. Nor is it viable to build a calling bell with a processor.

    Smartphones are just that – phones first. We pump in a lot of functionality into it and expect it to do everything, I guess. Explains the case of the blackberry.

  18. jkvasan
    September 25, 2013


    Could not agree with you more. You are right. It all depends on how one customises a device to his/her application rather than expecting it to have default features. A typical example could be a multi-lingual keyboard. English keyboard is easier to implement whereas we need a bit of customisation for a keyboard in tamil, my mothertongue which has 247 letters.

  19. Vishal Prajapati
    September 25, 2013

    In that case the PHONE doesn't need Android or iOS at all. The OSes that are available with phones doesn't increase any functionality to phone calling features. It increases functionalities other than what phone should do. And for that functionalities if we are calling it a smart then expectations are obvious. It is more becoming computer with phone functionlity not phone with computer functionlity. And so are the expectations.

  20. jkvasan
    September 25, 2013


    That is exactly my point.

    The core functionality has catapulted the device from being a phone to a multi-tasking computer. I would call it a 'SMART-HUB' rather than smarphone.

  21. Brad_Albing
    September 25, 2013

    @Hughston – yep – I've had that happen too – so I learned to read carefully what I thought I'd written before hitting send.

  22. Brad_Albing
    September 25, 2013

    @VP – what was the Ubuntu Edge?

  23. Vishal Prajapati
    September 26, 2013

    Sir, Ubuntu Edge was the project appeared on the Indiegogo which has a tagline of The Ubuntu Edge is the next generation of personal computing: smartphone and desktop PC in one state-of-the-art device.


    It had a goal of $32,000,000  but was able to raise $12,814,196 so, the project has been put aside.


    Here is a link which has great information and have very nice informative video.

  24. Brad_Albing
    September 26, 2013

    @VP – thanks – good info. Let's hope they can get the project rolling next year.

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    March 17, 2020

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