How Smartphones Became Everyday Business Tools

As soon as the iPhone was released, smartphones quickly became essential business tools for people who needed to communicate with clients frequently, check email, and conduct business on the go. Not long after, Samsung started their own line of comparable smartphones with the Android OS.
smartphone became business tool
Today, it’s hard to find any businessperson without a smartphone, and most use them all day every day. For instance, you’ll find a slew of business owners who just got their Samsung Galaxy S24, slapped on high-quality protective case, and are using it exclusively for business.

Ever since Nokia added 3G internet access to their phones in 2001, smartphones have become an everyday business tool and it’s hard to imagine a world without them. People rely on smartphones to check and send emails, compose social media posts, take online courses, watch important videos, and manage marketing campaigns. All the tasks that once required at least a laptop are now possible on mobile devices.

Not long ago, it was common to see people using laptops to run their business and only using a smartphone when they had to leave their office. Things have shifted, but how did this happen?

For a while, the shift to smartphones was gradual, and then it seemed to solidify overnight.

It started with the convenience of email

It’s very possible that the convenience of using email on a smartphone initiated them into becoming essential business tools. Email has been an important element in business, even before it caught on for personal communications.

Before smartphones, business professionals had to physically go to their office to check their email if they didn’t work from home. That’s hardly convenient and often meant waiting to respond to clients and manage orders until the morning.

When smartphones started including email access through a real application (as opposed to 1990s and early 2000s web browsing), it was a game changer. Anyone with a phone could check their email whether they were at a friend’s house, with a client, or having dinner at a restaurant. Just the simple fact that email was easily accessible at all times from anywhere that had a signal was enough to make smartphones an essential business tool. And it continued to get even better.

Developers started building applications for smartphones

When smartphones crossed the line from phone to full-fledged pocket computer, developers saw an opportunity to step in and make applications that would specifically support business needs. Until this point, people had only been using lighter versions of familiar applications they’d normally use on desktop. The user experience was adapted for mobile, but it wasn’t ideal.

Once developers started creating apps specifically for mobile platforms from scratch, smartphones started to become more desirable to a wide range of people. People began to buy smartphones for reasons other than the novelty.

As more developers launched applications to handle a variety of tasks, the overall experience of using a smartphone got better, and businesspeople started to notice it was something they couldn’t live without. They could check their bank balance, respond to customer emails, and order supplies from anywhere they went with ease.

Today’s smartphones are nearly mini clones of desktop computers

After a couple of decades, smartphones finally became like miniature desktop computers. For example, you can now get phones that come with the same amount of RAM and data storage as a laptop or desktop computer, and the processors aren’t that different in terms of speed and power.

For people who have been using smartphones for business for years, it’s not a big deal to work on a small screen no matter the task, and rarely have to pull out a laptop just because they need more power. There are so many mobile applications today for tasks like graphic design and word processing, that using a laptop is only necessary when you need that bigger screen. Even then, many people get by without one.

Smartphones run many of today’s businesses

With the exception of web servers and equipment powering company networks, many of today’s businesses exist because of smartphones. Not everyone likes the idea of setting up a physical office even in their own home, and they just want to run a business from their pocket when it’s convenient. While that doesn’t work for every industry, it does for some, and that capability is the only reason some people started a business in the first place.

Ultimately, smartphones have evolved from being a useful tool for business owners to use on the side into a total replacement for desktop and laptop computers, and the physical office itself. This technology has come a long way and it’s exciting to see where it goes next.