What is the difference between an Android phone and a Smartphone?

Have you been thinking of mainstreaming and getting yourself a new phone, only to discover that it’s not quite as simple as you thought? There are a ton of questions and things to consider when purchasing a new phone. DON’T Panic! One of the first questions that you might ask yourself though is….

What is a Smartphone? What is an Android phone? Are all Smartphones Android phones? Are all Android phones Smartphones? Well… here are the answers to some of these questions.

What is a Smartphone?

A smartphone in a nutshell is a wireless computer that can make calls and fit in your pocket. As opposed to a basic phone that can simply send and receive messages or make and receive calls and might come with a few basic games installed a Smartphone can do these things and a whole lot more.

Smartphones can access and search the internet, give directions, take pictures, videos, social network, email, etc. and if you want it to do something else that it doesn’t come with out of the box then Smartphones have access to thousands of free applications available to download that can suite a wide range of needs.

Need a flashlight? Simply download one of the many flashlight applications and turn your phone into a flashlight!

Bored while waiting for your bus or flight to arrive? Download a free game to pass the time, or watch your favorite movie or show through Netflix.

What is an Android phone?

An Android phone is a smartphone that runs on software developed by Google and is one of the top competitors on the market for smartphones. Some could argue the best smartphones on the market use the Android Operating System to function/operate.

Are all Smartphones Android phones?

Nope. Android phones are just one of the big boys in the smartphone business. There are many types of smartphones that run on many types of Operating Systems, much like a home computer. For example if you wanted to buy a computer you could chose to by a Mac or Windows. Both types of computers use two very different operating systems or software to function but in general both allow you to complete the tasks that you want to accomplish.

At the moment some of the most popular and successful Operating Systems in this very competitive market is the Apple OS which powers the popular iPhone, Google’s Android which can be found on many different manufacturers smartphones, Microsoft’s Windows OS, and Research In Motion (RIM)’s Blackberry OS.

Are all Android phones Smartphones?

You might be able to answer this question now… Are all Android phones Smartphones? The answer is YES. All Android phones run on the powerful Android Operating System and are considered Smartphones.

So when choosing a smartphone the Operating System is one of the first puzzles to solve and will get the ball rolling towards your final choice.

If you have more questions about picking a smartphone then DON’T forget to read this Choosing a Smartphone guide with over 70 things to consider when buying a Smartphone. The guide will certainly point you in the right direction.

As far as Android phones go though.

Android phones are my FAVORITE type of smartphone on the market today. Very clean and open source allowing you to customize and tinker to your heart’s content. I love my Android phone and I think you would like Android too.

If you have any questions or would like me to add something to the article don’t hesitate to leave a comment below. Thank you for reading and have a fantastic day.

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28 thoughts on “What is the difference between an Android phone and a Smartphone?”

    1. Thank you Zakar Mohammed

      Thank you for taking the time to leave a comment Zakar Mohammed. From your Comment’s Subject line it sounds like you also read my other article about what happens when you Unmount an SD card on an Android phone.

      Thanks for reading and browsing the site. I am truly glad that you like it. I hope that you will stop by again soon and read some more of its informative articles. Thanks again Zakar Mohammed, I hope that you have a fantastic day.

  1. phones
    I have now is the blackberry torch 9810 I would like to a hardware update I just don’t know that phone to get and android or a smart phone , I have been looking at the blackberry z30 and the Samsung galaxy 4 S which would you get, and what is the different between the 2
    very confuse thanks for your help

    1. Choosing a smartphone that’s best for you

      Hi Ken,

      Trying to pick the best smartphone these days can be quite a challenge, there are just so many options to choose from and not all types of smartphones are the same. I talk a little bit about what a smartphone actually is in the article above but when you think of a smartphone think of a pocket computer. If the cell phone you are buying doesn’t connect to the internet (like a computer would) then it’s probably not a smartphone. Smartphones can go online and search the internet (like a computer), can play complex games (like a computer), can download programs (like a computer), and smartphones can even do things that computers don’t usually do, like take pictures, be a flashlight, and believe or not smartphones can even make and receive telephone calls ha ha.

      There are many types of smartphones as well, which like you said can be a little confusing.

      Android phones are smartphones, Blackberry phones are considered smartphones, iPhones are smartphones, and Windows phones are smartphones. So if you asked to see a smartphone someone might show you an iPhone or an Android phone, or a Windows phone because they are all different types of smartphones. I hope that makes sense…

      Now for my opinion on types of smartphones and what one I would recommend…


      Blackberry phones are my last choice when choosing a smartphone… not that they are bad or anything, Blackberry phones have one of the best messaging/email technology in the world, it’s just that Blackberry phones seem to be targeted more towards people planning to use their phones for business purposes and in my opinion other types of smartphones have more features. So Blackberry is not what it used to be, and is my 4th choice in smartphone.


      Windows is a pretty decent operating system and windows phones had some issues when they first came out but they are pretty solid right now. Still, compared to Apples iPhone and an Android phone Windows Phones are still lacking some options making it my 3rd smartphone brand.


      You have probably heard of Apples iPhone, very user friendly, powerful, and have many features. This is one of the best types of smartphones available today.


      My favorite type of smartphone is a smartphone that runs on the Android operating system. Android phones are made by many different manufactures so instead of the iPhone which is only made by Apple you can find Android smartphones created by Samsung, HTC, LG, Motorola, Nokia, etc.

      What I recommend

      If you’re trying to decide which phone to pick between the Blackberry z30 and the Samsung Galaxy S4 then I recommend the Samsung Galaxy S4. The Galaxy S4 has better hardware in multiple areas. A bigger screen, the same or better memory options, way better camera, it has a quad-core CPU as opposed to the BB z30s duel-core, more sensors, more colors available, etc.

      I love the Samsung Galaxy S4 so much that I own one myself! And I do love it. The Samsung S4 is so awesome you can even use it as a TV, VCR, DVD, Blue-ray player remote control! It’s that awesome.

      When shopping for your new smartphone make sure to check out the prices online first. Store prices can be a little steep sometimes. Amazonwireless is a good place to start looking, and if you do choose the S4 (which I recommend) then don’t forget to invest in a good memory card to keep your information safe. I got this 32GB memory card for my phone but if you don’t take a lot of pictures or videos or don’t really download things (like games) then a 16GB micro SD card would work just as well.

      If you would like some more information about choosing a smartphone check out this guide about choosing a smartphone as it has over 70 things to consider when buying the newest and coolest smartphone on the market, it could save you a headache later.

      I hope that helps Ken, if you have any more questions then don’t hesitate to ask.  

    1. Thank you Predith

      Thank you, I always appreciate positive feedback from my readers and I am glad that you enjoyed the article. Thank you for taking the time to leave a friendly remark and if you ever have any questions about smartphones don’t hesitate to come back to the site and ask.

      Thanks again and have a fantastic day my friend.

  2. I never knew the difference
    I never knew the difference til now and read a few different web pages I didn’t quit get.. but now I know NOT all smart phones might not be that smart to get lol.

  3. Galaxy Mega vs Galaxy S4
    Hello – What are you thoughs on the Galaxy Mega vs the S4? I like to look at FB, personal email and Ebay when on break at work. I find it difficult to use my small phone to see the content and was considering upgrading to one of two I just mentioned. Do you have any helpful feedback for either of these smartphones? Thanks.

  4. Hum… Samsung Galaxy Mega Vs Samsung Galaxy S4

    I have the S4 myself and I LOVE it, so take that into consideration when reading my reply ;).

    Comparing the:

    • Displays – the Mega is certainly bigger. 6.3’’ compared to the S4 which has a display size of 5’’. BUT the S4s resolution is much sharper. The S4 has 1080 x 1920 pixels as opposed to the Mega which is 720 x 1280 pixels. Probably not too noticeable but something to consider. Oh and the S4 has Gorilla Glass which makes the screen tougher which the Mega doesn’t.
    • Size – the weight and size of phones don’t have too big of an impact on my choice when picking a cell phone because I have a big hand which can grip it well and forgive the boast but I can handle holding a heavy object for an extended period of time much less a phone… so the Mega is heavier than the S4 because its bigger 7.02oz (199g) Vs 4.59oz (130g). If you have an average size hand or smaller though some people don’t like wider phones because they can be harder to hold up to your ear and be bulky when you purchase a good protective case, like an Otterbox.
    • Battery – bigger but about the same talk time and usage. No win or lose there…
    • Camera – better on the S4… 13MP Vs the Mega’s 8MP.
    • CPU – better on the S4… Quad-core Vs Dual-core.
    • Software – a newer version of Android is available for the S4 (4.4.2 KitKat) but Samsung is pretty good about keeping their phones up to date software wise so it should be available for the Mega soon. Not a Big factor one way or the other…

    Other than those things they both look like good phones… If you have problems seeing the text or content on a smaller screen then you would probably lean more towards the Mega or one of the Galaxy Notes, like I said before though the S4 has a Sharp picture so I doubt it would be a problem.

    A cool little feature that I use at work sometimes and that I would like to mention is that both the Galaxy S4 and the Galaxy Mega allow you to control the TV with your phone, so if you have a TV in the break room at work and you don’t care for whatever channel it’s currently on guess what? You can stay seated and enjoy your meal. You just pick up your phone change the channel and you’re good to go.

    For some additional things you might want to consider when choosing and buying a cell phone check out Choosing a Smartphone: Over 70 things to know before buying a Smartphone it mentions a few things that often get overlooked when deciding on which phone to pick.

    I hope that helps Caroline. Remember that when buying a smartphone one of the BEST places to do so is online sites like Amazon. Usually it’s much more affordable and you can buy the memory cards and protective cases to go along with it. Just remember to consider these tips when buying a memory card that way you can get the best card available for whichever phone you pick. Oh yeah and both the S4 and the Mega allow an External memory card up to 64GB in size.

    Don’t forget to let me know what phone you end up choosing Caroline, and if you have any more questions then don’t hesitate to ask.

    1. Thank you very much

      Thank you very much for your response I believe I will be going with the 4. I do have another gyration.

      Does the type of phone have anything to do with the quality/amount of service received? For instance currently have a Samsung 3.2 Mega, yes its old 🙁 ) however, while camping I had great service while someone else had the s3 which showed all the bars but could not use the phone, internet etc. And we both have the exact same plan. That is my only hesitation about upgrading.

      1. What a great question

        Hi Caroline,

        First of all thank you for your reply. As far as your inquiry I WANT to say NO all cell phones are created equal when it comes to network quality BUT I can’t say that in good conscience because my experience with cell phones points to the notion that it just isn’t true. Not all cell phones are created equal. Now that doesn’t mean that there should be a HUGE difference on network service from device to device but I truly believe that the design of the phone affects the quality of service as well as its use.

        For example I know of a smartphone, not going to say the name of it other than it’s made by HTC, that has the majority of its antenna built into the back plate of the device. Which there is nothing wrong with that BUT if you remove the back plate and try to make a call you’ll find that the phone has little to no service, and if the back battery cover gets damaged or worn then you can usually expect that the phone itself will have no service and will be pretty much worthless as a phone. Most of the time this stuff seems irrelevant as long as the phone works but a good solid design helps.

        Cellular technology seems to be getting better and better though, it wasn’t even a few years ago when cell phones had external antenna, and you would think that with all the network communicating a smartphone does that it might need a couple of antennas just to function properly but when was the last time you saw a cell phone with an external antenna on it?

        Cell phone service can be a funny and debatable topic as there are many different factors that can affect the service of a cell phone not to mention that issues can be on the wireless carriers end as well. If something is not configured properly on a single telephone number then you can have the exact same phone with the exact same plan even on the exact same account have a different connection strength (pretty rare but possible, most of the configurations get done automatically by your carriers computer system).

        Even a protective carrying case can affect a cell phones service. If you had Radiophobia (a fear of radiation) and had an irrational fear of the radiation produced by a cell phone but needed a mobile phone for work and end up building a custom nuclear resistant lead-lined extra strength carrying case for your cell phone, you’re going to be upset when your cell phone doesn’t work.

        The radio waves created by your phone to carry your cell phones message or telephone conversation are going to have a hard time getting through your custom lead-lined case, much less carry the message to the closest wireless communications tower for delivery. So try to stay away from traveling salesmen who try to get you to buy lead-lined protective cell phone shielding. But I digress.

        All in all you won’t really know for sure until you give it a try. I think that you’ll like the S4 though, I know I do.

  5. Understanding Smart Phones and Android Phones
    Excellent explanation and most helpful.

  6. willing to buy a smart phone with android operating system
    hey.. can u plz help me.. i am willing to buy a smart phone with android operating system.. my range is up to Rs.10000.. i am totally confused seeing so many new android phones launched in market.. plz suggest the best in my range.. as i am a student i don’t need it for my office use..

    1. You might have to shop around a bit

      Hi Sunny,

      Glad to hear that you are thinking of buying an Android smartphone I think you will like it a lot. I can understand the confusion as there are many different things to consider when buying a smartphone and there are many different choices and phones to choose from.

      As per what I can recommend… I don’t think I would be the best person to help you choose a specific smartphone under the circumstances as I have a hard time keeping up with cell phones sold outside of the U.S. (there are just way too many) much less trying to watch the mobile market in a currency other than the U.S dollar (which unfortunately includes the rupee).

      I can however recommend some advice to keep in mind that can make choosing a smartphone easier. Check out How to choose the best smartphone; I think that it will help give you the edge that you need to choose the best smartphone for your particular needs.

  7. Thank you
    Your excellent, informative, easy-to-understand post has saved me from utter confusion. Thank you so much for giving me my first map of this bewildering terrain. The answers you’ve given in the comments section have been equally illuminating and are equally appreciated. I’ve decided to get an android instead of an iPhone and to help me make my choice I’m now heading off to that other post you referenced here. Hopefully, it will guide me to a cheap(er) solution that will fit my small palm and offer easy to use voice to text functionality which is the draw of the android for me. Thanks again!

  8. Q: Samsung Galaxy Note 3 vs. S4
    Hello I’d like to purchase a Samsung Galaxy Note 3 via Tmobil. Being that it is $750+ In South Florida market, I want the best I can buy for Business. Is the S4 better functionality? I use a stand so the size won’t be a big issue, although fashion trend has not kept up, like women’s cargo pants pockets are way too small etc. I simply want the best Smartphone, because I plan to keep it 3 years. Thank you.

    1. A: It’s mostly a matter of preference

      Hi Karizma,

      Finding the best smartphone for the best price can be challenging sometimes but between the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 and the Samsung Galaxy S4 you’re not going to see too much of a difference in functionality.

      Both phones are going be great choices in my opinion. For those two specific phones you’re mostly going to be looking at the actual size of the phones themselves. The Samsung Galaxy Note is kind of a hybrid between a cell phone and a tablet and some people find that handling the Samsung Note series of smartphones can be a bit of a challenge especially if you happen to have a smaller hand.

      I’ve had people say that they absolutely love the Note and that they love the size and I’ve heard people say the exact opposite saying that it’s too big to handle properly. So for those two phones it’s a lot about your preferences and handling the device. You may want to consider (if possible) going down to the store and handling both phones in person to get a feel for the size of each device. When handling the phones try to imagine the phone in a protective case as investing in a case will increase the size of the phone as well. This way you can get a feel for what you’re getting into.

      It might depend on what you plan on using the phone for as well. If you are going to use it for business and are primarily going to use it to make and receive calls then the Samsung Galaxy S4 may be the best choice. If you plan on using the phone to demonstrate things visually (you mentioned using a stand) or perhaps even give presentations then the Samsung Galaxy Note may be the better of the two options.

      Either choice is a good one my friend and I hope that this helps to answer your questions.

  9. Informative
    Now I understand the differences between a smartphone and an android phone thanks a lot.

  10. I want to thank you…
    Hi JB,
    I want to thank you for a clear, concise, informative article. I’m also wowed by your responsive answers to questions by posters. This is the 1st time I’ve run across your articles. Hope to see more from you. Impressive. Thanks!

  11. Android phone
    Hi there, I am sending this from Tasmania (large island off the Australian coast). I have been reading the questions/answers and feel I have learned a lot from this. I am nearly 70 years old and a friend has given me his LG G4 phone but has left a lot of his stuff on it. I want to reset it but not sure how to go about it. I have read about a soft/hard reset but I am not sure what this means. I really would value your opinion. I am very impressed with the quickness of your answers and information so hope you can help me over here.

    Cheers, Janine

  12. I am still clueless.
    I am still clueless. I have a phone but I have no idea if it is a smartphone.

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