I think you’ll agree with me that smartphones
are sneaky beasts. They live a secretive life full of things you might not know… For example,
they have a radio built into them that — gasp! — can’t be turned on! Hey, I’ve got
a smartphone that likes to play hide and seek with me. I never find it where I put it down
— or where I thought I put it down. Anyway, let’s take a sneak peek at what is known
about this mysterious creature… 1. Why smartphones are so big?
Ever since they appeared in 2007, no-keyboard smartphones have been growing steadily bigger.
Currently, the largest smartphone doesn’t even fit into your palm properly, spanning
7.3 inches — that, and it’s also folding, bringing back memories of old flip phones.
These giants of mobile world are called phablets — a mix of phones and tablets. The reason
for this growth is that smartphones are becoming our primary computing devices, pushing aside
PCs and laptops. The mobile Internet connection is getting faster, picture quality is getting
better, so now we can do all the stuff we need on our phones. And that calls for bigger
screens that would allow to work with text more easily, edit images and videos, and much
more. 2. Can you get a shock using a charging smartphone?
While charging, your phone is connected to the grid, so naturally you’d be concerned
about a chance of getting electrocuted. Don’t fret, though: unless you’re using a counterfeit
charging device, you’re 100% safe. The charger transforms the AC, or alternate current, in
the grid to direct current, or DC, which is much weaker and can’t cause any serious
damage. But if there’s some problem with the charger’s insulation, the AC might get
into the DC part of the circuit, so when you touch it, you might receive a hefty shock.
So it’s best to only use original chargers. 3. Why does the quality of sound differ so
much in headphones and in the smartphone’s speaker?
It’s all the matter of size and distance. Sound is made by air molecules bumping into
each other and going in waves from the source to your ears. The bigger the source, the stronger
it affects the air, and so the louder and clearer the sound. That’s why the tiny speaker
in your phone will never rival those huge boxes they use at concerts, or even the speaker
in your TV or laptop. Headphones, on the other hand, are small but
still manage to provide amazing sound. That’s because they produce it right into your ears,
without the need to cover long distance between your eardrums and the membrane. And that’s
why, when someone listens to music in their headphones with poor isolation, you can only
hear that annoying scraping. 4. What is planned obsolescence?
It’s no secret that electronic devices are manufactured with an expiry date in mind.
But it’s not evil corporations deliberately making them last a very short time so that
you buy new ones every year. Every part of a gadget has its own service time, and it
makes sense to take the part with the shortest life expectancy as a standard. In a smartphone,
that’s normally the battery. It has a limited number of recharge cycles, after which it
stops working. As more and more phones are made with non-removable battery, you can’t
simply replace it, so manufacturers make all other parts of the phone match the battery’s
lifetime. Speaking of which… 5. Why are there non-removable batteries at
all? Technically, there still are, but they’re
swiftly becoming history. First of all, the conventional rectangular battery made the
phone bulky and, let’s face it, quite unappealing. The larger the battery, the more juice it
has, so this design was necessary for the phone to work long hours. Secondly, the back
lid had to be made of plastic for easier removal, and it didn’t fit the new trend for metal
and glass. Some manufacturers solved the problem, but that wasn’t all yet.
Yet another issue was that an extra layer of protection for the removable battery required
additional space, and that’s a luxury, given the miniature size of a phone. With a built-in
battery, this space could be used for cool additional features, like wireless charging,
for example. And finally, the rectangle shape was only needed for easy removal. Modern batteries
can use any shape instead, and sometimes they look quite weird. Step design or L-shape are
just a few examples of that. 6. How can a smartphone not overheat without
a cooling device? PCs and laptops all have extra coolers to
keep them, well, cool. Smartphones, on the other hand, can operate without any additional
fans. Their insides are built so that they can withstand a certain range of temperatures.
If your phone doesn’t get into the environment that’s either too cold or too hot, it should
be okay even if you use it to its full potential. The phone casing is also a kind of a natural
coolant that absorbs heat from the inside and lets it go to the outside. And finally,
the smartphone parts that generate heat do it in much less copious amounts than a laptop
would. Normally, it just wouldn’t be enough to overheat a phone. But you still can, if
you try hard enough! I’d strongly recommend not doing that, though.
7. How can a compass work inside a phone if there’s a magnet in it too?
As you probably know, the speaker needs a magnet to work, and that should throw the
compass off balance. But it doesn’t happen because the phone’s compass is adjusted
to ignore everything that’s built inside the phone. Manufacturers warn, though, that
any external magnetic force can still make it go crazy, so if you bring another magnet
close to the phone, its compass will show a wrong direction. The same can happen if
you walk through the security metal detector or put your phone close to an MRI machine
(which is also ill-advised). 8. Why don’t smartphones have built-in FM
radio? Actually, they do. Every smartphone there
is on the market has a built-in radio chip that can tune in to AM and FM radio, but the
catch is that it’s locked and can’t be unlocked without the service provider’s
and manufacturer’s say-so. There’s much debate about this, and in earlier smartphones
the chip was unlocked by default, so you could listen to radio (and still can, if you buy
such a phone) as much as you wanted. Today, providers argue that consumers don’t need
or want the radio on their phones — they prefer to stream podcasts and newsfeeds from
the Internet instead. Well, what do you do to listen to music and news? Radio or the
web? Let me know down in the comments! 9. How do smartphones know how much charge
they have left? A smartphone battery has a certain voltage
range that is tested at the production stage. During these tests, engineers detect the voltage
at the battery’s maximum capacity and check it all the way down to zero. Then they convert
these numbers into percentage and program the phone to show it on its screen. This way,
the phone will know that, for example, 4.3 Volts correspond to 100%, while 2.7 Volts
are 1%. By the way, the older the battery, the sharper its charge drops to zero. If you’ve
ever seen your phone turning off while still at 4%, now you know why.
10. How come smartphones acquire a GPS signal much faster than dedicated GPS equipment?
If you have a car with a GPS navigator, you probably know how long it takes to connect
to the satellites and give you your location. If you turn on GPS on your smartphone, though,
it’ll only take a few seconds to adjust and show you where you are. It happens because
a smartphone can use different networks to help it locate itself, such as cellular or
wireless networks. Dedicated GPS equipment, on the other hand, can only rely on satellites.
So if, for some reason, all the cellular and Wi-Fi networks suddenly shut down, your phone
will take as much time to connect to GPS as your car.
And a little bonus: Why do browser pages sometimes load in a weird way, only to correct themselves
in a few moments? We’ve all seen it: you load a page on your
smartphone or PC, it first appears very strange and basic, like it would look, perhaps, in
the 1990s, and then it kinda reloads and finally appears as it should. It’s called a flash
of unstyled content, or FOUC. This happens especially when you visit the website for
the first time, so it doesn’t yet have cookies to help you load it faster. The flash is the
content of the website seen in your browser’s default styles. It appears because the browser
hasn’t managed to load the stylesheet of the website in time, but it still hurries
to deliver. Let’s thank it for that, I guess. Hey, if you learned something new today, then
give the video a like and share it with a friend! And here are some other videos I think
you’ll enjoy. Just click to the left or right, and stay on the Bright Side of life!