The smartphone turned 20 years old this weekend
It was finally released for sale through IBM’s partnership with BellSouth (now part of AT&T) in 1994. The Simon was available for $899 ($1,400 in 2012 dollars) on a two-year agreement within BellSouth’s 15 state network. Looking at the device by today’s smartphone standards does seem whimsical, but the fundamentals are the same, candybar form factor, touch-screen and it was a bit of a battery hog too. Before the Simon was taken off the market, the price had dropped to $599 and BellSouth sold nearly 50,000 units in six months (which is about how long many modern models last today).
Providing the power was a nickel-cadmium battery (it came with two), and processing that power was a 16MHz Vadem CPU. The Simon Personal Communicator was able to provide about one hour of talk time or less. That probably was not such a bad thing, since it weighed about 18 ounces and thus it would be a welcome break to put it on the charger for a little while.
We will not try to guess where the technology will take us over the next 20 years. Given how quickly technology has advanced in the past four years, never mind the past 20, we are certain that any guess we make would be wrong. However, the first smartphone shares much with its contemporaries even at the ripe old age of 20.
source: Red Ferret
1. mercorp (Posts: 988; Member since: 28 Jan 2012)
what?a 4.5 inch display at that
anyway,thumbs up for all users.
9. metalpoet (unregistered)
4.5 inch display and apple JUST NOW has finally gotten the idea of making their screens 4 inches, oh wow what a genious thought Apple!
13. hwaism (Posts: 10; Member since: 11 Oct 2011)
yeah.. i got my 10 inch for my phone ad.. apple so outdated right?
12. Bernoulli (Posts: 2035; Member since: 01 Sep 2012)
No kidding man, I love how my old Walkman was round corners with candy bar style, and the Walkman line up was in place long before the iphone appeared!
6. neutralguy (Posts: 1152; Member since: 30 Apr 2012)
hahahahaha. so you mean to say that this actually is a competitor to n73? :)))
24. TheOldOne (Posts: 112; Member since: 29 Mar 2012)
actually I think they got it... just that they don't like it LOL
4. Birds (Posts: 1063; Member since: 21 Nov 2011)
It surprises me how they went from making cellphones as small as possible to making the biggest screen possible...
5. blingblingthing (Posts: 470; Member since: 23 Oct 2012)
"The display was a 4.5-inch, black and white 160x293 LCD unit which allowed for input via stylus."
Input by a STYLUS? this is grounds to be added by Apple in a lawsuit guys.
8. neutralguy (Posts: 1152; Member since: 30 Apr 2012)
and calling, asha 305 and so one, not a smartphone. That's cute.
15. -box- (Posts: 3933; Member since: 04 Jan 2012)
By your logic, we may as well call any phone that can access email or the internet a smartphone, right? Then almost all most modern phones are smartphones.
17. archeryhunter1993 (Posts: 17; Member since: 09 Dec 2011)
Basically, just about any phone that can access internet on the go is a smartphone on some level.
23. neutralguy (Posts: 1152; Member since: 30 Apr 2012)
@-box- YES PLEASE. The thing is, we label smartphones depending on their specifications. But the truth is, any phone as of now is a smartphone.
@archeryhunter, you got that right.
26. -box- (Posts: 3933; Member since: 04 Jan 2012)
Perhaps, or if we differentiate between basic phones (no email/internet, no touchscreen, no physical QWERTY keyboard, candy bar or flip style body), feature/messaging phones (touchscreens &/or QWERTY keyboards, basic internet functions but no WiFi) and smartphones (all the goodies) and understand the levels, we can keep the definitions up-to-date. Much like how more advanced options and features in cars eventually trickle down to even the basic vehicles, we don't call a new basic car with multiple airbags and CD players luxury cars, but 20 years ago that would have been reserved for the high-end luxury set..
19. Troysyx (Posts: 153; Member since: 30 Jul 2012)
Wait, how's is that possible? Apple didn't make a phone twenty years ago? *he says with heavy sarcasm*
25. jroc74 (Posts: 5219; Member since: 30 Dec 2010)
I see a home and back button on screen buttons. This thing was ahead of its time. Looks like IBM is another company that doesnt get enough credit in the smartphone world.
27. bvalde09 (Posts: 174; Member since: 22 Nov 2011)
899 Plus a two year contract? Damn There must me something wrong there with whoever put the price on Bellsouth