It was around 1985 when Samsung built its first cell phone made for in-car use, the Samsung SC-1000. It wasn't exactly a success, however, as it was plagued by quality issues. So for what was going to become the company's first hand-held cell phone, Samsung invested 2 years in research and development. Also, the company's engineers used Motorola cell phones as benchmark devices.
This paved the way for the Samsung SH-100 to materialize. It was not only Samsung's first truly mobile cell phone, but also the first hand-held cell phone designed and manufactured in South Korea. It went on sale in Samsung's homeland in 1988, just in time for the Summer Olympics. To put things into perspective, Nokia had released only three cell phones by that time - the hand-held Mobira Talkman 450 and Talkman 900, as well as the Mobira Senator.
Alas, the Samsung SH-100 didn't make much of an impact on the market as it sold between 1000 and 2000 units. On the other hand, this must have been enough for Samsung to justify continuing the development of its cell phone business. Despite the low demand, Samsung continued to release new and improved cell phone models every year.