Did you know: the first smartphone turns 21
The IBM Simon launched on August 16th of 1994, but it was a long way coming, as the phone was originally introduced way back in early 1992 at the COMDEX show in Las Vegas (later to be succeeded by CES).
A true 'personal communicator'The term smartphone was not widely used at the time, and the IBM Simon arrived as a ‘personal communicator’, but within a year the term smartphone appeared more widely, and it was retrospectively applied to the device.
Naturally, it was a huge phone weighing a whopping 1.12 pounds, and measuring 64 x 38mm, with a gigantic for the times 4.7-inch monochrome backlit display. The screen was also touch sensitive and could be operated with a stylus.
Here is a quick look at the specs of the IBM Simon:
- Dimensions: 64 x 38mm
- Weight: 1.12lbs (510g)
- Processor: Vadem 16MHz (16-bit) single core
- Screen: 4.7-inch (4.5 x 1.4 inches) with 60 x 293 pixels resolution
- Connectivity: 0.002Mbit/s (2400bps)
What did a smartphone look like back in 1994? Well, it did have a modem meaning always-on connectivity, and the list of built-in apps included a calendar and organizer, along with the more standard messaging and calling.
It launched with a steep price tag, though: $899, and maybe that’s what made it not all that popular as only around 50,000 units of the phone were sold.