The devices that made history: fingerprint, water resistant, and other smartphone pioneers

The smartphone industry is still evolving pretty quickly and has been doing so for the past couple of years. Given the rapid evolution of hardware and software, it's often hard to remember the smartphones that first introduced a certain hardware feature.

True, most of the pioneers have kept their title for a pretty short time, as the ever- hungry competition usually caught up pretty quickly. Well, here is a concise hall of fame showing you the notable pioneers that shaped the industry.

This week, we'll be exploring the notable first in a few key areas, like processors, architecture, and RAM, highlighting the pioneers alongside which a certain notable hardware feat debuted. Next week, we'll be delving in some other pretty riveting categories, namely display and camera.

Unlike the previous installments of our "firsts" posts, today we will be highlighting the phones that were pioneers in various categories.

The first phone to come with a...

Fingerprint scanner (swipe) - Toshiba Portégé G500

Some of you may have expected another phone to star in this category, but no, it turns out that the Toshiba Portégé G500 can be regarded as the first smartphone to come with a swipe-based fingerprint scanner. This 2007 slider was running on Windows Mobile Standard 5.0, came with a single-core, 416MHz Marvell processor, 64MB of RAM, and a 2MP camera at the back.

Fingerprint scanner (touch) - Apple iPhone 5s

Although it was definitely not the first handset to come with a fingerprint scanner on board, the iPhone 5s was the first to employ a touch-based one. Such sensors have proved to be a bit more popular and having a smaller margin for error, hinting us that we will be seeing them on more and more phones in the future.

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Xenon flash - Nokia N82

Although it's not the first phone to come with a Xenon flash (the title goes to Sony Ericsson and some of its top mid-2000 devices like the K800), the first smartphone to come with a xenon flash was the Nokia N82, a noteworthy Symbian-powered Nokia device with Carl Zeiss optics and red assistance light that aids the auto-focus in low-light situations.

3D camera - HTC Evo 3D

Although it proved to be a gimmick and ultimately a flop, this HTC device allowed users to capture three-dimensional images thanks to the dual-camera setup at the back of the device. Yes, it was not the first smartphone to allow you to shoot 3D images, but it was the first globally-released one to enable both 3D image capture and 3D output via HDMI. Despite the novelties it brought to the smartphone scene, it turned out that 3D was not ripe for market success yet. 

Water resistance - Nokia 5500 Sport

Smartphone OS? Check! The Symbian (9.1) S60 3rd Edition OS on board made sure that this handset is smarter than the regular feature phones that it shared design cues with. Since it was rugged, it was also not afraid of casually taking a dip in the water. The hardware specs of this Nokia device were otherwise pretty in line with what the hardware specs that were mostly prevalent at the time - a 208x208 pixel display, a single-core ARM9 processor, and 64MB 

microSD card slot - Motorola A1000 Communicator

The first device that classifies as a smartphone and allowed its owner to put a microSD card inside was released all the way back in 2004 and was made by Motorola. The A1000 Communicator had merely 24MB of native storage, but you could enjoy up to 1GB of additional storage on this Symbian OS 7.0 handset - reportedly, 2GB microSD cards did not work with well. 



1. Saioofi

Posts: 344; Member since: May 23, 2014

No place for Samsung here *cough*cough*

6. gaming64 unregistered

You do know this smartphones are restricted to a specific category, right?

11. jroc74

Posts: 6023; Member since: Dec 30, 2010

Exactly...and pretty sure if you included all firsts Samsung would make this list. Sony, LG too. People have to realize this is a small lists of firsts.

12. tedkord

Posts: 17414; Member since: Jun 17, 2009

UFS 2.0. First and still only. Happy now?

19. waddup121 unregistered


2. ravi5695

Posts: 75; Member since: Feb 11, 2011

I miss those classic Nokia Designs... These days I can only see just rectangular slabs everywhere.. nothing else...

5. mistercarter

Posts: 360; Member since: Sep 01, 2011

Nokia has some of the best and the worst designs in mobile phones history but build quality was always awful... i remember how many headlines Nokia N76 made about its paintjob rubbing off after just a couple weeks

15. hemedans

Posts: 758; Member since: Jun 01, 2013

"build quality was always awful" i thought nokia device was built like tank and you think otherwise

23. yoosufmuneer

Posts: 1518; Member since: Feb 14, 2015

Blame Stephen EFLOP

3. DirtyDan23

Posts: 280; Member since: Aug 12, 2014


4. Japultra

Posts: 133; Member since: May 16, 2014

This line is quite confusing. "Although it's not the first handset to come with a Xenon flash, the first smartphone to come with a xenon flash was the Nokia N82"

7. gaming64 unregistered

A handset is a communications device made for your hand while a smartphone is a phone capable of running features that are more advanced than 3310-like functions

8. itsdeepak4u2000

Posts: 3718; Member since: Nov 03, 2012

I miss Nokia 5500, it was a great device.

9. RoboticEngi

Posts: 1251; Member since: Dec 03, 2014

I love how you needed to split up fingerprint scanners in swipe and touch to get apple on the list..........

10. jroc74

Posts: 6023; Member since: Dec 30, 2010 read my mind. I have been looking for a good reason why its seperated. I cant think of a good one yet. This was gonna be my post before you posted: Ok....I'm kinda confused...about the fingerprint scanner one... When did touch and swipe get a seperate distinction? Are they trying to say this is like touch and multi touch...? You do have to touch someting to swipe it... I may have answered it....they are probably looking at it like touch vs multi touch..

14. palmguy

Posts: 983; Member since: Mar 22, 2011

Apple had to be mentioned, period. It makes em happy.

13. palmguy

Posts: 983; Member since: Mar 22, 2011

1st camera phone in the states Sanyo 5300. I think Sanyo 4500 was the 1st video camera in the US. Both exclusive on Sprint.

24. yoosufmuneer

Posts: 1518; Member since: Feb 14, 2015

It should be an Apple product to make it to this list lol

16. tokuzumi

Posts: 1929; Member since: Aug 27, 2009

The Evo3d was a pile of crap phone. The Evo4G was so amazing before it, that the 3d felt like such a let down.

17. epdm2be

Posts: 824; Member since: Apr 20, 2012

to mr. Peter K.: You forgot the mention the release date of these various devices in your article.

18. Settings

Posts: 2943; Member since: Jul 02, 2014

SE K800 was considered a smartphone at it's time.

20. murron

Posts: 162; Member since: Jun 10, 2014

I have an evo 3d sitting around that I got used in good condition for $50 about two years ago lol. I could not wait to upgrade to my LG G2, that Evo had HORRIBLE battery life!

21. oozz009

Posts: 520; Member since: Jun 22, 2015

I wonder why the 64-bit on the iPhone 5s was not mentioned here?

22. jroc74

Posts: 6023; Member since: Dec 30, 2010

1. You would have to go back and do the same for the first dual core smartphone, or first smart phone to break the 1Ghz barrier. Or the first to use 16 bit chip. There are alot of firsts...this is a small list. And this is from the article: "This week, we'll be exploring the notable first in a few key areas, like processors, architecture, and RAM" 2. Apple has already been mentioned in a kinda of suspect way...but the 64 bit probably woulda been better IMO. But, according to the article.... thats for another article.

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