The Worlds First ‘Smartphone’ Turns 20
On the 16th of August 1994 the IBM Simon went on sale, it’s arguably the first ever Smartphone so happy birthday Simon.
To mark the 20th anniversary, London’s Science Museum is going to put the Simon on display in its new Information Age gallery, which will mark the major landmarks of communication innovation from the past 200 years. It’s due to open later this year, on the 25th of October.
Curator, Charlotte Connelly said “ The Simon wasn’t called a smartphone back then but it had a lot of the features we see today. It had a calendar, it could take notes and send e-mails and messages and combined all of this with a cell phone.”
It weighed a little more than phones today. At a bulky 500 grams and you couldn’t really call the Simon pocket sized. This innocuous looking device was only available in the US and sold 50,000 models but it wasn’t cheap. It cost $899 (around $1350 in today’s money), had 8 hours of standby, only one hour of usage battery life and was limited to a 15 state network. “And there was no mobile internet at the time. So it wasn’t very successful,” said Ms Connelly.
This Smartphone would be considered a brick in today’s world but 20 years ago the Simon was certainly ahead of its time. It had a screen that measured 3 inches on the diagonal with a resolution of 160×293 pixels. It featured a touch keyboard that sported a very early predictive typing algorithm and it had an icon based user interface. While the Simon may not have been a great success there is no doubt it laid the groundwork for Smartphones and some of the features like the icon based user interface are still being used today. If your looking for a more modern smartphone why not check out what we have top offer at our Chinavasion website.
You can click here learn more about the Information Age gallery at the London Science Museum.