Smartphones turn 20 today! Meet first phone of the generation!


IBM Simon, World’s first ever smartphone, though it was not called thus then, debuted exactly 20 years ago, on this 16th of August in the US! It weighed half a kilo, looked like a grey slab, used a stylus to write, battery lasted just one hour and allowed drawing, writing notes, calendar updation, and could send fax when connected to an internet enabled personal computer! Most favorably received by the business community despite the prohibiting $899 cost, the phone sold over 50,000 pieces and lasted a good two years in the market.

Ericsson’s R 380 was launched in 2000, bringing in the word “smartphone” into existence also, as it was the first phone to operate using a separate Symbian operating system – first ever special OS for mobiles! Palm OS Treo of 2002 was the first ever touch screen phone with a full key board. 2003 brought BlackBerry Quark phones followed by a flurry of smartphones with features like camera, wireless technology, mp3 players etc.

The next big change was brought on by Apple’s first iPhone in 2007. This phone dropped the stylus and the key board and the input was entirely finger based! Within a year, Apple sold over 15 million iPhones. Next came other smartphones from HTC, LG, Sony and Samsung. HTC Dream was the first phone to have Google’s Android OS. Now 85% of world smartphones are Android powered!

By 2013, smartphone sales have surpassed those of basic phones. Future looks brighter and bigger for smartphones as newer apps and tech revolution are turning them into utility instruments more important than many! Happy 21st year, smartphone! Get smarter, make life even easier!

Medaram Jathara

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