Friday, November 30, 2012

The Smartphone Turns 20

The First Smartphone
Click to enlarge.
IBM debuted a prototype device, code named "Angler," on November, 23, 1992 at the COMDEX computer and technology trade show in Las Vegas, Nevada, United States... BellSouth executives gave the finished product its final name, "Simon Personal Communicator", before its public debut at the Wireless World Conference in November, 1993... In addition to its ability to make and receive cellular phone calls, Simon was also able to send and receive facsimiles, e-mails and cellular pages. Simon included many applications including an address book, calendar, appointment scheduler, calculator, world time clock, electronic note pad, handwritten annotations and standard and predictive stylus input screen keyboards. (1)

The Simon could be upgraded to run third party applications either by inserting a
PCMCIA card or by downloading an application to the phone's internal memory. Atlanta, Georgia-based PDA Dimensions developed "DispatchIt", the only aftermarket, third-party application developed for Simon. The DispatchIt application costs were US$2,999 for the host PC software and US$299 for each Simon software client. (2)