The World’s First Smartphone Turns 20

The IBM Simon, the world's first smartphone

Meet Simon, the world’s first ever smartphone by IBM

With smartphones being practically glued to everyone’s hands, it’s hard to think of time when they didn’t exist. But it’s only been 20 years since the creation of the first smartphone to be precise. The smartphone legacy begins with a mobile phone named Simon and it was a USD 900 (approx. Rs. 54,000) phone from IBM.

It had touch support with a stylus, a green LCD display, fax and calendar features and just 1MB RAM and 1MB storage. Simon was a hefty phone that weighed over half a kg, but that didn’t stop 50,000 people from buying the phone. People who are in constant despair over the low battery life of their handsets would be shocked to know that IBM Simon just had a battery life of 1 hour! That being said, the phone didn’t last very long in the markets because it was way ahead of its time.

Though this phone is just 20 years old, it’s considered a fossil of mobile phone technology. Today is the 20th anniversary of the sale of the first Simon handset. Simon will go on display in October as part of a permanent exhibition on the history of communication and information technology at the Science Museum in London.

“It (The Simon) could do all the things in a PDA and it also had fax capabilities and could do email, though it had to be synched to a computer to do that. That is why we are calling it the first smartphone, even though that phrase first came along much later.” says Charlotte Connelly, content developer for the exhibition in London’s Science Museum. This humble device inspired the smartphone revolution and everything that came after.

So let’s wish Simon a happy 20th!

Tags: better photography, history, Smartphone, simon, IBM, world's first smartphone, Technology