This week, we celebrate 22 years since the launch of the first smartphone. That's right, 22 years. Much has changed since the IBM Simon Personal Communicator was announced on August 16, 1994. Weighing in at 500g and offering a stylus, this was the first "smart phone" for at least 50,000 people worldwide. What was your first smartphone? My first was an Android!
As with many things ahead of their time, the IBM Simon was not called a smartphone at the time of its release. But due to the fact that it combined mobility with features that only computers had at the time, the device is today considered as the world’s first smartphone.
Like the IBM Simon, my first smartphone also had a touch screen, calendar, note-taking application, the ability to send emails and messages and you could carry it with you anywhere However, instead of weighing 500g, my gadget was a lowly 164g. As you can see, there was some evolution between 1994 and 2010.
The IBM Simon, with its 500g of pure 1994 modernity
Yes, my first smartphone was purchased in 2011, and I remember I wanted an iPhone 4, but when I arrived at the shop, I found myself charmed by Android, then the price of it! If today, this type of device tends to be expensive, imagine in 1994. In an interview with BBC London, Charlotte Connelly, curator of the exhibition marking the 22nd anniversary of the IBM Simon, at the Museum of Science in London, said the device cost $899 at the time. And the suggested retail price of my first smartphone was £425.52. Not exactly cheap, either.
Besides the addition of cameras and numerous other features and software improvements, an increase in battery capacity marked a major difference between the smartphones of the 90s and 2010. IBM Simon offered only two hours of use off a single charge. Already my first smartphone lasted nine hours on 2G and up to five-and-a-half hours when on 3G. Although these are the official numbers, when I was using the device, it often made it from morning through to night, when I'd plug it in to charge before going to bed.
My first phone did not come with a stylus, but it did run on Android. It left the factory with version 2.2 Froyo and soon after received the update to Android 2.3 Gingerbread, where it stayed forever. I remember sitting with a friend who also bought the same device, and we were blown away – that was the word – with all the possibilities that our first smartphones presented to us.
My decision to buy the device, given its price, was rather irresponsible, but I really wanted it to make videos at a music festival. At the time, I was thinking of writing about the Berlin music scene for Brazilian magazines. However, I soon realized that 2011 was not the year to start using smartphones to stream videos in real time; my expectations proved far greater than what my first smartphone actually offered.
My first smartphone was an HTC Desire HD
What was your first smartphone? Let us know in the comments.