World's First Smartphone Turns 21: Revisiting the Evolution in Pictures

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"Smartphone"? What is exactly as smartphone? While there has been a lot of debate over the fact, most technology analysts believe that a phone capable of performing many a task that we are used to doing in a computer can be referred as a smartphone.

But did these present day smartphone with octa core chipsets, 4GB of RAM and so called DSLR like cameras emerge all of a sudden?

SEE ALSO: Top 10 Rumored Smartphones with 5GB RAM Expected in 2015-2016

No, rather the first smartphone popped up 21 years back - but surprisingly it was referred as a "Smartphone"! Nevertheless here a look back into the gradual development of the smartphone industry - you will surely be amazed to find out the massive changes that took place!

Stay tuned to GizBot for more updates!

The era of smartphone had dawned nearly 21 years back with the launch of the IBM's Simon Personal Communicator. Despite not being dubbed as ‘'smartphone" this IBM device was able to perform an important function we expect from our smartphone now a days - receive and deliver emails. Simon though had monochrome touchscreen, a stylus and a charging station - much like the present cordless landline phone we use in our homes.

The Finnish company entered the so called "smartphone" industry back in 1996 with their Nokia 9000 Communicator. It was 5-inch thick and 397g in weight with an outward facing dial pad, navigation keys and monochromatic display. Along the left edge, however, was a hinge which opened to a full QWERTY keyboard. There was also a physical navigation buttons flanking a much larger display.

The device boasted a Intel i386 clocked at 24MHz with a memory of 8MB - pretty meagre stats by today's standard!


Later next year in 1997, Ericsson released the GS 88 concept - also known as Penelope. Its outward appearance and design were strikingly similar to that of the 9000 Communicator. Unlike the N9000 though, it housed a touch screen with a stylus!

Unlike the previously launched device which failed to become popular in the market due to their hefty price, a company called Research In Motion came out with their first device called the BlackBerry 850. Released in 1999, it was kind of a two-way pager focused heavily on emails with a spacious keyboard. The device was followed by several different models such as the globally popular monochrome 6200 and color 7200 series.

The name sound so unfamiliar right? But how about Windows Mobile? I am sure you would familiar with it - but very few know that it was previously called the Pocket PC 2000 when it was first launched in the market. Some of the popular phone using the Pocket PC 2000 were the Hewlett-Packard (Compaq) iPAQ from 2000, HTC Universal, HTC Wallaby, Motorola Q, Motorola MPx200Samsung SPH-i700, Audiovox PPC 6600, Samsung Blackjack etc.

Nokia N series' first popular smartphone was dubbed the N95. Running the Symbian OS (Nokia's custom OS) this device had took the smartphone fraternity by storm. It was a slider device with GPS and 5MP Carl Zeiss optics camera. Nokia followed it up with a number of other device of the N series.

This was the first popular non Nokia device to sport the Symbian OS. Despite facing competition from the Palm OS, the Symbian device held its own - until the entry of the APPLE!

Danger, the subsidiary of Microsoft (2002-2010) manufactured the new device called the Danger Hiptop from their office in Palo Alto, California. The device had a QWERTY Slider hidden under the display by a slider. With support for UMTS/EDGE, MMS etc., the device gained a huge popularity worldwide and was rebranded in various names.

Apple was the first company to come up with the first smartphone in 2007 - something which we can relate to after looking at the present day device. It was the first device to feature a Capacitive Screen in place of the Resistive Touchscreen used previously - this meant that we no longer needed stylus. It ran on the first so called smart OS ‘iOS' - an invention that revolutionized the smartphone scene like never before.

In an attempt to challenge Apple, search engine giant Google had come with their own iteration of a smart OS dubbed the Android OS back in September, 2008. The HTC G1 also referred to as the Dream in some market was the first device to sport the OS. At that time the phone ran on Android Donut (Version 1)

Stay tuned to GizBot for more updates!

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