Did you know that IBM made and marketed what we today as the world's first smartphone?
It was called SIMON.
Add to that list the SIMON PERSONAL COMMUNICATOR. The 8 inch tall, 2.5 inch think, 18 ounce brick was first released on August 16th, 1994 and was available through Bell South Cellular. The cellular phone sported a 16mhz 16-biyt Vadeem x86 compatible microprocessor with 1MB of storage and 1MB of RAM! It came with a charging staition and 2 NiCad batteries. The display was a monochrome, backlit 4.5" x 1.4" display. The SIMON sold a whopping 50,000 units in its lifetime and retailed for $599 with a two-year contract.
Although no one referred to it as a smartphone (that term didn't come into common use until around 1997), this device features a phone, address book, send/receive fax application, e-mail, cellular pager (pagers were still popular), calculator, stylus-sensitive notepad, ran a touchscreen interface (called Navigator) over the top of Datalight's ROM-DOS. It had a 2400-baud Hayes Compatible modem for data, and 9600 fax modem built-in.
One of the most interesting features of the SIMON had was it's ability to plug an analog phone line into it to make phone calls in areas where cellular coverage did not exist at the time.
Was this a device that was simply ahead of its time? Or was it really just not that great? Either way, the IBM SIMON goes down in history as the world's first mass-marketed smartphone!
Bruce has worked in educational technology for over 18 years and has implemented several 1:1/BYOD programs. He also has been a classroom teacher for various subjects. Bruce is the author of five books: Sands of Time, Towering Pines Volume One:Room 509, The Star of Christmas, Philadelphia Story: A Lance Carter Detective Novel and The Insider's Story: A Lance Carter Detective Novel. Follow Bruce's Novel releases by subscribing to his FREE newsletter!