When Apple released the iPhone in 2007, the whole world ogled at it, and that more or less kicked off the overall smartphone revolution, as companies ditched a physical keypad for a full touchscreen. Before the iPhone, there were attempts from Nokia with their Communicator series as well as Palm and the Treo handsets, but it would be safe to suggest that the grand-daddy of them all comes in the form of the IBM Simon Personal Communicator that recently turned 20, carrying the proud distinction of being the forerunner of the modern day smartphone.
It certainly looks extremely chunky and not something that you would be caught dead using in this day and age, but two decades ago, this was deemed to be the first ‘smartphone’ in the world. Hitting the markets on the 16th of August, 1994, the IBM Simon Personal Communicator offered mobile phone technology coupled with a slew of computing features.
As an effort to celebrate its 20th anniversary, London’s Science Museum will be showing it off in its new Information Age gallery. In 1994, if your handset could take down notes, carry a digital calendar, send emails and messages, all from a smartphone, it would be deemed to be a miracle. All that capability did come at a price though, as it weighed a whopping (relatively speaking) 500 grams.