IBM, Ericson, Nokia and the history of the smartphone

Blog2 - IBM, Ericson, Nokia and the history of the smartphone

The smartphone has been quite an invention. A quick walk on the street or a travel in your local metro, and you see hundreds of smartphones floating around you. Eyes would be glued to such phones and fingers moving furiously. It is quite a sight!

When IBM came up with the Simon in 1994, no one quite knew what it was. Simon was supposedly the world’s first smartphone. It enabled you to make calls, send messages and emails, and even manage calendars and scheduling. At the time, it was a revelation.

That was a remarkable 13 years before the release of the first ever iPhone, which many still perceive to be the first smartphone! Simon was a moderate success, and was in the market for about six months. While it was perhaps a bit too early for the market, it began a trend that was later on picked up by electronics giants such as Ericson, Nokia and Microsoft.

ibm - IBM, Ericson, Nokia and the history of the smartphone

Nokia, the largest and most innovative electronics company at the time, came out in a couple of years with the 9000 Communicator. That was the first smartphone that featured the QWERTY keyboard, most commonly associated with Blackberry. The QWERTY would go on to become a user favorite, at least till the commercialization of the touch screen.

Gradually, over the years, manufacturers realized that smartphones were more about the software than the hardware. Symbian, the first popular OS that appeared notably in Ericson and Nokia phones, was one of the best OS’ at the time. For over a decade, it dominated the markets, till the iOS and Android came into prominence.

It is quite surprising that the rise of the smartphone to complete consumer domination happened in a mere 10 years. Till the iPhone came out, smartphones weren’t used in daily lives, just for business purposes. The rapid acceleration of usage is mind blowing to say the least!

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