Tech

IBM Simon: The World's First Smartphone Turns 25

Tech | Getty Images | August 16, 2019, 10:10 am
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 The world's first smartphone wasn't the thinnest ever, neither it had a curved display, nor did it come with a camera, it was rather a $900 clunky-looking device that has turned 25 today. Take a look...(Image: Getty Images)

The world's first smartphone wasn't the thinnest ever, neither it had a curved display, nor did it come with a camera, it was rather a $900 clunky-looking device that has turned 25 today. Take a look...(Image: Getty Images)

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 Developed by IBM and the American cellular company BellSouth the phone was called 'Simon' because it was simple and could do almost anything you wanted. (Image: Getty Images)

Developed by IBM and the American cellular company BellSouth the phone was called 'Simon' because it was simple and could do almost anything you wanted. (Image: Getty Images)

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 Simon measures 8 x 2.5 x1.5 inches and has been described as a hip G.I. Joe Walkie Talkie. (Image: AFP)

Simon measures 8 x 2.5 x1.5 inches and has been described as a hip G.I. Joe Walkie Talkie. (Image: AFP)

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 Weighing in at a little more than a pound, the new personal communicator had a liquid crystal display (LCD) that offered a telephone keypad as well as a computer keypad. (Image: AFP)

Weighing in at a little more than a pound, the new personal communicator had a liquid crystal display (LCD) that offered a telephone keypad as well as a computer keypad. (Image: AFP)

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 Unveiled in November 1992, Simon was the first PDA (Personal Digital Assistant) device to utilise cellular technology. Simon was introduced in 1994 by BellSouth Cellular and was designed and built by IBM. (Image: AFP)

Unveiled in November 1992, Simon was the first PDA (Personal Digital Assistant) device to utilise cellular technology. Simon was introduced in 1994 by BellSouth Cellular and was designed and built by IBM. (Image: AFP)

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 At a cost of $900, the Simon was a combination cellular phone/PDA that included an x86-compatible CPU, a fax modem, a PCMCIA Type II PC Card slot, 11 buil t-in programs, and a 4 1/2- by 1 1/2-inch touch-sensitive LCD screen. (Image: AFP)

At a cost of $900, the Simon was a combination cellular phone/PDA that included an x86-compatible CPU, a fax modem, a PCMCIA Type II PC Card slot, 11 buil t-in programs, and a 4 1/2- by 1 1/2-inch touch-sensitive LCD screen. (Image: AFP)

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 Simon represented the first real personal communicator because it was designed to be a cellular phone - a communications device - first, and a computer second. (Image: AFP)

Simon represented the first real personal communicator because it was designed to be a cellular phone - a communications device - first, and a computer second. (Image: AFP)

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 Simon offered standard cellular features, including a built in 9-1-1 emergency call button, last-number redial, last-10 numbers redial, address book auto-dial and roaming preference. (Image: AFP)

Simon offered standard cellular features, including a built in 9-1-1 emergency call button, last-number redial, last-10 numbers redial, address book auto-dial and roaming preference. (Image: AFP)

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 While using Simon as a personal communicator, customers could access the device's graphical user interface (GUI), which used icons and on-line help screens to make the device more user-friendly. (Image: AFP)

While using Simon as a personal communicator, customers could access the device's graphical user interface (GUI), which used icons and on-line help screens to make the device more user-friendly. (Image: AFP)

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 The phone had limited storage capabilities, which could be increased through a personal computer memory card international association (PCMCIA) slot. (Image: AFP)

The phone had limited storage capabilities, which could be increased through a personal computer memory card international association (PCMCIA) slot. (Image: AFP)

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 Only about 2000 Simons were made, the majority being returned to BellSouth and destroyed. (Image: AFP)

Only about 2000 Simons were made, the majority being returned to BellSouth and destroyed. (Image: AFP)

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