World’s first smartphone maker was IBM, having launched the Simon in 1993. The IBM Simon was the first smartphone that paved the way for the smartphones of today by introducing the concept of touch screens to phones.
The World’s First Smartphone by IBM
While identifying the world’s first smartphone maker, one needs to first recognize the world’s earliest smartphone. The line of distinction between a feature phone and a smartphone is a bit blurry, here. By some people’s standards, Sidekick might be considered to be a smartphone. However, to most people, Sidekick was just a feature phone with a smart keyboard and few other cool features. For the sake of definition, it can be said that a smartphone would require to have not only keyboard function (be that on-screen or physical), but also some fundamental diital assistant features, as well. By that definition, it has to be recognized that the Simon, introduced in 1992-93, was the first smartphone, thus making IBM the world’s first smartphone maker. You may also be interested in reading First Mobile Phone Company in the world (Motorola)
The ambitious plans that IBM had for its Simon, had never really materialized. The phone was probably too advanced for the early 1990s. It had a touch screen that could be operated by a stylus and would let the user receive and send fax messages. It also had a calendar, a notepad, and an email client. The Simon was thus, undoubtedly, the first smartphone. However, unfortunately, it had to retire before gaining popularity.
First Coinage of the Term “Smartphone”
Later, Ericsson was the first brand to have actually coined the term “Smartphone”, with the launch of its GS88 in 1997. However, by all accounts, Nokia had actually beaten Ericsson to the finish-line the previous year with what many acknowledge to be the “quintessential” smartphone, namely, the Nokia 9000 Communicator. also read: World’s First Mobile Phone with Camera
Development of the Smartphone
The Nokia 9500, launched around 2001, was among the first of the Nokia smartphones to have a color screen, thus having a winning edge. In the period that followed, from the year 1996 to 2011, the Symbian OS turned out to be the leader for the world’s smartphone operating systems. Ericsson’s R380 was the first ever phone to ship with the Symbian OS, which then gained popularity throughout the world, only to be dethroned by Android much later.
Around 2001, the Blackberry OS, the Palm OS, and the Windows CE came into the scene. Palm, after releasing the Kyocera 6035, had quite a respectable place in the market during this period. The Kyocera 6035 was the fundamental form factor by which Palm’s later line continued until the arrival of WebOS.
First Smartphone IBM Simon is now 20 Years Old
It can be concluded quite definitively that the world’s first smartphone maker was IBM, the IBM Simon having observed its 20th anniversary of going on sale in August 2014. The Simon was the device that clearly paved the way for the global smartphone revolution. 20 years after being released for public sale, the IBM Simon became one of the biggest attractions at an exhibition at London’s Science Museum, exploring the amazing history of communication and information technologies.