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A brief history of smartphones

It seems as though just about everyone owns a smartphone, even though it wasn't that long ago that the technology was first introduced to the general public. With their advanced computing capabilities and other features, smartphones have quickly gained popularity. Prior to the invention of smartphones, there were several devices that were used including regular mobile phones, and PDA devices. Eventually technology was combined and the concept of the smartphone was born.

The first concepts that eventually led to the invention of the smartphone date back to the 1970s. It was not however until 1992 that IBM came up with a prototype mobile phone that incorporated PDA features. The device was demonstrated the same year at a computer industry trade show called COMDEX. In 1994, BellSouth came up with a more refined version of the phone and called it the Simon Personal Communicator. This is the first device that could really be referred to as a smartphone. The Simon Personal Communicator was able to make and receive calls, send faxes and emails, and more.

In the later part of the 1990s, many mobile phone users began carrying PDAs (personal digital assistants). Early PDAs ran on various systems such as Blackberry OS, and Palm OS. Nokia released a phone combined with a PDA in 1996. The device was called the Nokia 9000. In 1999, a smartphone was released by Qualcomm. The pdQ smartphone, as it was called, featured a Palm PDA with internet connectivity capabilities. Smartphone technology continued to advance throughout the early 2000s. These advances in technology brought about the introduction of the iPhone, the Android operating system and more.

Brief History of Smartphones


January - Steve Jobs of Apple introduces the iPhone which he refers to as a "revolutionary and magical product."

April - Gartner, a technology research company, shares that Microsoft's Windows Mobile, in the first three months of the year, has an eighteen percent share of the smartphone market.

November - Google announces that they will offer the Android operating system for free and anyone will be able to use or change it.


October - Apple announces sales of iPhones for their summer quarter, stating that they have sold 4.7 million devices, giving Apple almost thirteen percent of the smartphone market.

November - The G1, the first Android phone is launched. It features a sliding keyboard and limited touchscreen capabilities.

December - Microsoft stops Windows Mobile after realizing they cannot compete with the Android and iPhone. They then develop the Windows Phone.


January - Apple launches their first edition of the iPad which is a ten inch tablet.

February - Android phones begin to appear that feature the same full touchscreen interaction as the iPhone.

April - It is announced that Google's Android has gained slightly less than ten percent of the smartphone market in the first three months of the year.

September - Another tablet, the Samsung Galaxy is introduced. It is slightly smaller than the iPad, at seven inches.

October - Microsoft introduces their first phones running on the Windows Phone operating system. Sales are initially very low.


January - It is announced that research has shown that smartphones actually outsold personal computers in the last three months of 2010.

April - Apple takes the lead, becoming the largest smartphone vendor, and Android becomes the highest selling smartphone platform.

June - Nokia and Apple settle a multiple year dispute by signing a patent licensing agreement, and Microsoft starts demanding payments from Android phone makers, with the claim of patent infringements.

July - Android takes over forty three percent of the smartphone market in the year's second quarter.

October -According to estimates, Samsung is the largest smartphone vendor at this time.

November - Android takes over fifty percent of the smartphone market in the year's third quarter.

From 2011 to current times, smartphone technology has become even more advanced and technology continues to improve at a rapid pace. Smartphones have more features than ever before including touchscreen capabilities, GPS, cameras, and much more.

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