Pioneers in Cell Phone Advancements
Smartphones, whether Apple’s iPhone, Research in Motion’s Blackberry, or Google’s Android, seem nearly ubiquitous these days. Even today’s most basic cellphones have the ability to text message, take pictures, and play games. It is difficult to imagine a world of cell phones without these important functions, but that world might exist if it were not for some important precursors to today’s super phones.
First Text Messaging Capable Phone
Today, people across the globe send more the 4 billion text messages per day. That, however, wasn’t always the case. When text messaging first became available on mobile phones that number was more like .4 messages a day. But we can all thank Aldiscon, now known as Acision, for creating the first commercially available cellphone with text messaging capabilities. It was released on the Telia network in Sweden.
First Phone with a Camera
Today it is nearly impossible to buy a cellphone without a camera. That is why more than one billion camera phones are sold every year. For inventing the camera phone, to photograph and instantly send pictures of his newborn baby, Phillippe Kahn deserves a tip of the hat. He rigged a digital camera and a cellphone together to create the contraption. Realizing the idea was marketable, he took it to Motorola who declined. Thankfully, J-Phone in Japan took the idea and ran with it creating the J-SH04, which was the first commercially available cellphone with a camera! Within two years more than half of their subscribers were utilizing camera phones.
First Phone with Games
If you buy a smartphone today there are a plethora of apps available that enhance the user’s experience. Among them, mobile games make up a large portion of the blossoming industry. However, it wasn’t always that way. Prior to 1997, it was unheard of for a cellphone to include any type of gaming software. Nokia, however, changed the game so to speak when it released the 6110 with the mobile game Snake. This set the cellphone industry on the path of creating true multimedia devices.
Many of the features listed above plus Internet, e-mail, and the ability to download applications makes a cellphone a smartphone today. The original smartphones, however, were not nearly as flexible as today’s. Still, they were much more advanced than the average cellphone of the day. Take, for instance, IBM’s Simon, which is recognized as the first smartphone. Simon, released by BellSouth in 1993, was much more than the average mobile phone. It also had e-mail, calendar, world clock, note pad, address book, and the ability to send and receive facsimiles. This might seem tame in comparison to today’s standard set by the iPhone, but without Simon we would not likely have the thriving smartphone market we have today.