Photo: Wikimedia Commons
Let’s put all these patent wars between smartphone manufacturers aside for a moment.For consumers, what really matters is the end result. Who was the first to introduce that cool feature we love so much? The ones that helped shape the mobile industry and drive even more innovation?
We decided to take a look at the phones that got there first. Today, we take all these features for granted. But just a few years ago, they were revolutionary.
We picked a bunch of common features found in smartphones today and unearthed the phones that implemented them first.
Note: There are a lot of discrepancies floating around out there, so if you think we missed something, let us know in the comments.
The black and white touchscreen IBM Simon was sold for a whopping $899 back in 1993. It even had apps: calendar, e-mail, calculator, and even some games. The Simon was way ahead of its time. It's also considered to be the first smartphone.
In addition to sporting the first touchscreen, IBM's Simon was also the first phone that could send and receive e-mails.
Most agree that the Nokia Communicator 9000 was the first phone to feature a full QWERTY keyboard. The phone's clamshell design flipped open to reveal the keyboard, complete with function keys (a fax button!) and access to basic apps like calendar and contacts.
Phones have had the ability to download mobile applications for a long time, but when it comes to the 'modern' concept of the app store, Apple was first. In 2008, it launched the App Store along with the iPhone 3G. (The original iPhone also had access to the app store.)
Since then all other platforms have followed suit.
Nope, the iPhone wasn't the first phone that could sync with iTunes. Way back in 2005 Motorola got Apple's blessing to turn the ROKR into the first phone/iPod hybrid.
Ericsson unveiled the T36 in 2000, the first phone with built-in Bluetooth. It didn't take long after that for everyone else to adopt the technology.
Kyocera's first 'visual phone' was the first consumer phone to come with a built-in camera. It was only sold in Japan, but it wasn't long before cameras became standard on all phones, not just smartphones.
Apple's ill-fated Newton PDA was actually the first device to sport a mobile web browser. Of course, it wasn't able to browse full HTML web pages on its black and white screen. But it was a start.
Later, the British company STNC developed the first full web browser for mobile devices called HitchHiker. It was later bought by Microsoft and renamed Microsoft Mobile Explorer.
While a compass has become just as standard as a GPS in smartphones, it wasn't until 2008 that one first appeared in a consumer phone. The Nokia Navigator was the world's first 'compass phone.' It even let you geo-tag photos.
While IBM's Simon was the first smartphone, the term didn't come alive until 1997 with Ericsson's GS88. The rest is history.