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The Smartphone is 20 years old today…woot for the birthday boy. What’s in store for the next 20 years?


The smartphone is 20 years old today, and that thing above is the original item. Happy Birthday! Released in November of 1993, the IBM Simon Personal Communicator combined a cellular phone, a PDA and a touchscreen in a brick like shape that sure wouldn’t win any design awards today. The device was based on an earlier IBM prototype called the Angler, which could not only send emails and make calls but also send and receive fax messages. How times change eh?

The original Simon was offered by BellSouth for $1099 SIM free (the equivalent of $1760 today) featured 1 MB of memory, PCMCIA card storage and weighed 510gm. Note there’s no camera of any sort.

An equivalent low end smartphone today weighs 120g, has 512MB of RAM, more storage than an original IBM mainframe computer and a camera which would blow the socks off Mr 1993 IBM Executive. All for the price of a few rounds of drinks in a local bar. What does that say for what the future holds?


In 20 years time we’ll probably see things we couldn’t even dream up, so we’re not going to try to make a guess. Instead let’s give you a quick peak at the currently imagined smartphone future, and you can decide for yourself where you think it’s going.

The Future Phone

1. Will it be transparent?

2. Will it be stretchy?

3. How about embedded?

4. Or perhaps it will hologram us with surprise?

5. There’s bound to be a wearable model or two.

6. Will the Nokia brand still be around (and running Windows?)


7. One thing’s certain, the smartphone of the future is sure to be cute.

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