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back to article Slideshow: A History of the Smartphone in 20 Handsets

With the news that world smartphone usage total has passed the billion mark in 20 years, we present 20 of the most important smartphones from the past 20 years. From the very first devices - IBM's Simon and Nokia's Communicator - to the defining products from the major platforms - RIM's BlackBerry 5810, HP's iPaq h6315 and Palm' …

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Re: Must... resist... mustn't... post...

Ah yes, the fond memories of this forum and all the 'my N95 can do this, my N95 can do that, my N95 was doing that years ago' posts when the iPhone came out. Very entertaining.

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Bronze badge
Coat

I started about 10 years ago...

with an iPAQ 3970. That was still Compaq then. And you're right, it was a PDA, not a smartphone. But I put a GSM/GPRS sleeve on it (developed by Option) and I had a TomTom GPS mouse in my car. So it had all the functionality that modern devices had, but it was quite a bit thicker. In every meaning one of the word, because it was running Pocket PC = Windows. So Microsoft was involved and it was unstable.

And it often failed to pick up incoming calls.

But it would pick up your stress levels so when you were in a hurry, you would have to wait extra long for a GPS-fix.

And it weighed a ton so you couldn't carry it around in the pocket of a summer jacket.

But I was young then ! ! !

And people were impressed when I put that brick on the table.

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Go

Another vote for the Sony Ericsson P800/P900 range here!

Glad to see the Sony Ericsson P800 and P900 ranges made the grade here.

I had both, and they were fantastic phones - in my opinion these devices running the UIQ flavour of Symbian were the true successors to the Psion Series 5 devices, and it was such a shame that Nokia ruined Symbian by hamstringing ti with such useless UI's as their "Series <whatever>" interfaces.

Whenever I hear some revisionist tosser talking about how Apple "invented" the smartphone, I think back to my P800/P900 phones and sigh!

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Stop

Re: Another vote for the Sony Ericsson P800/P900 range here!

Shame they then went on to make the P990. One of the buggiest POS phone I have ever used. Obviously the lesson that SE took from trying to make phones more like computers was to have it crash all the time

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Happy

Samsung SPH-i500 (or SGH-i500)

Sorry. The first phone that finally got me off of dumb phones ran Palm OS and was a flip form factor. The Samsung SGH-i500. I've never bought a phone on "opening day" except for that one. Back then you had to call around to the cell phone stores to find one in stock but if they had it you didn't have to stand in line outside. I loved that phone. I was going to replace it with the next gen SPH-i500 which had more mature hardware (faster, camera, external screen, etc) but Samsung dropped Palm OS phones just before its US launch so it never came to the US officially.

Once I had gotten use to web browsing (yes, crappy as it was) and email on my phone I couldn't go back and eventually upgraded to a Treo 650 simply due to hardware needs (higher resolution screen, SD card slot, camera.) But even as I hold my iPhone 4S which is my 3rd iPhone I still miss the flip form factor of my i500.

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Devil

Pictures should have been in Chronological order with circles and arrows

Does anyone else think that this should have been done in complete chronological order, show every phone ever made and include blurbs on each phones specific technical features along with (at least) twenty seven 8 by 10 color glossy pictures with circles and arrows pointing to specific portions of the phones, all to provide dumbass patent attorneys a real guide on "Prior Art"??????????

Unfortunately this is a case of American Blind Justice and Judge Koh doesn't want to look at the rounded corners or the music/media features of phones that aren't Apple.

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Anonymous Coward

I'd forgotten how good the maps on the original iPhone looked

That's progress for you.

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Paris Hilton

What, no Danger Hiptop? aka: Where is the Paris Hilton angle?

Paris Hilton is most displeased that you forgot her phone. It even got a story in the Reg for being hacked: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2005/02/21/paris_hacked/

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WTF?

no HTC TYTNII!?!

how can you miss the TYTNII! my first toe dip into the smart phone world, touch screen, full desktop browsing (via Opera Mobile) yes it was Windows but before anyone had heard of the iPhone, these HTC devices were king of the smart phones giving Palm a good run for their money.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Htc_tytn_ii.jpg

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Innovation - where is it

I had the r380, most people at the time couldn't understand the point of it I loved it. Look at most of the phones these days, innovation appears to have vanished. Maybe the current slab form factor is perfect

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My first smartphone - Sierra Wireless voq

A curvy tri-band GSM handy with flip out qwerty keyboard, SD card memory expansion. Windows Mobile2003 but voqMail apps quite usable if not quite integrated and could even do VPN access

They didn't do W-CDMA so did not succeed in the important US home market, http://www.theregister.co.uk/2005/02/03/sierra_sued_over_voq/

Remaindered items were a eurozone bargain. Thanks expansys and other savvy importers.

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Aside from the all-in-ones

1999 deserves a shout out for the IrDA powered pairing of a Palm Vx & Nokia 8850. That combination got me addicted to mobile internet a couple of years before the PDQs, Treos and P800/900 came along.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Aside from the all-in-ones

That took me back - I remember around 2001, infrared-pairing my phone of the time (a Nokia 6210(i?)) with my Psion Series 5mx to go online. OK, it was dog-slow - it made my home Internet (56K modem) feel speedy - but no matter... I could go online with my Psion, wherever I was (woo!).

Still remember sending festive email greetings at Christmas 2001 to various folk (including my wife-to-be), from the Psion over an intermittent mobile Internet link which kept up just long enough to send short plain-text messages... how we've progressed in a decade, eh?

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Thumb Up

I had a P800. I remember it quite fondly. Definitely one of the phones that showed the way forward. The P910 continued the tradition, but then, for some reason, Sony Ericsson seemed to forget where it was going.

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7710

It's interesting that no one seems to have any love for the 7710; it was a brilliant phone but very much the red-haired stepchild of it's generation.

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Alert

O2 XDA, indeed

Far more worthy of inclusion than the flopped N-gage handsets, the first HTC Windows Mobile phone, the O2 XDA was at least as revolutionary as the first iPhone, only without the hype.

It wasn't *my* first smartphone -- I jumped aboard with the O2 XDA II. It served me well for many years. The first in a long a still running string of relevant full touch-screen phones that spelled the end of the stand-alone PDA.

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