Follow along as we explore how smartphone technology has evolved over the last 20 years, and how it's gone on to impact how we conduct business.
A lot of things happened back in 1992:
But amidst all of that social and political change, 1992 was also the year that IBM unveiled the very first smartphone. Fast forward two years and the device officially hit the market for a cool price of $1,100 a pop. And after only six months, it had sold over 50,000 units.
While personal cellphones have been around since the 1970’s, the creation of the smartphone excited American consumers in an entirely new way.
After all, the three decades between the first mobile phone and the first smartphone saw the advent of the modern internet. And that invention sparked the very beginning of the digital telecommunication phenomenon we see today.
So, where have we come since that historic day in 1992, and how has the invention of the smartphone gone on to influence us as humans and consumers?
Ever wonder, when did the first smartphone come out? Let’s take a walk through time and see when each revolutionary development came to be.
Motorola gave us the first-ever portable mobile device with the DynaTAC 8000X almost 40 years ago.
We’ve come a long way making technology attainable for the general public since 1983, given that Motorola’s mobile phone debut cost nearly $4,000 and weighed over a pound–not something you could slip into your pocket.
In fact, the DynaTAC 8000X was commonly called “The Brick” and only carried a battery life of 30 minutes. This phone was more status symbol than functional tool, but we wouldn’t have the phones we have now without it.
The first smartphone, created by IBM, was invented in 1992 and released for purchase in 1994. It was called the Simon Personal Communicator (SPC). While not very compact and sleek, the device still featured several elements that became staples to every smartphone that followed.
For example, the SPC was the first touchscreen phone. In addition, it had the ability to send and receive both emails and faxes. It also had a calendar, address book, and a native appointment scheduler. It even featured standard and predictive stylus input screen keyboards!
These features were different and advanced enough to deem it worthy of the title “World’s First Smartphone.”
Can you imagine a world without Gardenscapes, Candy Crush, or Merge Mansion? Prior to 1997, that was the reality.
Back then, the game Snake, by Finnish engineer Taneli Armanto, became available for Nokia 6110 phones–and the mobile gaming craze began. Snake was the perfect formula. The game was simple, challenging, and accessible for all ages.
Fast forward to the present day. Mobile gaming is now a $100 billion industry.
It wasn’t until the year 2000 that the smartphone was connected with an actual 3G network. In other words, a mobile communications standard was built to allow portable electronic devices access to the Internet wirelessly.
This upped the ante for smartphones now making things like videoconferencing and sending large email attachments possible. However, accessing the internet from your phone came with a price tag. While the price of the device had decreased to the $300 – $700 range, the cost of data wasn’t worth the squeeze for most.
One of the most influential years for smartphone evolution was 2007. It was year Steve Jobs and the team at Macworld revealed the very first iPhone. Not only was this the sleekest touch screen device to hit the market, it was also the first device that offered a full, un-watered down version of the internet. The very first iPhone gave consumers the ability to browse the web just as they would on a desktop computer.
The device was offered at a 4GB level ($499) and 8GB ($599). It boasted a battery life with 8 hours of talk time (rivaling the 1992 smartphones measly 1 hour of juice) as well as 250 hours of standby time! And while there were kinks (don’t we all remember how much easier it was to type on a blackberry vs. the original one finger at a time iPhone?) it still made a mark on the industry that lasts to this day.
And just like that, we’ve reached modern day. Since the launch of the iPhone twelve years ago, we’ve seen:
It’s safe to say that smartphones have changed the way we live our lives. Of the estimated 5 billion cellphone owners around the world, it’s estimated that at least 2.5 billion of them own a smartphone. And that number is only predicted to rise.
Now that we’ve seen how smartphones have changed the way we communicate over the last 20+ years, let’s evaluate some of the big ways smartphones have changed the way we do business:
These four changes are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to smartphones and business. With change happening so rapidly across the mobile landscape, there’s at least one thing we know for sure.
From the very first mobile device, to the first smartphone, all the way to today, one thing has stayed the same. Texting is and always will be a part of the mobile narrative. And as any text marketer knows, that’s the side of history we want to be on.
Meghan Tocci is a content strategist at SimpleTexting. When she’s not writing about SaaS, she’s trying to teach her puppy Lou how to code. So far, not so good.More Posts from Meghan Tocci
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