London museum to display world’s first smartphone

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IBM Simon, the first smartphone in the world, will be showcased in London’s Science Museum starting in October to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the device, according to The Drum.

Launched in August 1994, it was the first phone that came with applications and fax connectivity. It also featured a calendar, calculator, address book, world time clock, electronic notepad and appointment scheduler.

“The Simon wasn’t called a smartphone back then. But it had a lot of the features we see today. It had a calendar, it could take notes and send emails and messages and combined all of this with a cell phone,” said museum curator Charlotte Connelly.

“It looks like a grey block but it’s not as big as you’d imagine, and it had a stylus and a green LCD screen, which is similar in size to the iPhone 4.”

Although the $899 device is considered to be the world’s first smartphone due to its computational capabilities, its battery life was only one hour and its memory was only one megabyte. In comparison, the $600 iPhone allows users to talk for eight hours or surf the web for up to ten hours and has 16 gigabytes of memory.

The former was also heavier at 1.1 pounds, while the latter weighs merely 3.9 ounces.  The iPhone also has a better screen resolution of 1136 x 640 pixels, while the original smartphone had 293 x 160 pixels.

Perhaps not surprisingly, only 50,000 Simons were sold in the United States, while Apple has sold more than 500 million iPhones.

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