IBM’s Simon, world’s first smart phone, is 20 years old

Most Canadians think the BlackBerry was the world’s first smart phone. Not so, according to IBM, which accords the honour to its Simon, introduced in 1994.

To mark the 20th anniversary, London’s Science Museum is putting it on display in its new Information Age gallery, the BBC reports.

We wrote about Simon in 2006, when it made number 41 of our top 50 greatest gadgets of the previous 50 years.

Simon had a relatively large screen for the time, could handle software apps, did email, had an address book and calendar and weighed a husky 500g (1.1 lb,). Only available in the U.S., IBM’s partner carrier BellSouth sold about 50,000 of them.

However, it had a fatal flaw: Only one hour of battery life. Considering only executives could afford the device, that was a big problem.

In 1994 Research In Motion (BlackBerry’s original corporate name), was about to shed its film-editing business to focus on wireless.

Howard Solomon
Howard Solomon
Currently a freelance writer, I'm the former editor of and Computing Canada. An IT journalist since 1997, I've written for several of ITWC's sister publications including and Computer Dealer News. Before that I was a staff reporter at the Calgary Herald and the Brampton (Ont.) Daily Times. I can be reached at hsolomon [@]

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