The ever-accelerating pace of technology tends to quickly erase our memories of the “it” gadgets we once coveted. Which makes it all the more fascinating to look back at the timeline of products that paved the way and see how far we’ve come, especially in the past 10 years, when it comes to portable, intelligent communication…
1984: Motorola DynaTAC Commonly referred to as the “Zach Morris phone,” the DynaTAC series was notable as the first cellular device that didn’t require the assistance of a base station... or Kelly Kapowski.
1994: IBM Simon This “personal communicator” was the first portable device able to receive phone calls, e-mails and faxes. And if you think the iPhone is pricey, imagine shelling out $1,100 for such a brick?
1996: Nokia 9000 Communicator This Intel-driven mini-computer boasted an impressive list of capabilities for its time. Along with e-mail and web browsing, the Nokia 9000 had—woohoo—a calendar and contacts list.
2001: Palm Kyocera 6035 Semi-disguised in popular flip-phone form, the Palm Kyocera was one of the first smartphones to really catch fire in the American market. The hybrid of cell phone and business PDA was more accessible to the general public.
2002: Blackberry 5810 In 2002, Blackberry released its first device that was both PDA and cellular phone. Pros: Scrolly ball and clicky keys. Con: The design lacked a speaker, so all phone calls were handled via headset.
2007: Apple iPhone The iPhone’s multi-touch interface, virtual keyboard and web-browsing capabilities changed game, and it’s been a top seller every since. Plus, the App Store has brought us Plants vs. Zombies, which is so much better than Snake.
2008: HTC Dream HTC released the first smartphone to run Google-owned Android software in response to Apple’s success. The similar app-based touchscreen interface has proven to be a worthy competitor of iOS and is now offered on a variety of smartphone models.
2009: Samsung Galaxy Samsung did not disappoint with the release of their Android device, the Samsung Galaxy. A superior camera and simple user functionally combine to give Apple’s bestselling iPhone some serious competition.
2010: Windows Phone Microsoft’s addition to the smartphone community is a much-improved upgrade from Windows Mobile. The hub interface is similar to Windows 8, but inspired by the Zune… so at least something good came from the Zune.
2013: Google Glass This hands-free smartphone format gives the user control via speech or built-in touchpad. Google Glass can play video, browse webpages and text message discreetly. Only problem is, on your head it looks about as cool as the DynaTAC.