The first ever SmartPhone!
Special features :
- First born of a new breed
- Nice user interface
- Excellent 88 page user manual
- Connectivity package option
Weak points :
- Brick-like, huge and heavy
- No IR port
IBM Simon 88 page user guide
Simon Says Here's How
IBM Simon Intro 1994 Simon Says Hello
||In the beginning of the 21st
century, a "smartphone" is a device the size and shape of a
cellphone, sporting a large sensitive screen instead of your
regular keyboard, having internet communication features,
complete PDA functions, and of course, all of the usual
If "smartphones" are considered state-of-the art in cellphone
technologies in 2013, the first ever device of this kind dates
back to1994. Having the size and shape of a cellphone (and they
were bigger than in the 2000's), the IBM Simon, distributed by
BellSouth, replaces the usual telephone keyboard by a sensitive
screen and integrates PIM applications and data communication
Let's get back to 1994 : at that time, manufacturers are
struggling to make the "communication devices" market take off.
The most common approach was then to bring communication to what
was then state of the art in portable technology : PDAs.
Many products came out at that time : the EO Communicator, 2
Motorola products, the Marco and the Envoy, respectively running
the Newton and the MagicCap OS; the Sony Magic Link. Most of
those products were discontinued after no more than 2 years.
Most of those products featured large displays, and a notebook
oriented usability : they were basically PDAs with integrated
(radio) modems. The Simon showcases a totally different idea of
what a communicating device could be : instead of integrating a
modem in a PDA, it would integrate a PDA and a modem in a cellphone.
The user interface is pretty clear and apparently pleasant to
use. It is a charming example of a early 90's graphic interface.
I see it as mac OS 1.0 in a narrow screen : B&W icons,
background patterns and round-angles boxes populate the .
Let's face it : the Simon didn't last any longer than it's
competitors. Maybe all of them were ahead of their time, but
most likely they were all huge, heavy, and horribly expensive,
both on the purchase price side and on the communication service
Anyway, as the first actual "SmartPhone" in history, the
Simon is a very interesting machine.
|Graphic display :
||160 x 293
||Text display :
Built-in Applications :
Complete telephone abilities, phone directory, mail, calculator,
calendar, fax, note pad, file manager, sketch pad, to do list...
Open to other applications : On PCMCIA cards.
- power supply entry
- one PCMCIA type 2 port
- one IO connection port
- MobileComm Paging card
- PC connectivity kit
- Memory card 1MB or 1.8MB
- RJ-11 kit
- Battery saver / charger