All the latest UK technology news, reviews and analysis

IBM Simon smartphone celebrates 20-year anniversary at Science Museum

15 Aug 2014
IBM's Simon smartphone was launched on 16 August 1984

IBM is celebrating 20 years since the launch of its Simon smartphone with a public display at the Science Museum.

The device was launched on 16 August 1994 and, although it is outdated by modern standards, it paved the way for the smartphone-dominated mobile market that now exists.

The device was the first to provide features beyond calls with its built-in software allowing for apps, such as a calendar, and the ability to read emails, and send and receive faxes.

However, the capabilities were ahead of their time and the device's time on the market was short-lived as it was withdrawn from sale after six months. The price would have been an issue too as the Simon cost $899 at launch. It also weighed a hefty 0.5kg and operated only within a 15-state network in the US.

Despite this brief foray into the mobile world, the Simon can be seen as the first ever smartphone and its impact has slowly filtered through to many of the devices millions of us now use to run our digital lives.

Science Museum curator Charlotte Connelly said that because of this, despite not being a commercial success, IBM's Simon remains an important part of the technology industry's history.

"Simon was released in 1994. In the early 1990s personal digital systems (PDAs) were all the rage. They were little devices you carried around that connected to your computer and did things like help you manage contacts and store a few documents – basically [they did] a load of things business people wanted. Then completely separately you may have had a mobile phone," she said.

"This was the first device that put both of these in the same box and, even though it wasn't a commercial success by any means, it was still the first of its kind. That's why it is so important as a part of technology's history."

The Science Museum has taken delivery of an original IBM Simon as part of its Information Age exhibition that will open on 25 October.

  • Comment  
  • Tweet  
  • Google plus  
  • Facebook  
  • LinkedIn  
  • Stumble Upon  
Dan Worth

Dan Worth is the news editor for V3 having first joined the site as a reporter in November 2009. He specialises in a raft of areas including fixed and mobile telecoms, data protection, social media and government IT. Before joining V3 Dan covered communications technology, data handling and resilience in the emergency services sector on the BAPCO Journal

View Dan's Google+ profile

More on Mobile Phones
What do you think?
blog comments powered by Disqus

Work location poll - office, remote or home?

Where do you spend most time working on your primary work device?

Popular Threads

Powered by Disqus
LG G Flex 2 hands-on review

CES 2015: LG G Flex 2 video

A closer look at LG's latest curved-screen smartphone

Updating your subscription status Loading

Get the latest news (daily or weekly) direct to your inbox with V3 newsletters.

newsletter sign-up button

Beacon technology: what are the opportunities and how does the technology work?

This paper seeks to provide education and technical insight to beacons, in addition to providing insight to Apple's iBeacon specification


Converting big data and analytics insights into results

Successful leaders are infusing analytics throughout their organisations to drive smarter decisions, enable faster actions and optimise outcomes

Technical Project Manager / Delivery Manager - Infrastructure

Technical Project Manager / Delivery Coordinator - Windows...

.NET Software Developer - C# / T-SQL - Sheffield - £45,000

.NET Software Developer - C# / T-SQL - Sheffield - £45...

.NET Developers - Sheffield - £25-45K - **NEW .NET TEAM**

.NET Developers - Sheffield - £25-45K - **NEW .NET TEAM...

.NET Technical Architects - ASP.NET MVC - Reading - £65,000

Technical Architect - ASP.NET MVC - Reading - £65,000...
To send to more than one email address, simply separate each address with a comma.