The Evolution of the Smartphone: Now & Then

When the first-ever smartphone was released back in 1992, who would have imagined how the then brand-spanking-new product category would develop and evolve?

From biometric and facial recognition features, to quicker wireless connections and greater memory storage, to clear images and the ability to run a wide array of apps, the smartphone has progressed at a brisk pace over the last 25+ years.

All it takes is a look at a few of the major developments that have materialized since the first smartphone made its way into the marketplace to appreciate just how far these mini computers with telephone, email, messaging, and all sorts of other capabilities have come.

The first-ever smartphone? That distinction belongs to IBM’s Simon Personal Communicator, which was unveiled in 1992 and then made available to consumers in 1994. It came at a hefty price tag of $1,100, and 50,000 units were sold within six months of its being available.

Blackberry Used to be a Contender

Nowadays, most consumers think of the likes of Apple and Samsung when listing off the best smartphone manufacturers, but that wasn’t always the case. There was a time when Blackberry, then known as Research In Motion, was the leading name when it came to cutting-edge technology and innovation in the smartphone space. In 1999, in fact, the Waterloo, Ontario-based company announced RIM 850, a wireless handheld computer that made waves.

And Then There Was the iPhone

In early 2008, then Apple CEO Steve Jobs, a tech visionary who has since passed away, unveiled the iPhone, the smartphone brand that has captured the imagination of many millions of people. With each new model release for the ultra-popular mobile device, there is mass hysteria virtually worldwide, and this enthusiasm appears to be insatiable.

1 Billion Plateau

It was in December 2013 that smartphone shipments surpassed the 1 billion mark for the first time ever. This marked a notable development in the smartphone marketplace as it showed what pretty much everyone knows by now…the smartphone is definitely not a fad.

Yes, the evolution of smartphones has been substantial. Current models have higher powered cameras — with HD quality — than do earlier model. Other improvements in smartphones today versus smartphones of the past include better price points, better battery life, and a whole lot more apps in a wide range of categories. It’ll be interesting to see how smartphones evolve going forward.

Check out our infographic to see how smartphones have evolved over time:

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