First Arriving Network
First Arriving Network

Morning Lineup – November 30

Friday Morning – Who's Calling?

Here we are at the end of the month, and we will finish out our Lineups much as we started back on November 2.  That was when we posted the fascinating plans developed in 1935 of the first iPad / Kindle-style book reader.  (If you missed it, go back to HERE and check it out.  It was a fun read.)  We're going to bookend the month with the news that the so-called smartphone celebrated its 20th birthday last Friday.

According to an article in it was on November 23, 1992, that IBM introduced the Simon portable phone before the term smartphone was coined.  From the article we learn:

You likely couldn't have fit it in your pocket, given that it was about the size of today's Nexus 7, but then, at 18 ounces in weight, it probably would've made you walk funny anyway. It sported a 16MHz processor, 1MB of memory and 1MB of storage. Its operating system was a variant of DOS.

Its external app ecosystem consisted of exactly one program — a PC-to-Simon texting tool called DispatchIt, which cost $3,000 for the PC software and an additional $300 for every Simon client. To be fair, however, it could do some things modern smartphones can't, like accept fax transmissions.

As primitive as Simon looks today, however, it was still recognizably a smartphone — it used an app drawer, had touch-screen input (admittedly, in monochrome and with a stylus) and was even sold via the same subsidized pricing scheme commonly used today, at $900 with a new two-year deal from BellSouth Cellular.

With the FAX capability you didn't need to type out your message, but could use the stylus to write out your note.  Pretty nifty, huh?  And as you will see in this video report, the thing still works!


It wasn't quite ready for the big-time, though.  IBM didn't know how to market it and the battery didn't last very long between charges.  So after six months it was taken off the market and sent back to the proverbial drawing board.

As I keep reminding you, nothing is new.

The same goes for firetrucks, so let's use our old checklist and get all this equipment checked out.  Someday soon we will be checking and filing these reports with an iPad instead of a clipboard.  But we'll still be drinking coffee the same way, so I'll get another pot running through the Bunn-O-Matic now.  See you back in the day room where we can compare smartphones.

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