Apr 8, 2012

Smartphone / Touchscreen phone - Basic Patent | Original Patent | First Model

First Smartphone was introduced by IBM in 1993. It was named 'Simon personal communicator' or Simon. The press release for the same can be accessed at [1].

Designed by IBM, Simon offerred much more than voice communications. It was a wireless machine, a pager, an electronic mail device, a calendar, an appointment schedular, an address book, a calculator and a pen-based sketchpad. These add on features rendered Simon different than the basic cellular phone models at that time, and gave it the title Smartphone.

Since it had a touchscreen interface, it can very well be considered the first touchscreen phone.

Simon also offered a patented IBM technology called predictive keyboard, wherein it would predict the next alphabet to be typed by the user to form one of the known words and combination of words. This is similar to the T9 dictionary or many such features we take for granted in today's phones.

Since IBM's Simon was the first Smartphone and the first touchscreen based phone to be introduced in the market, the patent covering Simon can be considered the basic/foundation/original patent of Smartphone or a touchscreen based phone.

On searching the patents of IBM, I came across a design patent titled 'Computerized mobile telephone' Patent number: USD362252
Filing date: 2nd Nov 1993 and Issue date: 12th Sep 1995

The Drawings in the patent, as shown below, are a perfect match to IBM Simon model.

[1] http://research.microsoft.com/en-us/um/people/bibuxton/buxtoncollection/a/pdf/press%20release%201993.pdf