Who invented the Smartphone? An amazing gadget that changed human life

IBM Simon

Who invented the Smartphone? Asked my grandfather when I paid the electricity bill in just a touch which he used to do after traveling for miles and waiting in the queue for hours. The changes smartphones bought in daily human lives are incredible. The younger generation might not understand the depth of it, but there is the older generation who are awestruck seeing what this small device can do every day.

What is a Smartphone definition?

In 2020 it can be defined as, “A mobile phone with high-speed internet, capacitive touchscreen, capabilities to capture & record 4K/Full-HD/HD videos & can perform almost all tasks which a person can do with his Computer or Laptop.”

From the date when the first smartphone hit the market, this gadget has become an integral part of our daily life. We have seen the fast-paced and surprising evolution of these devices in the past few years. With every newer addition, the smartphone became more usable and made our lives easier than before. Today smartphones are the must-have and are available abundantly with a wide range of features and budget ranges.

Who invented the Smartphone?

So, let’s find the answer for who made the smartphone or who invented the smartphone? The history of smartphones is almost 3 decades old and since then they have gone through a lot of changes to look like how they are now. Today the biggest names in the smartphone market are Apple and Samsung without a doubt. However, the smartphone inventor is none of these companies but is IBM.

What was the first Smartphone & what year did the first smartphone come out? [ Who Invented the Smartphone? ]

It was the year 1992 when the smartphone invented. IBM introduced their prestigious new device named the ‘Simon Personal Communicator. Considered the first smartphone, this is the device that revolutionized the daily life of humans. Until then cell phones were solely meant for making calls. But Simon made it possible to send emails and faxes along with making phone calls. With around 50,000 devices sold in the early 90s, Simon was the first-ever smartphone to hit the market. Although, not close enough to the features of smartphones available today this device was costly and had extremely low battery life.

The entry of BlackBerry [ Who Invented the Smartphone? ]

Who invented the Smartphone
BlackBerry Curve 8520
(Running on Blackberry OS 5.0)


Although IBM is the answer to the question of who invented the smartphone, the company was not successful in providing much more user-friendly portable devices in the future. The first company to ever do this and make smartphones popular is Blackberry. The company started with the launch of a portable email device in the year 1999. However, this was not considered a smartphone because it was not possible to make phone calls with it. In 2002 Blackberry launched its first-ever smartphone.

Image : BlackBerry 5810 | Who invented the Smartphone
BlackBerry 5810


The Blackberry 5810 is the first-ever device that was highly usable and started to bring in more customers. The company also introduced the famous, Qwerty keyboard which was the trend in the first few years of the 21st century. Blackberry was really successful in the market with very little competition. The devices were also of high-quality which gave them a reputation.

The iPhone era [ Who Invented the Smartphone? ]

In the year 2007, the first-ever iPhone was launched and the rest is history. The iPhones from Apple have a special shelf in the global smartphone market. Although they are criticized for their higher price tags, iPhones always manage to find a way through sales records. You might hear the answer Apple from quite a lot of people for the question who invented the smartphone. This is because the iPhones are the face of modern smartphones, and not a lot of people knew about these devices before the first iPhone was launched.

Image : iPhone (1st Generation)
Apple iPhone (1st Generation)


The first-ever iPhone model was bought by over 6 million people, which was way over the expected mark. With the launch of this device, Apple bought smartphones to a much more mainstream market. Soon after a 3G version of the same device was launched which became more popular than the previous model.

From the look to features the iPhones were appealing and whoever lay eyes on them would want one of these future devices at the time. The highly usable interface and the easy-to-touch interface made their popularity grow very quickly. The added customization with the launch of the Appstore in 2008 improved the usability of the device and more and more users wanted it to be a part of their life.

The competition from Android [ Who Invented the Smartphone? ]

Just a year after the launch of iOS devices by Apple, a new smartphone OS came to the market to compete with them. The first-ever device with this operating system was launched by HTC. With a sliding keyboard, multi-touch screen and a camera this device did turn some heads. However, iPhones continued to have their success even with the competition put forwarded by Android devices.

Image : HTC Dream
HTC Dream
(1st commercially available smartphone running on Android OS)


However, Android Operating System was found growing over the years along with iOS. This is how these Operating Systems became the most common ones in the smartphone market. When you look at the market today all we can see are numerous devices running Android and a few flagship iOS devices still having their upper hand in the market.

The unsuccessful competitors [ Who Invented the Smartphone? ]

Every smartphone users today are well aware of Android and iOS devices widely available in the market. But the more than a decade journey of these devices has seen competitions coming up from a variety of places. The biggest examples of this are Windows Mobile and Symbian from Nokia.

Image : Nokia N95
Nokia N95
(Powered by Symbian OS 9.2)


Nokia was once the leader of the global cell phone market. The company did try their hands on the smartphone market with Symbian Operating System which was a great success. When iPhones and Android devices were started to make an impact in the market, Nokia was already ruling it with their Symbian OS. However, with the added features that came with each update of iOS and Android Nokia failed to keep up with the competition and was slowly being terminated from the market.

In 2011 the last try of Nokia was collaboration with the Microsoft’s Windows Phone Operating System.

Image : Nokia Lumia 800
Nokia Lumia 800
(First smartphone running on Windows Phone 7.5 Operating System)


Nokia Lumia 800 introduced in 2011 was the first smartphone running on Windows Phone OS. Despite having superior build quality & attractive designs Lumia smartphones series failed to attract customers & the reason was lack of Applications as compared to Android & iOS. As a result in September 2013, Microsoft bought Nokia and tried to build a market for themself with their good-looking interface & their own branding for a while. However, with iOS and Android offering powerful features Microsoft failed to find the expected sales from the market and shortly discontinued. Later in 2017 Nokia brand returned to the highly competitive smartphone market with Android OS by a licensing agreement with a Finnish start-up HMD Global founded by ex-Nokia employees. [ Who Invented the Smartphone? ]

The current smartphone market & Durability

Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra
(Powered by Android 10 OS)
Apple iPhone 11 Pro
(Powered by iOS 13)

Sources (1, 2)

Today not a lot are interested to ask the question of who invented the smartphone? The devices available today don’t even resemble the first IBM Simon which came out almost 3 decades ago. The smartphone market today is huge and filled with competition from a lot of brands from around the globe. [ Who Invented the Smartphone? ]

Can a smartphone last 5 years or more ? [ Who Invented the Smartphone? ]

Image : People using smartphone
Image : People using Smartphone

Source: Photo by fauxels from Pexels

Would you like to use the old technology after 5 years? Probably your answer could be “No”. There are some reputed smartphone brands like Apple, Samsung & Nokia (If we share few names) who gives you great build quality in their phones, so we can say yes if you have a smartphone designed by any of these brands (or any other reputed brand) then it can last for 5 years or more.

But after 5 years from the date when you purchased your smartphone, technology will be way ahead & you will get a feeling like you are using a very old-aged device that doesn’t meet your current requirements. For example, five years ago (2015) it was not possible with any of the flagship smartphones to record a video in 8K resolution but in 2020 that’s easily possible with Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra. Similarly, if you see smartphones from 2015 & compare them with smartphones from 2020 then you will see a lot of changes in design & features between them. [ Who Invented the Smartphone? ]

Future of Smartphones

With a lot of Chinese brands bringing in great value for money devices, smartphones today are much more affordable (if we compare them with few years old). But durability is always a common issue that is yet to be solved with them. With advanced features including artificial intelligence and great hardware put into these small handheld devices, we can’t imagine a future without smartphones. [ Who Invented the Smartphone? ]

The world around has turned into something controlled by gadgets. Everything is becoming smart now, from watches to televisions and even footwear. With top companies trying everything to get ahead of their competitors, we can see a lot of improvements in these gadgets in the coming years.

We hope you got the answer to all of your questions like, “What is a Smartphone/Smartphone definition, History of Smartphone, Who invented the Smartphone, When Smartphone invented, What was the first Smartphone..” & many other similar ones. If you guess something we missed & should have to be included in this article then we would love to update this article.

Let us know your views in the comments section below.

Also read: Slow phone charging issues | 8 reasons and best working solutions