How did smartphones conquer the world

Smartphones are conquering the world

> Modern or shocking? A new study by the IT industry association BITKOM has shown that almost every third German owns a smartphone. There are even more among the under 30s. The high-tech device has become suitable for the masses. We are therefore looking back at the history of the smartphone.

"In just a few years, smartphones have opened up the mobile phone market and are increasingly becoming the remote controls for our lives." This is how René Schuster, member of the executive board of the IT industry association BITKOM, commented on a recent survey. The survey showed that every third German owns a smartphone. For teenagers and under 30-year-olds, it is even every second.

But when was the first smartphone available and which company brought it to market? Hardly anyone will remember it, but in 1993 the computer giant IBM presented the first smartphone: the "IBM Simon". Almost 15 years before Apple launched the iPhone. Even then, the mobile phone had a touchscreen and was equipped with an e-mail function. For that it also cost $ 899. Was that why it was forgotten?

The "Nokia 9000 Communicator", on the other hand, was somewhat more popular and was able to display HTML websites as early as 1996. For the first time it was possible to send faxes and manage addresses while on the move. Even a mobile internet connection was built in.

However, the term “smartphone” was first coined in 2000 by Ericsson's “R380”. It combined the functions of a PDA (personal digital assistant) with those of a cell phone and even fits in your pocket. This was a sensation 12 years ago.

The iPhone gained the fame of its predecessors a few years later. Just five years ago, Apple launched what was supposedly the “first smartphone” with its iPhone and triggered a boom. In 2007, the iPhone put the entire mobile communications industry into a smartphone fever and made it suitable for the masses. Although the first generation of the iPhone was far from being technically mature, the iPhone sold over six million times. At the start of sales, however, there was no way to install additional programs or apps.

The introduction of the “App Store” in March 2008 was therefore an important step into the future. The App Store enables users to customize their smartphones to suit their needs. From “Google Earth” and navigation programs to “guitar tuners” or a music recognition service, users can find almost everything they need in everyday life among the 585,000 apps - all in one small mobile device.

The iPhone became a great role model and animated Google to develop the free operating system “Android”. This was copied many times and made it possible for different manufacturers to jump on the smartphone bandwagon. Including Samsung, Nokia, HTC, Sony or Motorola. The smartphone has therefore long ceased to be an exclusive product and is affordable even for people on a tight budget. The figures confirm this: According to BITKOM, around 11.8 million smartphones were sold across Germany in 2011. This corresponds to an increase of 31 percent compared to the previous year. In contrast, sales of conventional cell phones fell by 19 percent to 15.6 million units.

The smartphone business is booming, but the functions have not yet been exhausted. Bernd Klusmann, Head of Communication Technologies at BITKOM, draws attention to future developments: There are hardly any foreseeable technical limits, because "the trend towards smaller and smaller components means that storage capacity is being expanded further," says Klusmann. "Cellular technology is also making steady progress, so that more bandwidth can be used in the future and the applications can be more diverse, for example more video, possibly 3D, constant connections with your own data in the cloud or applications in the field of augmented reality . "

Another important criterion in the future will be the operating system. "In addition, security against data loss, or against viruses and Trojans, is playing an increasing role," continues Klusmann.

The development of smartphones has been progressing steadily since their introduction and will continue to simplify our lives. It is therefore only a matter of time before each of us will own a smartphone.

Angelika Stern