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Do you remember when smartphones were unique and fun? – Interesting Engineering

Sure, you have seen those unremarkable glass slabs with weird camera layouts and different logos, but have you actually seen the exciting stuff? Do you remember when smartphones were unique and fun? Well, let’s get your memory refreshed. 
The first smartphone, the “Simon Personal Communicator” was invented nearly 30 years ago in 1994 by IBM. More than just a phone, the device was designed as a pocket computer, with a calculator, calendar, and an agenda- features unheard of in a handheld device until then. Oh, it also had a touchscreen. You would be right to assume that the only lousy detail about it was its name. 
Not to be left behind, industry giant Nokia released the Nokia 9000 Communicator in 1996, staking its claim for being the first phone featuring a QWERTY keyboard. This triggered other major brands to join the race, with Ericsson raising Nokia’s move with their GS88 model, and Blackberry and Motorola bringing in their incredible designs. Although these were packed with innovations, they were not perfect. One could argue that these flaws, or rather quirks, brought about a sense of character to these models. 
However, the margin for error soon vanished with the introduction of the first iPhone model in 2007. Under the leadership of Steve Jobs, Apple’s newest product would set the benchmark for the rest of the industry to follow. The iPhone had a massive touchscreen and ran on the IOS operating system. 
Desperate to catch up with Apple, manufacturers diverted their attention from releasing interesting products to ones that just worked, with a major chunk of them turning to Google and its operating system Android, in a bid to focus on the hardware end. In 2008, HTC, a Taiwanese company was the first to release an Android phone. This set the ball rolling for features such as Google Maps, Youtube, and others to be essential parts of our daily lives. Samsung further shook the market, especially the Android side of it, and set sales records with its various phones aimed at different price points. 
Over the years, traditional players such as Nokia, Sony, and HTC became shadows of their glorious selves, while new stalwarts like Xiaomi, Huawei, and Oppo gained market share. While newer, advanced features fill their models at an impressive rate, most of these phones remain drab slabs, leaving us with nothing but memories of their characterful predecessors. 


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