June 29, 2007, was a historic day for the smartphone and technology world. It was the release of the very first iPhone, which had plenty of people camped out in order to buy Apple’s groundbreaking device, which– at the time — was only released with AT&T.
However, there were several smartphones before the most brilliant one came out. Let’s take a look at some of them.
There were several versions of the Palm Treo smartphone released. The very first Treo with the color screen, the Treo 300, was released during the fall of 2002 on Sprint. It was one of the first smartphones that was able to access the internet with a CDMA network, which was about as fast as dialup at the time.
The Treo revolutionized the thumb keyboard. Later versions made more use of the Palm OS operating system until Windows Mobile was available for the device. Perhaps the most popular version of the Treo was the Treo 700W, a 2005 Windows Mobile phone with a 240 x 240 pixel resolution screen. By the time the iPhone came out, the Treo had become irrelevant. Still, Palm’s groundbreaking device should be credited for helping reign in the smartphone era.
T-Mobile Pocket PC Phone
In 2002, the iPaq Pocket PC was turned into a phone. At first, only T-Mobile had the device. It was the very first Pocket PC device to be turned into a smartphone, and T-Mobile subscribers went wild for it. Mobile Tech Review noted that the Pocket PC Phone had a very good integration of cell phone/PDA functionality and that the voice quality on the phone was excellent.
However, the T-Mobile Pocket PC Phone’s screen didn’t display the full color gamut; it only displayed 4096 colors. It was a major flaw for a phone that was so advanced. This issue was definitely taken care of on future Pocket PC (which were renamed to Windows Mobile) smartphones.
The T-Mobile Sidekick came out around the same time the Pocket PC Phone did — during the fall of 2002. The Sidekick was like a miniature black and white computer (later versions were in color) that you could use to surf the internet, make phone calls, send AOL instant messages, or send emails. Once the screen swiveled out, there was a thumb keyboard.
The Sidekick resembled a bar of soap, but it was hip among celebrities and the cool urban kids. In 2004, the T-Mobile Sidekick II was released, and CNET gave it three-and-a-half stars. They liked the new color screen, the keyboard, and the software for email and instant messaging. They didn’t like the lousy camera or the fact that there was still no direct connection to a PC. As with the first Sidekick, it was also bulky.
The Motorola Q was very much like the Treo, except there was no touchscreen. It ran a lighter version of Windows Mobile, was super thin, looked super cool, and offered great voice quality (for its time). The thumb keyboard would influence future Blackberry smartphones.
The first version of the Q was announced in July of 2005 and became readily available in the United States during 2006. It had a 1.3MP rear camera for those who wanted to take snapshots they could email (they weren’t good enough to print). Unfortunately, the first Motorola Q lacked a microSD card for external storage, and it had no Wi-Fi capabilities. Still, the Q became iconic. Like most other devices, it became irrelevant after the iPhone was released in 2007.
Did you have any smartphones before 2007? If so, what was your favorite? Let us know in the comments section.
[Featured Image by Daryl Deino]