Who was the first innovative cell phone

Touched a thousand times: This is how the mobile phone came to the touchscreen

Tap, swipe, zoom: these gestures are standard for smartphone users.

Nowadays almost everyone who buys a new cell phone expects a touch screen. For many, Apple's iPhone is a pioneer of touch-sensitive displays. But long before Steve Jobs ‘technical revolution, innovative cell phone manufacturers surprised with screens that you can touch. The consumer portal Verivox has embarked on a journey through time and, together with COMPUTER BILD, is presenting the milestones in touchscreen history.

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Pioneering work: the first mobile phone with a touchscreen


Clunky and far too expensive - that was the Bell South / IBM Simon from 1993. The American manufacturer IBM never took credit for its sensation on the mobile phone market at the time. Or does someone still remember the box-shaped device with the small antenna and the noticeably large display? This is an unrecognized milestone of the pre-smartphone era. The IBM Simon could not only do everything that a computer of the time could: send e-mails, manage data and play games. Above all, it was the first mobile phone with a real touchscreen - 14 whole years before the presentation of the iPhone.

Mini-computer: the office in your pocket


The cell phones of the 1990s offered one thing above all else: lots of buttons. The touchpad kingdom was initially dominated by so-called PDAs - personal digital assistants for managing appointments, addresses and tasks. The secret of mobile devices: their display responded to pressure and could be operated with a pen. The handy helpers remained popular until the ultimate breakthrough of modern smartphones. Manufacturers and customers continued to rely on practical PDA phones well into the new millennium, such as the MDA Compact II from T-Mobile from 2006.

Milestones in touchscreen development: Bell South / IBM Simon, Sony Ericsson P800, T-Mobile MDA Compact II

Colorful display: touchscreens also in color


But touchscreens were also gradually finding their way into cell phones. Sony Ericsson set a milestone in 2002: The P800 was the first smartphone with a color touchscreen. For that time, the brightly illuminated display with high contrast and 4,096 different colors was convincing - of course no comparison with today's color screens in precise ultra high definition.

Even if the triumphant advance of touchscreens on cell phones and smartphones could no longer be stopped: Not every user had the necessary instinct - or enough patience. For many people, using them with their bare fingers was simply unfamiliar. Many people would soon want the familiar buttons and keys of their old Nokia back.

Milestones in mobile phone history

iPhone revolution: smartphone with one button


Apple removed the last reservations about the touchscreen in 2007 with its first iPhone. Where there were buttons on other devices, there was basically only one button here - the home button. This left plenty of space for a large display that could be operated by "swiping" and touching.

Above all, the groundbreaking multi-touch technology ensured greater ease of use: the display now responded to the touch of several fingers. This made it easy to zoom in on images or scroll pages. Apple's recipe for success took off: Modern smartphones, tablets and the like have become indispensable for user interfaces that you can touch.