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Before IPhone and Android Came Simon, the First Smartphone

Simon next to an iPhone. Looks like the physical differences between any 5- and 20-year old
Simon next to an iPhone. Looks like the physical differences between any 5- and 20-year old

In the 1995 techno thriller, The Net, Sandra Bullock plays a software programmer who unwittingly uncovers a plot to gain access to the world’s most sensitive computers. The bad guy, played by Jeremy Northam, tries to kill Bullock literally and virtually—by stealing her identity. (For a hacker, Bullock’s character is remarkably dim; when she finally catches on to what’s happening, she whines: “Our whole lives are on the computer.”) Apple gets the customary product cameo as the movie imagines a world in which ordering pizza online or accessing a database from a laptop computer in a car is commonplace.

June 28 (Bloomberg) -- Long before the smartphone revolution, IBM and BellSouth teamed up to build and sell the Simon Personal Communicator, a 1-pound, $899 mobile phone that ran apps and featured the first touch screen. It lasted just six months after being put on the market in the summer of 1994. (Source: Bloomberg)