Smartphone OS: A 22-Year History - InformationWeek
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Smartphone OS: A 22-Year History

Join us on the following pages as we explore some of the most influential smartphone companies and their operating systems. You'll learn just how far we've come since the first smartphone was released a mere 22 years ago.
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(Image: Simon via Pixabay)

(Image: Simon via Pixabay)

It's difficult to remember life without the smartphone. Younger generations often ask their elders: How did we stay in touch with friends and business colleagues/clients without email and social networks? Or: How did we ever know where we were going without Google Maps and GPS? And, my favorite: What did we do when we were sitting around, waiting for the airplane/bus/meeting/etc.?

Surprisingly enough, we did manage to get by without smartphones. Even more surprising is just how quickly the smartphone has established itself in our daily lives. One way to see just how far we've come is to look at the history of the smartphone OS itself. It's a pretty interesting journey full of ups and downs to finally arrive at where we are today. And where will the smartphone OS go from here? It's really anyone's guess.

Join us on the following pages as we explore some of the most influential smartphone companies and their operating systems. You'll learn just how far we've come since the first smartphone was released a mere 22 years ago. If you're like me, it will bring back fond memories of smartphones past. And remind you of all the smartphone operating systems you loved (or hated). It's also a good reminder of how competitive the smartphone industry was, and remains. Companies such as Palm and Nokia, which were once considered to be titans of the emerging smartphone industry, essentially crashed and burned because of which smartphone OS they chose to support.

While you enjoy this history lesson of the smartphone OS, please think about your favorite (or most hated) smartphone OS. Also, consider the current state of the smartphone OS, and what you'd like to see from your smartphone in the future. Are current trends dictating that our phones will soon be attached to our wrists in watch form? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.

Andrew has well over a decade of enterprise networking under his belt through his consulting practice, which specializes in enterprise network architectures and datacenter build-outs and prior experience at organizations such as State Farm Insurance, United Airlines and the ... View Full Bio

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SachinEE
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SachinEE,
User Rank: Ninja
3/23/2015 | 10:22:04 PM
Re: 22
@andrew: That is true. You could just switch off your phone and nobody could track you, but now, with all the smart things and connected development, you cannot just vanish from work. I hate this system.
SachinEE
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SachinEE,
User Rank: Ninja
3/23/2015 | 10:20:02 PM
Re: 22
The really heart-string pulling OS was the Symbian. People just cannot forget how Nokia brought two of the most popular OS. In my opinion even MeeGo was good, although it was slow, atleast it could have been better if Nokia really gave it a chance. Maybe they would give it now, since Nokia has been split and now the non-Lumia part of the company can use MeeGo.
jastroff
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jastroff,
User Rank: Ninja
3/18/2015 | 9:52:37 AM
Re: 22
Well done! Some of those phones tugged at my heart strings. IThe Android had the modern look early on, but after a while, they all look the same.
Kelly22
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Kelly22,
User Rank: Strategist
3/17/2015 | 11:12:40 PM
Re: 22
@Andrew it is nice to take a phone detox once in a while! I did that for a week last summer on vacation; it was refreshing to take a few days off from alerts, calls and texts. 
Andrew Froehlich
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Andrew Froehlich,
User Rank: Moderator
3/17/2015 | 9:17:52 PM
Re: Smartphone OS: A 22-Year History
@QPasha -- It is curious that we're sticking to the same general form-factor for 22 years. I personally think that there will be some sort of breakthrough which will change this...but I agree with you that a watch isn't it.
Andrew Froehlich
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Andrew Froehlich,
User Rank: Moderator
3/17/2015 | 9:16:22 PM
Re: 22
@vercan -- thanks for bringing up the Ubuntu phone. Let's see if it does better than a few of the other failed smartphone OS attempts as of late!
Ariella
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Ariella,
User Rank: Author
3/17/2015 | 9:15:56 PM
Re: 22
@Andrew Good for you! And it probably really is good for you as it shows you are not addicted to your phone the way so many people are today. I'm sure some develop withdrawal symptoms when they try to take a break. 
Andrew Froehlich
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Andrew Froehlich,
User Rank: Moderator
3/17/2015 | 9:14:22 PM
Re: 22
@Ariella - I'm right there with you. And honestly, sometimes I really do miss those pre-smartphone days. In fact, when I travel on vacation, I always make a point to go "off the grid" for at least a couple days. It really is refreshing!
QPasha
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QPasha,
User Rank: Apprentice
3/17/2015 | 9:29:41 AM
Smartphone OS: A 22-Year History
I think as human being we have limitation and we have reached it, we can make smaller cell phone but it's not practical as I said we have limitations. In the future we will see more features but the size I think will not chage to wrist watch.
vercan
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vercan,
User Rank: Apprentice
3/17/2015 | 9:24:46 AM
Re: 22
You forgot to mention the Ubuntu phone, which has already released one low end model
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