I consider these devices as game changers.
I’ve been a Smartphone user for a very long time- 1998 to be exact. That was before the term Smartphone existed. During these last twelve years, I’ve played with many form factors, Operating Systems and manufacturers. And of the countless devices that I have looked at, the following five are probably what I consider the best for their time.
1) Nokia 9110 Communicator – 1998
The Communicator from Nokia was nothing short of revolutionary. It was the first time that you could take an always connected computer with you everywhere. Based on an AMD CPU running at 33MHz and the GEOS Operating System, the Communicator allowed me to send and receive faxes while being mobile. Yes, you read that right.
2) PalmOne Treo 600 – 2003
I can still remember the default ringtone on the Treo 600 and its still music to my ears. This was the first Smartphone that I fell in love with. With its 144MHz Processor, 32MB RAM and PalmOS running on a 160×160 pixel touch screen, the Treo was the phone that Steve Jobs used. In fact, I wont be surprised if the vibrate switch of the iPhone is inspired by Treo which had it all along.
3) i-mate Jam or HTC Magician – 2005
Although Windows Mobile had been out and about for a while, the i-mate Jam’s incredibly sexy form factor is what did it for many of us. The zippy 416MHz and QVGA resolution bundled with the Today screen on Windows Mobile nailed the concept of what a Smaprtphone’s quick-look screen should look like.
4) BlackBerry Bold 9000 – 2008
RIM revolutionized the concept of mobile email and messaging and I still think that the BlackBerry Bold 9000 handset is their finest to date. Although the device had its fair share or issues, it still has the best keyboard and bling that I’ve ever used in a Smartphone. If only RIM would update the Bold 9000 hardware and use a touch screen in the same exact form factor- a guaranteed formula for success.
5) iPhone 4 – 2010
You knew this was coming and like or not, Apple changed the Smartphone market with their iconic iPhone. The original iPhone was released in 2007 and its interface was revolutionary. It did take Apple a little time to open up to Apps but once they did, they created a multi-million dollar market. Every touch-screen based Smartphone is compared to the iPhone. It has become a standard.
So there you have it. These five Smartphones will always be held near and dear to me. That being said, I am really looking forward to 2011 when I think Android will find its wings and MeeGo will surprise.