Smart Phones

SMARTPHONES were “The Future As We Saw It”.

The same thing's been reinvented so many times.
In the late 80s, “smart phones” were going to be “the next big thing”.
It was a terminal built into the phone.
They look just like Cisco VoIP terminal-phones.
The form factor was right, just not the technology implementing it.

In the lobby of the AT&T Summit Facility was a prototype data phone: a small CRT with pushbuttons on both sides (similar to ATM screens), an attached phone headset and keyboard.
It was supposed to have the building directory to let you look up someone and with a press of a button call that person and/or leave voicemail. But it rarely worked :-(
Even now, many large office buildings still list the tenants on a slate of names, or via a touch-screen only to display their floor & suite number. But no integrated messaging or phone.

These brochures are from a Connecticut company that specialized in middleware for smartphones from many vendors,
but I “saw the handwriting on the wall” and knew that web browsers would totally kill them despite the success of dedicated Teletext terminals or France's Minitel. Barely anyone remembers Project Stargate: sending USENET via satellite TV channels.
I thought smart phones was a dead end technology because I didn't foresee the explosion of wireless communications and battery powered portable computing devices. Sadly, many schools and businesses are learning that a room of PCs is expensive to maintain and they prematurely abandoned useful technology such as: BUT in a way they're being re-invented as .net and “cloud computing” where remote systems do all the computing and storage.
Even portable computing (laptops, mini-notebook computers) depend a lot on the back-end for storage when offline and compute power.

If you google for “smartphone” and you'll find cellular phones such as the RIM BlackBerry, Apple iphone, Palm Treo, Blackjack, etc. showing how the cellphone & PDA evolved and merged into a portable version.