Something has a pH above 9000

“Nokia 9000 Communicator” 20 years ago : The world's first smartphone cost 2,700 Deutschmarks

Now please be honest: Who is the last person to look at before going to sleep in the evening? The partner or the smartphone? Many people have an almost affectionate relationship with their cell phone, always carry it with them and quickly suffer from “nomophobia”, the fear of having forgotten their smartphone somewhere and being cut off from the rest of the world (“No Mobile Phone Phobia ").

Around three quarters of all Germans have a smartphone

In fact, the majority of Germans now have a smartphone: Around three quarters of all people in this country over the age of 14 (76 percent) use such an internet-enabled cell phone - that's 52.9 million people. Last year it was around two thirds (65 percent) and in 2012 just a little more than a third (36 percent). The numbers show how rapidly the love for smartphones has grown over the past few years.

The first smartphone cost 2,700 Deutschmarks

The anniversary will be celebrated next Monday: Exactly 20 years ago, on August 15, 1996, the first smartphone hit stores, the “Nokia 9000 Communicator”. The Finnish mobile phone manufacturer Nokia praised the device as an “office pocket-sized”, weighing around half a kilogram for the proud price of 2700 D-Marks. The fact that the fold-out “Communicator” could also send and receive faxes was highlighted as a great achievement - a technology that is now almost extinct.
However, there is a dispute as to whether the “Nokia 9000 Communicator” was actually the first smartphone. Some experts see the "Simon Personal Communicator" as the first smartphone in the world, which was sold by IBM in the USA as early as August 1994. But in contrast to the “Communicator” from Nokia, you couldn't surf the web with the clunky “Simon” from IBM, which for most technology historians also defines the term “smartphone”.

Anyway, IBM soon withdrew from the market, Nokia, on the other hand, kept adding up. In 1999 the Finns launched the Nokia 7110, the first WAP cell phone that could be used to call up web pages formatted for mobile connections. Together with Samsung, Nokia founded the third UMTS mobile communications generation in Germany in 2004 with its devices.

The big hype only started with the smartphone

The big hype only started with the iPhone, which Apple CEO Steve Jobs presented on January 9, 2007. It promised three devices in one: a music player with touch controls, a revolutionary telephone and a new Internet communicator. Cellular pioneers at the time, Nokia, Motorola, and Blackberry, were caught off guard by the iPhone announcement and years later had great difficulty in providing an appropriate answer. Only Google was well prepared with its then boss Eric Schmidt. Schmidt was a member of the board of directors at Apple and saw where the journey was going. In the summer of 2005, Google took over the start-up Android to develop control software for cameras. But after the iPhone premiere, the project was realigned and positioned as an opponent to Apple. In October 2008, the HTC Dream, the first Android smartphone, came onto the market. Apple boss Jobs was raging because the Android interface was so similar to the iPhone. However, Apple did not succeed in having the Google system stopped on a broad front in court. Jobs' successor Tim Cook ended the "thermo-nuclear" patent war.

Google and Samsung are the winners of the boom

In addition to Google, Samsung can feel like the winner of the Android boom that followed. In the first quarter of 2012, the South Koreans replaced Nokia as the world's largest mobile phone manufacturer. Nokia had held this top position since 1998. The descent of the Finns accelerated from 2011 because the Nokia developers were unable to upgrade their Symbian system to an attractive alternative to Apple's iOS or Android from Google.

Android has now established itself on the market: Almost 294 million devices with the Google system were sold in the first quarter of 2016, almost six times more the 51.6 million iPhones that were sold during this period. However, Apple is still making the lion's share of profits, while other manufacturers are barely in the black. In the sales statistics, Microsoft comes in third with Windows Phone with 2.6 million devices. And the Blackberry smartphones are almost out of the statistics with 0.6 million units.

Is the market saturated now?

In view of the boom, hasn't the market long been saturated? In fact, the latest sales figures were only marginally higher than the previous year's figures. And as prices keep falling, the industry saw a drop in sales for the first time in a long time. Nevertheless, Apple CEO Tim Cook is convinced that the smartphone is essential for people's lives. Artificial intelligence will reinforce this trend, he said recently: "As the phone is becoming more and more your assistant, it is one of the things you can't leave the house without."
In fact, 47 percent of Germans would turn back if they forgot their smartphone at home, according to a recent TNS-Emnid study. But that only happens to very few. The fear of "nomophobia" is too great. (with dpa)

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