Historic articles, documentation, and technical data for Simon, the first Smartphone

View the Project on GitHub simoneer/history


Several patents came from these projects which have been referenced hundreds of times by subsequent patents and listed as prior art during litigation by the major Smartphone companies.


1: Regarding patent 5,619,684 this was a key feature of the Simon because Simon applications automatically detected the change of these indicator bit combinations to display User screens which matched the presence (or absence) of the PSTN connector cable. This was a key feature because these applications could be used over a landline when cellular service was unavailable or too costly. This was also a work around of an existing non-IBM patent that the team became aware of. The “other” patent switched between cellular and PSTN based on a soft bit (for example by user selection). By making the switch responsive to the hardware connector, the Simon team a) avoided the other patent, and b) made it more user friendly. Also of interest, this patent showed how the user interface could automatically change when a keyboard or other hardware was externally attached, not just a PSTN phone connection.

2: The inventors in most Simon patents were intentionally listed in alphabetical order, as was a standard at IBM at the time. The order did not indicate which inventor(s) were primary contributors.