The IBM Simon was the first portable phone that combined modern telephone features with PDA capabilities. It could make cellular calls as well as send/receive faxes, email, and pages. The prototype was unveiled at the 1992 Comdex show and generated a lot of buzz, landing a picture on the front page of USA Today’s Money section. It’s often considered one of the first true smartphones.
It was available for $899 with a two-year contract, and included several apps that are now staples of the modern smart phone. This included a calendar, appointment book, a world clock, and it supported hand written notes on an electronic notepad. It was available with optional accessories such as an RJ11 adapter and a slot for a pager card. The proprietary file system ran under a custom OS dubbed Navigator.
Although it was popular, it was soon eclipsed by other devices beginning to appear on the market and disappeared after only six short months.