As consumers snap up iPhones and Android-powered smartphones left and right, new information suggests Microsoft could have made the first smartphone in 1991 if only it set its mind to it.
A new profile on former Chief Technology Officer Nathan Myhrvold done by Men’s Journal suggests that the former Microsoft genius actually predicted that smartphones would dominate in the future mobile arena.
The revelation comes as Microsoft is still playing catch up in market traction to Apple and Google in the smartphone race with its Windows Phone platform.
Men’s Journal writes about Myhrvold’s ability to see into the future: “He was often pretty damned accurate: In 1991, Myhrvold predicted the emergence of the iPhone down to the smallest detail, describing a ‘digital wallet’ that would consolidate all personal communication — telephone, schedule manager, notepad, contacts, and a library of music and books, all in one. It would record and archive everything you asked it to, he surmised.”
“The cost will not be very high. It is pretty easy to imagine a $400 to $1,000 retail price,” Myhrvold is quoted as saying in his proposal for what could have been the predecessor to the iPhone.
However, it is said that Microsoft did not act on the idea of Myhrvold. Another lost chance for Microsoft.
Nonetheless, Myhrvold is not bitter about the incident.
“Hey, it was better than predicting the wrong thing,” Myhrvold is quoted as saying about the lost chance.
“Sitting around being bitter all the time, that’s not fun. But Microsoft certainly could have done more about it. One of the greatest things that Apple and Jobs were very good at doing was daring to do the very different thing,” Myhrvold added.
Here is a photo of what could have been the first smartphone, the device Myhrvold was proposing to Redmond, Washington-based Microsoft.
As you can see from the photo, it has icons and what appears to be a large screen without any visible physical keyboard.
It’s labeled “Visions for Consumer Computers” which is actually pretty accurate as our contemporary smartphones could be called extremely-shrunk personal computers.
The photo of the device Myhrvold was proposing has a slot for removable media (which today is pretty standard given MicroSD card slots abound on smartphones in the market) and an Infrared sensor (no Bluetooth yet).
On screen, it has icons for a clock, an alarm and schedule manager, a notepad, a messaging app, a weather app, a mobile security app, GPS and help. In short, it’s the kind of things we now see in a real smartphone you can buy today.
Source: Men’s Journal