It seems like many of the new smartphones are making a full circle back to the old ways of the PDA units. Back when Palm, Inc. was starting on it’s great PDA revolution with touch screens and gray scale PDA units one of the big things that set them apart was the touch screen. Many of the other companies during that same time had a small keyboard or had software you used on the computer to download info into the pda because they had no screen input. As time went on and the PDA’s turned into SmartPhones the split started with many phones shifting to half of them made with no touch screens and the other half with touch screens. Then around 2005/2006 we started to see a shift to more smartphones going with no touch screens and others using either dials, wheels or QWERTY keyboards instead. In late 2006 there were very few companies that had smartphones with touch screens and some that had both a touch screen/QWERTY keyboard combo. During this same time frame we also started to see the smartphones get much smaller.
June 29th 2007 a major change was made or was it? Apple introduces the iPhone with a touch screen… "Revolutionary" was the coined phrase but was it really that big of a jump in technology or just a better mousetrap of a touch screen? Now do not get me wrong I have been in the PDA/Smartphone business since 1997 and agree that the iPhone is a great smartphone, but I think Apple marketed a better phone than what was currently on the market with implementing some existing cutting edge technology. Until the iPhone the smartphones were getting smaller and smaller but the iPhone is a large phone compared to most. Touch Screens were on the way out and software/browsers were struggling to meet the demands of the users before the iPhone. So Apple took the missing elements and made them a little better with what was on the market at that time. They made a better touch screen, browser and the software… well I think the software still needs some work but hey 2 out of 3 is very good for their first phone. There are a few other things that need to be pointed out like the fact that HTC has a phone called the "Touch" which has the same technology as the iPhone screens but was out well before the iPhone was released. Also for business people like myself RIM Blackberry phones with the addition of the trackball with QWERTY are great smartphones to type quickly with and for long emails but lack the browser of the iPhone. Rumor has it that RIM is working on a touch screen blackberry for their next generation of units.
So it seems that we can take some notes from the old PDA’s that many of us started with and the world of smartphone technology goes around in a loop just with some nice upgrades. I realize that there are many other advances in technologies that have come out with smartphones but one of the main focuses is always on the screen technology. I sure hope the next move is to not bring back the grayscale technology and implement that as a revolutionary idea.