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1990s Smartphone

1990s Smartphones from the Past

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Not too long ago, we constructed what a smartphone screen might have looked like in the 1950s. We asked ourselves, why stop in the 50s? What would a 1990s smartphone screen look like?

Let’s think about that.

While the internet was hitting homes, and cell phones were starting to become a realistic purchase, we we’re still some ways off from the smartphone that we know and love today.

Much like our 1950s smartphone, for the 90s version we are simply focusing on software/apps. No indication what the hardware would look like. Another post, for another day.

Before we get into details, an Interesting side note. 1994 marked the year the predecessor to what we consider a modern day smart phone, hit the market. The IBM Simon had a calendar, it could send faxes, email, had a notepad, and more.

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Safe to say, it was ahead of its time as it could only function in 15 states within the United States, had a $899 price tag, and then the really important part.. There was no mobile internet infrastructure as we are so accustomed too today. Regardless you have to respect the foresight of those at IBM who were creating this device.

Anyways, had the modern day smartphone been born in another time, here is what the 1990s screen might have looked like..

What a 1990s Smartphone Screen Might Have Looked Like

What do we have here?

Polaroid – Polaroid is still around today, we just used their products in a much different way back in the 90s. We’re confident it would have had a front a center presence on smartphone back in the day. Move over Instagram, this is the 90s.

Sam Goody – Where else would you get your tunes in the 1990s. While we embrace the move forward in technology, there are some experiences that have become lost along the way. The experience of going to a music store is one of those things new generations may never know.

Ask Jeeves – Ask is still around today, just without Jeeves, the butler. Forgive us, we couldn’t fit a butler into the app. The open hands had to do.

MCI Store – It’s the 90s, of course, MCI is going to have a place on the list. Hey if you need a 10-10-220 option, this is your spot.

Waldenbooks – Much like Sam Goody and the music store experience, same applies to bookstores. Now you are more likely to find a book store in the 2019, than a music store, the industry as a whole has taken a major hit. 1990s smartphone would no doubt have a Waldenbooks app.

USA Online – Yes Aol is still around, minus the strangle hold it had on the 1990s internet experience. Still love the Keith Haring style logo. Never forget mid 90s aol chat rooms!

6 Degrees – 6 degrees of seperations, ya get it? Forget Facebook, 6 degrees was the spot to connect with friends, love one, and.. we’ll let’s just assume it would be a place to argue with strangers about the Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinsky circus.

The Globe – Remember social media, before we called it social media. For a nostalgic walk down memory lane, take a peak at Valley of the Boom on National Geographic. It just wrapped up it’s first season and well worth a watch. The Globe gets a front and center spot on our 1990s smartphone screen.

Alta Vista – Before Google swallowed up the internet, back when they were still telling people to not be evil, there were other search engines out there. Alta Vista was a popular one for sure.

Then Yahoo bought them out and, well, they did what Yahoo did best post dot com bubble burst. They destroyed it and shut it down. Alta Vista gone but not forgotten, definitely gets a spot on our 1990s smartphone screen.

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Geo Cities – This is a classic that still exists in Japan (note they are due to shut down March 2019). A place where people could build their own web pages and content, all in 1990s style and fashion. Like Alta Vista, Yahoo got involved and that was that. We can only speculate what Geo Cities on a 1990s smartphone might have looked like.

Fresh Prince – We recognize The Fresh Prince and DJ Jazzy Jeff, as being pop culture icons of 90s. No doubt they would have had an app. Shows, music, clothing, accessories.. the possibilities would have been endless.

Pets dot Com – The poster child for the dot com bust of the early 2000s, there was no way we were leaving this out of the mix. Hey at least Bark Box and Only Natural Pets figured it out!

Yellow Pages – Phone books we’re still a thing in the 90s. We feel the Yellow pages, deserves a spot on the 1990s smartphone screen, even if it might have been on its last leg.

Netscape Like The Globe, the Netscape story was told on the Valley of the Boom. Certainly would have had a browser presence in this line up prior to it’s acquisition by AOL.

Well that’s that. More Smartphones from a different era to come.

Hope you enjoyed and as always, Thank You for checking us out.

The 89 Prime Time Travel Team

In case you missed our Craft Beer and Chocolate pairings, click here to check it out.