I just bought an iPhone 5. This is kind of big news to me, because this is the first smartphone I’ve had in 10 years.
That’s an impressive statement not only because I’ve managed to survive (and thrive) in the age of the iPhone without one so far, but also for the fact that I had a smartphone 10 years ago, before smartphone was even a term. In fact, thanks to my big brother, a sales rep at Verizon, I had Verizon’s first smartphone: the Kyocera 6035.
And I loved it.
The 6035 ran Palm’s OS, and used a stylus and buttons to navigate the monochrome screen. You could enter text directly on the screen once you learned their special shorthand alphabet. I’d love to blame my poor penmanship on my mastery of the palm shorthand, but it was probably screwed up long before that.
Like other palm devices, you could play games (DrugWars!) and draft memos. You could also compose emails, which the phone sent by acting as an analog modem. That’s right, the original “1G” network. Pair that with my prepaid service, and I was good to go.
There was a bluish backlight that could be enabled, so you could read the screen in the dark. Space age!
One of the neatest features, in my opinion, was the IR connection. It was no wifi, but it could be used to do cool things, like swap games with other 6035’s (try that with an iPhone), sync to the IR built into my iMac, and remote-control the TVs in classrooms. Yeah, teachers were crazy about that.
Alas, the E911 law meant that Verizon would no longer activate non-GPS phones. And with that, my Kyocera 6035 went the way of the Polaroid camera and analog TV.
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