Smartphones keep getting better by the year. It’s amazing how good technology has got. All major companies have contributed to this industry. Some more than others.
Below is a list of some great features that might seem standard today but were completely mind-blowing at the time. These are the companies that deserve the credit.

Note: this article will focus on smartphones. Phones that are not running Android or iOS will not be included on the list.

First smartphone to have a fingerprint sensor- MOTOROLA ATRIX (2011)

A lot of people think that Apple’s iPhone 5s was the first smartphone to launch with a fingerprint scanner. This is false as the Motorola Atrix was the first smartphone to include this feature. The Atrix was launched 2 years before the release of the iPhone 5s. Apple’s fingerprint technology was better and more efficient. Today almost every phone has one. It just proves that competition contributes to innovation.

The first folding smartphone - ROYOLE FlexPai (2018)

Almost everyone has heard of the Samsung Galaxy fold and the Huawei Mate X. A relatively small Chinese OEM, Royole, was able to beat Samsung and Huawei in releasing the first commercially available true folding phone. The Royole FlexPai is nowhere close to Samsung’s galaxy fold but it’s still getting credit for being first.

The first projector smartphone - SAMSUNG GALAXY BEAM (2012)

Some of you might not even know that projector phones exist. A projector phone is a mobile phone that contains a built-in pico projector. This is great for presentations, watching movies and any other projector related activities. Samsung’s Galaxy Beam was the first-ever smartphone to have an inbuilt projector. Unfortunately, the Galaxy Beam was not popular and the whole “projector on a phone” idea didn’t sit well with consumers. However, the phone seemed to do better with business-related buyers.

The first smartphone with a 3D display - LG OPTIMUS 3D (2011)

I’m sure you remember the time when 3D TVs were advertised everywhere. LG thought it was a good idea to release an android phone with a 3D display. They called it the Optimus 3D. While it sounded exciting, it didn’t quite spark enough consumer interest to cause a 3D revolution on the smartphone market. HTC also tried releasing their 3D smartphone but it also flopped.

The first Phablet - SAMSUNG GALAXY NOTE (2011)

Almost every smartphone is huge today. 6 years ago, a phone that had a display that was larger than 5″ was considered massive. At the time, Samsung drove the smartphone industry and normalized large displays by releasing the Samsung Galaxy Note. The phone had a 5.3″ display which was insane at the time but quite small for today’s standards. I can’t imagine using an iPhone 4 which had a 3.5″ display.

The first stylus smartphone - SAMSUNG GALAXY NOTE (2011)

Samsung Galaxy Note was the first smartphone to include a fully integrated pressure-sensitive stylus with the phone. The phone was praised for its innovative features and was very successful.

First smartphone with a dual camera - LG OPTIMUS 3D (2011)

The Lg Optimus 3d was the first smartphone to have a dual-camera system. The extra lens was there to produce 3d video and photos. It uses the same technique used by regular 3D cameras, using those dual lenses to create a sense of depth in images. This was boosted with a 3D display to view those images, without the glasses.

First smartphone with a triple camera - HUAWEI P20 Pro (2018)

The Huawei p20 was the first smartphone to include a triple-lens system. The phone was praised for its great camera features. The camera included an 8 MP Telephoto lens with f/2.4 aperture, the main lens with 40 MP (RGB, f/1.8 aperture) and a secondary lens 20 MP (Monochrome, f/1.6 aperture)

First waterproof smartphone - SONY XPERIA Z (2013)

Released in early 2013, the Sony Xperia z was the first waterproof smartphone. It’s amazing how several companies shaped the standards of our phones today.

The first 4k display smartphone - SONY XPERIA Z5 Premium (2015)

Sony’s Xperia z5 Premium was the first-ever smartphone to have a 4K display. While this was cool, users felt that it was unnecessary and it drained the battery.

The first 1000$ smartphone - iPhone X (2017)

The iPhone x was the first smartphone device to be sold for $1000. Apple at its best

The first smartphone to remove a headphone jack - iPhone 7 (2016)

The iPhone 7 was the first smartphone to remove the famous headphone jack. While this pioneered wireless technology, consumers hated using dongles.

first bezel-less smartphone (Sharp Aquos Crystal ) 2014

While the Sharp Aquos was not truly bezel-less, it was the first smartphone that started this trend. It was launched way back in 2014 before any company started showing signs of going bezel-less.

The first gaming smartphone (sony Xperia play ) 2011

The Xperia Play is a smartphone with elements of a handheld game console produced by Sony Ericsson. With the market share for dedicated handheld game consoles diminishing into the 2010s due to the rapid expansion of smartphones with cheap downloadable games, Sony attempted to tackle the issue with a smartphone with elements of a handheld console, the Xperia Play.

Kenyon Ndezi is a recent graduate, writer, creator of; and the owner of, which is a company focused on building apps for small businesses and individuals. Follow along and get inspired!

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