The iPhone redefined mobile computing four years ago, but several other devices from the BlackBerry pager to the iPaq once enjoyed the same reign
The devices that once ruled the mobile market
Comlink and communicator
Nokia 9000 Communicator
U.S. Robotics Palm Pilot
Research in Motion BlackBerry
Palm Treo 180
See another InfoWorld slideshow: Geek tech survivors
After five years of little significant change in the BlackBerry, Windows Mobile (the new name for Pocket PC), and Palm OS devices, Apple debuted its gesture-based iPhone in 1997 -- to much derision. InfoWorld's own review gave the original iPhone an "unacceptable" rating, for example. Some of the criticism was fair, but much was driven by a dislike for Apple, a company whose reputation was ruined a decade earlier and was still looked on with suspicion despite the success of the iPod and iMac lines. Apple plugged away, releasing a new version every year since.
Today, it's the top-selling smartphone in the world (though all the Android smartphones combined beat it in sales) and usually the top-rated. More than that, it's defined the paradigm for what a smartphone today is; Google, HP (which bought Palm in 2010 and then killed it last week), Microsoft, Nokia, and RIM all are trying to play by the iPhone's rules in their current offerings.