Saturday, January 13, 2007

CES 1998: The Cidco iPhone

No, that's not a typo. Not Cisco, but Cidco (the Caller ID Company).

In light of the brouhaha over who has rights to the name iPhone, some long-repressed memories jogged loose.

Nine years ago, Cidco offered an internet phone with the same name (iPhone) and same price ($499) as Apple's product (that would be over $600 in today's dollars). It had some buzz in its day but it was not a hit. Cidco was acquired by Earthlink in 2001.

This from a Popular Mechanics piece on the best of CES, 1998:

Cidco Inc. also announced a new smart phone at CES called the iPhone ($499). Instead of logging onto your computer, with this gadget you can send or receive e-mail as well as access any Web site you desire--right on the phone's built-in 7.4-in. touchscreen. It's the first of its kind to use graphics and not just text. The phone includes a pull-out keyboard, built-in directory, speakerphone, caller identification and 3-way conferencing.

The data delivery speed is marked at 28.8kbps or higher, making Web surfing nice and easy.
Mickeleh's Take: How about that feature set: graphics, web, email, icons, touch-screen. And the Cidco iPhone had a real keyboard with tactile feedback. And a handset so you wouldn't get ear-sweat and makeup all over the screen. Wouldn't fit in your pocket though. Clearly a product before its time. Might prove inconvenient for a company claiming an exclusive trade-mark on iPhone.

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7 comments:

woid said...

Put a downward reflection on that graphic, and it could be from this week's CES.

Almost.

anna said...

I have a cidco Iphone that I purchased several years ago. I think an electrical surge blew something out and it no longer works. Do yu know of anyone that can repair it? Please email me at aalane@netscape.com.

Thanks

Chris said...

I have an cidco iphone, my parents bought it when they owned there own business, and now it is my home phone. The only issue i have ever had with it is the contrast adjustment on the side doesnt work very well and requires a bit of jiggling.

Still, it works better than the current iphone.

Sandy G said...

I have a cidco iphone that we bought from a friend who's mother passed away. I love this phone although I don't use it for the internet. I have been using it for years but it will no longer pulse or tone so I can't dial out on it. I still use it to store all my phone numbers and check the light when I come in to see if I have a message. It will dial out when I retrieve messages but the keypad won't tone out. I wished I could get it fixed.

Stuart Reimers said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

I've had the orginal iPhone since 99 and bought it just for its phone capabilities. Mine also has a probelm with the contrast button which you have to jiggle to fix. Apart from that it hasn't missed a beat since never hooked up the internet part of it though.

www.griffinpublishingco.com said...

I have an original iPhone also. The contrast buttons and the #5 (gets stuck)both need attention. Any suggestions?
carolyn@griffinpublishingco.com.