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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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


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.

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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. said...

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