This picture of the changes from the 2005 conclave to the 2013 conclave is astonishing.
I got my first smartphone in January 2003 when I was a Freshman in College. It was an T-Mobile Pocket PC Phone Edition. This was one of the first smart phones from Microsoft. I remember people would look at me dumbfounded, like why would you need access to the internet when you are not home. There wasn’t even Facebook yet! It operated over super-slow GPRS (basically a 28.8 k rate), with no Wi-Fi (that wasn’t really a thing yet).
For me, the coolest thing was that my contacts, tasks, and calendar would sync with me wherever I went. That is, if I added someone’s phone number to my Outlook, and I wanted to call that person when I was on the go, I could do so easily. I even had this fold-up keyboard I brought to class. I don’t think over-the-air syncing even worked back then. We had to use Microsoft activesync. Amazing how things have progressed in the last 8 years. I loved that phone. I talked about my history of smartphones here and here.
Of course, in 1999 when I was a sophomore in HS, I had an HP Jornada 820. Till I sat on it in gym class during my junior year. The Jornada was amazing. It had a full keyboard, a touch pad, and even a PCMCIA slot to hook up a modem! It ran a stripped-down version of Windows, called Windows CE that had Pocket Word. I used it to type all my notes in class (yes even in HS I was typing notes). I could print stuff using the IR port to a laser printer in the school library. And, I could play solitaire like a boss in class. That machine was well-ahead of it’s time.