It’s no secret that the design of smartphones has come a long way since the first cell phone was created in 1973. But while changes to the devices themselves are immediately recognizable, you may not realize just how much the screens have changed as well. Keep reading to learn more about how we evolved from flip phones to high-tech touchscreens of today’s most popular devices.
Flip Phones and Tiny Displays
While manufacturers took a big step moving from bulky flip phones and clamshell phones to flip phones, few things changed in terms of screen design. Small, black-and-white displays powered by LEDs were the only option during this time period. This meant that phones remained bulkier than modern versions.
Bringing Color to the World
In the early 2000’s, cell phones took a major step toward the modern versions that we use today. They added color. While it was a big deal at the time, the first color displays featured just four hues: red, green, blue and white. These phones were the first to feature LCD technology. Once this hit the market, it would take less than a year for the technology to boom. By 2001, cell phones were hitting the market that could display up to 256 different colors.
The First Touchscreens
Many people mistakenly believe that iPhone developed the first smartphones. In reality, Samsung released the first smartphone five years before an iPhone hit the market.
The Samsung SPH-1300, released in October 2001, looked more like today’s modern devices than other phones of that era. It featured a small, full-color touchscreen that measured less than 2 inches by 2 inches, and took up much of the device’s surface area. While the touchscreen could be used to dial or write notes, the phone still had several buttons that operated other functions. You could even voice-dial up to 20 numbers, and the device came equipped with AOL messenger.
The LCD screens now not only functioned to light the color displays on these devices, it also helped to preserve battery power to give these phones longer running times, though they were still a fraction of the time that you’ll get with today’s devices.
Liquid Crystals and LCD
Today’s touchscreen smartphones feature a layer of liquid crystals. The LCD backlight adjusts the colors of these crystals to provide the high-resolution, vivid displays that we enjoy on today’s devices.
Touchscreen technology has also advanced in recent years. Where the original touchscreens featured resistive touchscreen technology, which required a stylus to operate, now touchscreens are capacitive.
This means that your phone screen is equipped with a field of tiny wires that generate an electric field. Each time you touch a screen, you disrupt that electric field. Your phone then detects that disruption. Capacitive screens only react to human fingers or devices with a similar feel, which is why you’ll need a special stylus to operate today’s smartphones, rather than the old-school plastic-tip stylus of the past.
The Future of Smartphone Displays
Big changes are coming to the smartphone screen industry. Starting with the Samsung Galaxy S7, Samsung began to offer devices powered by OLED technology, instead of LCDs. OLEDs allow for incredibly bright display qualities, while also allowing for thinner, transparent and even flexible screen designs. The Samsung Galaxy Note8 features a Super AMOLED display, the industry’s most advanced screen technology.
Upgrade today to see what a difference this tech can make for enjoying your favorite TV shows and movies, games and more, right from your smartphone.