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AT&T Exec Predicted the Smartphone in 1953

posted by Jason Kottke   Nov 12, 2019

In an April 1953 newspaper article in the Tacoma News Tribune, Mark Sullivan made an uncannily accurate prediction about the future of the telephone.

Phone 1953 Prediction

In its final development, the telephone will be carried about by the individual, perhaps as we carry a watch today. It probably will require no dial or equivalent, and I think the users will be able to see each other, if they want, as they talk.

The curious use of the word “users” made me think this was a hoax, but Snopes says it’s genuine. Anyway, Nikola Tesla beat Sullivan to the punch with his 1926 wireless vision of the world:

We shall be able to communicate with one another instantly, irrespective of distance. Not only this, but through television and telephony we shall see and hear one another as perfectly as though we were face to face, despite intervening distances of thousands of miles; and the instruments through which we shall be able to do his will be amazingly simple compared with our present telephone. A man will be able to carry one in his vest pocket.

(via @ma11en)