Citrix recently had the honor to host a panel of Tech luminaries that led the first generation of SmartPhones and Tablets.  Going back 20 years to the first SmartPhone, Jerry Merckel tells the story about how he sold the concept at IBM that resulted in the Simon Personal Communicator. He had one of the original units that did cell calls, email, mobile apps even faxes.. and then talks about sliding in a PCMCIA card to add functions like a music player. His original business case slides even shows a music store.

John Sculley describes how the Newton required a new low power chip that didn’t exist and as a result led Apple to invest in the ARM joint venture that now powers the majority of all mobile devices. He goes on to describe the 1993 CES Keynote where he predicted billions of mobile devices doing everything from cell calls to speech and gestures recognition. Yet at the time he was ridiculed about how he ” the Marketing guy ” was qualified to make such a far out prediction… looks like he was right …
Jamie Borras a legend at Motorola who designed circuits for some of the first generation cell phones plus invented PushToTalk ( and 42 other patents ) talks about wireless infrastructure that was required and led to today’s LTE.
Bringing the discussion forward to today, Scott Moody the founder of AuthenTec ( who Apple just bought for $365 Million ) talks about the importance of engineers and innovation beyond doing what the customer is asking for today ( as well as some fond comments for the “Sales & Marketing pukes” …  ). Scott also  tells of the ups and downs of a startup including his first prototype that didn’t work to going public on NASDAQ and having his kids ring the bell.
All of the panelists offered great advise, stories and wisdom for entrepreneurs and visionaries that need to go beyond an idea and have the perseverance to execute better than the competition.
So what’s the next big thing ? There seemed to be a consensus that the next big thing was sensors, the internet of things. Beyond single personal devices there will be multiple devices that monitor your Heath , assist your daily activity, network with others and the cloud, etc, etc.
If you have the time this is a great video; for tech history, innovation and the future.

Coverage of the event

TUAW  John Sculley discusses ARM and the Newton

Macworld  Ex Apple CEO Sculley had a vision of the iPhone in 1993

TheNextWeb  John Sculley Tells the story of ARM and Newton at the start of Apple as mobile giant 

Yahoo News Former Apple CEO describes how the failure of the Messagepad led to future triumphs

Citrix Blogs 20 Years ago the First SmartPhone was developed, whats next for mobility ?