Ahead of their time: Nine technologies that came early

Sometimes you build it, and they end up not coming.

By , ITworld |  Offbeat, computing history, Danger

Picture courtesy of Hack a Day

2003: Danger Hiptop

The Danger Hiptop may not have been the first entry into the smartphone category -- that honor probably goes to the Palm Treo -- but it was certainly one of the slickest of the early contenders. I remember the first time I played with one, in 2005 or so; I was shocked at the quality of the mobile browser. It was briefly even beloved by celebrities, with inescapable mid-'00s gossip fixture Paris Hilton being a famous user.

There isn't any big mystery to the way that innovative products sometimes find themselves leapfrogged by their competitors, and the Hiptop is no longer the innovator that it once was. It had largely fallen off of most people's radar until this month, when it was got a lot of negative publicity as a result of one of its other innovations: it backs up all of your data in the cloud, where it was lost by Microsoft, Danger's new owner.

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