MyOrigo - MyDevice



168 grams


The MyDevice is a rare early example of a smartphone. It was conceived and designed by Johannes Väänänen and is regarded by some as the world's first touch screen smartphone that did not use a stylus.  At the time, devices controlled by swiping a finger across the screen were not yet reality. Early touch-screen devices, primarily handheld personal digital assistants (PDAs), used a stylus to interact with screen. Internet services were in their infancy with rudimentary access to content using simple technologies such as the wireless application protocol (WAP). Väänänen had developed an early prototype of the device and agreed a partnership with contract manufacturer Microcell and its founder Jyrki Hallikainen. A subsidiary, MyOrigo, was formed to develop the MyDevice phone and quickly had over 100 employees. The first prototype was completed in early 2002 and offered a product with Internet browsing and downloadable apps. The device was powered by a Java-based operating system called Intent which was created by a company called Tao. Although the hardware developed by MyOrigo was excellent, the software underpinning the device was equally as important. At the time, existing software platforms and chipsets were too slow to drive a phone with the demands of MyOrigo, however Tao's Intent was architected to overcome these limitations. Navigating a web page was done using a capability that MyOrigo called “mirroring” – as a user moved the phone left, right, up or down the screen would move accordingly. MyOrigo called it “mirroring” because the experience was similar to looking into a hand mirror. If you looked straight at the device you could see your face Straight on, you can see you face. If the device was tilted a web page would scroll from side to side and up and down. Furthermore, although now a default feature on all devices, the MyDevice was able to switch an image, web page or other content from portrait to landscape by tipping the phone on its side. This was considered quite revolutionary when the product was conceived. Mydevice Turn To Rotate Image Key technical specs for the device included a custom designed 176 x 320 16-bit colour TFT LCD display manufactured by Philips and a built-in VGA camera. It was powered by an Intel StrongARM SA-1100 32-bit ARM RISC processor running at 133/190 MHz. On completing the prototype, MyOrigo and Väänänen pitched the MyDevice to all the leading players in the mobile phone industry including Ericsson, Motorola, Nokia, Philips, Samsung, Siemens and others. The device got a positive reception but it proved hard to get anyone to commit to buy the product. Notably, in his book, The Smart Device, Väänänen recalls that MyOrigo visited Apple in California to demonstrate the MyDevice. During the meeting Steve Jobs walked into the room and tried the product showing a particular interest in browsing. Väänänen feels that this had a heavy influence on what the iPhone would eventually become. Having failed to sell the device as a near-finished prototype product a new company, F-Origin, was created with some of the original development team and the related patents. They sought to sell the technology, notably the user interface developments, which included finger touch control and the web browsing capabilities. Samsung showed interest in working with F-Origin to build a product and provided some investment that kept the company going. The first in-person meeting in Oulu, Finland was very successful, but the follow-up meeting was a disaster. F-Origin had defaulted on its rent and found its offices locked when they arrived to let the Samsung delegation into the building for a meeting. Unable to enter, the Samsung team left never to return. Samsung ended its funding. This resulted in a rapid decline for the company and its eventual bankruptcy in 2005. The administrators took control of the assets and sold the related software and patents to a US entity for €300,000. The device in the Mobile Phone Museum collection was donated by Carl-Gustav Lindén (who has written an interesting book about Nokia). He purchased a batch of eight MyDevice phones via an online site. Apparently, the seller had “found them outside the factory”. Mydevice Picture