A History of Cell Phones

It would be interesting to hand a smartphone to Alexander Graham Bell. I don’t think he could fathom that his invention would translate to what it is now. In what started as a line and a can has evolved to include video communication, cloud computing and sending images and messages to your dearest ones instantaneously. Even more mind-blowing is how quickly the technology has evolved over the past 20 years.

A History of Cell Phones

The Dawning of the Mobile Device

Hand-held transmitters were first used by the military during the Second World War. Military officials would bark orders on bulky hand-held devices to their members in the field. In 1946, mobile telephone service was introduced to about 5,000 people in St. Louis with a mobile device weighing a whopping 75 pounds. Imagine lugging that around!

Finally, a True Mobile Phone

It wasn’t until 1973 that Motorola created a phone that would actually fit in your pocket! Before that there were only car phones in addition to that bulky 75-pound beast. Finally, Motorola had shrunk the device to only weight 2.5 pounds and be 10 inches in length.

In 1982, the FCC approved the use of a mobile telephone network, and in 1983 the Motorola DynaTAC 8000X, or “The Brick,” was introduced for a hefty price of $3,995. The phone fashioned a large rubber antenna and a battery life that required a 10-hour charge for 30 minutes of use.

The ’90s

Over 10 years after “the Brick” hit the market, the mobile phone saw a great increase in both capability and design. The IBM Simon Phone was the first phone to include smartphone capabilities. Using a stylus pen the user could navigate the touchscreen to look through email, use the calculator and even set dates in a calendar. The Simon Phone would be an inspiration for many of the devices we use today.

Nokia dominated the market in the late ’90s with the seemingly indestructible phone, the Nokia 5110, that has since grown a cult following. If you haven’t played the game Snake on a 5110, you are missing out.

The Technology Explosion at the Turn of the Century

Since the turn of the century there has been nothing short of a boom in mobile phone technology. Motorola again was at the forefront when it introduced the ultra-thin RAZR V3 in 2004. But, it was in 2007 when the iPhone was introduced that we saw a true kick-start to mobile phone technology.

The iPhone introduced a sleek, user-friendly interface with a sweet metal encased design to boot. This spawned other companies who needed to catch-up, and although they weren’t the first innovate devices, like the iPhone, they are no slouches.

The Galaxy Note by Samsung, for example, encompasses all the features from previous phones: the mobile connectivity from “The Bricks,” the innovative design from the Nokia 5110 and the Simon Phone and the user-friendly design of the iPhone. But, unlike the iPhone, the Note has the S Pen that utilizes the stylus technology from the Simon and applies it to modern interfaces. The S Pen is especially useful for taking notes that you can share with friends and family.

So, what technologies do you think would blow Bell’s mind the most?




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