It’s hard to imagine life without mobile phones connecting us to people all around the world. This relatively new invention has become essential for most people. However, many of the innovations that led to cell phones came about over the past century. For example, wireless phones were first developed in the 1940s but didn’t become available for widespread home use until the 1980s.
Who Made the First Cell Phone Call?
In 1973, Motorola executive Martin Cooper picked up a hefty 2.4-pound cell phone to make the first mobile phone call. Who did he call? Cooper chatted with Dr. Joel Engel at rival company Bell Labs. According to Wired magazine, after charging for 10 hours, that first model was good for a 30-minute phone call.
From the beginning, the challenge was to make components smaller and to create batteries that lasted longer. In 1983, the Motorola DynaTak retailed for $4,000. It wasn’t much different than the model used by Cooper. Yet, within six years, the Motorola MicroTac came along. This flip phone is tucked neatly into a shirt.
Affordable Cell Phones
For a while, Motorola had free reign in the cell phone department. However, the first real competitor, Nokia, became popular in the 2000s. The Nokia 6000 series had a rectangular shape that came to define early cell phones. It could be tucked into a purse and held in one hand. It also came with Internet access and an affordable price tag.
With the price coming down, mobile phones became more popular, and other manufacturers started to produce their versions. Near the turn of the century, Samsung released the Samsung sph-i300. Users could touch the screen to make phone calls. Many users bemoaned the change to touch screens, but this was the forerunner of today’s touchscreen smartphones, according to PC Magazine.
Cell Phones Hit Mainstream with the Sidekick
In 2002, T-Mobile released the Sidekick, which had a pull-out keyboard and acted much like a minicomputer that fit in your pocket. Prior to this, text messages were tapped out using the number keys on the phone.
The First Camera Phone
In 2002, Sprint came out with the first camera phone, the Sanyo SCP-5300, which sold for $400. Unfortunately, camera quality didn’t improve much until smartphones became popular.
Mobile Phone Get Prettier
Those turned off by the boxy look of earlier models turned up in droves to buy the petite and pretty RAZR. It had colored backings and a sleek design and became a fashion statement. Meanwhile, the BlackBerry reigned supreme in the corporate world where executives and important employees typed in text messages via a full keyboard.
The iPhone was released in 2007 and change the way we thought of cell phones. Instead of serving primarily as a communications tool, mobile phones began to evolve into a tool for many different tasks. The age of the app was born. With touch screen functions, internet access, and rich text email, the iPhone was an instant success.
The iPhone 4, released in 2010, had a futuristic design and long battery life. A year later, Siri, the first personal assistant, was introduced to her adoring fans. The Blackberry began to lose market share.
Samsung Android phones are the main rivals of iPhones today. In 2015, Samsung began to wrap the edge around the phone, creating a unique looked at converted many iPhone users and kept Android fans loyal to the company’s Galaxy series per Inquirer.net. With larger screens, these phones are often easier to read than the smaller iPhones.
Tech and phone companies continue to surprise and delight users. What’s next? 5G technology, biometrics, and ever-advancing apps will continue to make it easier to study, learn new dance moves, communicate and create on the go.