The first mobile phone call was made over 40 years ago. On April 3, 1973, Motorola employee Martin Cooper stood in midtown Manhattan and placed a call to the headquarters of Bell Labs in New Jersey. The point was to gloat at the rival CEO Joel Engel that the race was now over, and Motorola could claim the crown for the first call made from, in Cooper’s own words, ‘a real handheld portable cell phone’. Of course, since that day the mobile has dramatically evolved and is now something owned by well over half the population across the globe, and for many considered a vital and integral part of daily life.
If we had asked you to share your earliest memories of mobile phone technology, the brick style mobile, considered the yuppie phone, would have been cited more times than the ’73 Motorola invention. These cumbersome devices may have looked rather ugly, but still served their functional purpose of making telephone calls without needing to sit by a landline. It may also surprise you to learn that these devices associated with the early ’80s were identical to the one used by Cooper, it just took almost a decade to bring to the masses, and with a price tag of nearly £4000, it was still limited to the wealthy end of the market.
Snap and Flap
The next memorable mobile phone to launch was the clamshell style handset with a flip down cover. By this stage, we could see the addition of extra functionality as you could also use the clamshell handsfree, or it could take the place of your calculator, but the internet and apps were still some way off. First seen in 1989 this was still a pretty exclusive release costing the user some £2500.
The Nokia Nineties
As with all markets, new manufacturers were keen to get in on the action, and seeing that mobile technology was definitely in demand, who can blame them. The Nokia 3310 was perhaps the most iconic handset of the ’90s. Still considered to be rather clunky, the black and white screen offered the user even more in the way of magic with the ability to compose ringtones and, the much-loved pixel game Snake. During the period between the change of millennia, mobile phone development went into overdrive, and all shapes and sizes of handset were released, some would go on to stand the test of time, others would quickly nosedive and disappear.
Apple, Android and Apps
Fast forward to the last ten years and mobile phones have become a two-horse operating system race. California giants Apple have enjoyed unrivalled success with their iPhone which launched in 2007 and has been reborn every year since with smarter technology. Currently their flagship phone the iPhone XS is one of the biggest selling handsets in the world. Android is the main rival when it comes to operating system and used by many other names such as Samsung, Huawei, Sony and more. Nearly every mobile that comes to market is now a smartphone with internet connectivity, apps for everything and much more.
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