Can you imagine a life without a mobile phone? No calls anywhere or anytime you need, No texts, No Internet, No websites or Apps. Hard to imagine, right? It’s just 50 years since the first mobile phone was invented by Motorola in 1973 and the history of mobile phones started. Since then, mobile phones have revolutionized the way we communicate, work, play, and learn. They have become an essential part of our lives, connecting us with people and information across the globe. In this article, we will explore the history of mobile phones, from the bulky bricks of the 1970s to the sleek smartphones of today. Join us as we celebrate 50 years of mobile phone innovation!
History of Mobile Phones
It all started from the first “First cell phone call ” initiated from the 6th Avenue of Manhatten, New York from Martin Cooper, the Motorola Engineer to Joel Engel one of his rivals at Bell Labs. The conversation was “Joel, this is Marty Cooper, I’m calling you from a cellphone. But a real cellphone! Personal, hand-held, portable cellphone”. There was a long silence from the other end, says Mr. Cooper. To see the interview with him click here.
He also mentioned that at the moment he never thought that his team will revolutionize the world or he will become the Father of Cell phones but he was only worried about the success of his product. Well, speaking of success 42 years from then there are more number mobile phones in the world than the whole population. He also mentioned that a wireless mobile phone means freedom, freedom from a wire holding us inside the home.
The DynaTAC was a revolutionary device that changed the way people communicate and paved the way for modern smartphones. The commercial version of Marty Cooper’s prototype, the Motorola Dynatac 8000X, was released 10 years after that first call, in 1983. The DynaTAC weighed about 1.1 kg. It cost $3,995 when it was released in 1983. Despite its size and price, the DynaTAC was a huge success and sold more than 300,000 units in its first decade.
Speaking about its features, it was just dialling the number from the two-column number pad and ability to talk. No messaging, No FM radio, No camera nothing. It offered about 30 minutes of Talktime and 10 hours of charging time and 12 hours of stand-by-time along with a 15 CM antenna on the top. Remember no trace of a screen. This type of mobile phone is usually called “The Brick”.
Neil’s “Merry Christmas”
The next notable step to having a supercomputer in our pocket is the first SMS. The first Short Message Service was sent on 3rd December 1992 about 10 years after the first commercial mobile phone was released. On December 3, 1992, a British engineer named Neil Papworth sent a message from his computer to a colleague’s mobile phone. The message said “Merry Christmas” and it marked the beginning of a new era of texting.
SMS allows users to send and receive text messages up to 160 characters long. Since then, SMS has become one of the most popular and convenient ways of communicating with friends, family, and even businesses. SMS is fast, reliable, and affordable. One year later in 1993, Nokia introduced an SMS feature with a distinctive ‘beep’ to signal an incoming message.
Neil said: “In 1992, I had no idea just how popular texting would become, and that this would give rise to emojis and messaging apps used by millions. I only recently told my children that I sent that first text. Looking back with hindsight, it’s clearer to see that the Christmas message I sent was a pivotal moment in mobile history.”
In 1996 after the release of the MATRIX movie, the classic phone Nokia 8110 became so popular and was commonly known as the banana phone. The phone is still on sale as a 4G phone and the specification of the phone is here.
Then in 1999, Nokia released the 7110 which is the first phone with a built-in web browser. Then in 2000, the Nokia 3310 was launched and became one of the most popular and durable mobile phones ever. It had features like customizable ringtones, games, and long battery life.
The next milestone is the integration of a camera into a phone. Even though multiple companies claim they are the first, Wikipedia goes with the Kyocera Visual Phone VP-210, released in Japan in May 1999. It was called the mobile videophone at that time. It had a 110,000-pixel front-facing camera. The other claims are the Japanese company Sharp, It could take pictures with a resolution of 0.11 megapixels and send them via email. The other claim is by Samsung which was released in South Korea in June of 2000. In 2002 the first 3G phone was released.
The first iPhone
In 2007, Apple introduced the iPhone, which revolutionized the smartphone industry with its touchscreen interface, internet connectivity, and app store. The first iPhone was announced by Steve Jobs on January 9, after years of rumors and speculation. It was the first smartphone to have a touch screen that could be controlled with fingers, instead of a stylus or physical buttons. It also had a built-in iPod, a camera, a web browser, and other features that were unheard of at the time.
The first iPhone was the result of a secret project called “Purple” that started in 2005. Apple wanted to create a device that would combine the functions of a phone and an iPod. They experimented with different input methods, such as multitouch, which they acquired from a small company called Fingerworks. They also collaborated with Motorola to release the Rokr E1, an iTunes phone that could play music from the iTunes Music Store. However, Steve Jobs was not satisfied with the Rokr E1 and decided to pursue his own vision of a phone.
The first iPhone was designed by Jony Ive and his team, who worked on some tablet prototypes before switching to a phone. They had to overcome many challenges, such as making the touchscreen responsive, fitting all the components into a slim body, and developing a new operating system that would support multitouch and other features. They also had to deal with the secrecy of the project and the pressure from Steve Jobs, who had high expectations and demanded perfection.
The first iPhone was released on June 29, 2007, in the U.S., with two models: 4GB for $499 and 8GB for $599, along with a two-year contract with AT&T. It was an instant success, selling over 6 million units in its first year. It received critical acclaim for its design, functionality, and innovation. It also sparked a revolution in the smartphone industry, inspiring other manufacturers to create their own touchscreen devices.
The first iPhone was discontinued in July 2008, when its successor, the iPhone 3G, was launched. The iPhone 3G had 3G functionality, apps, and more. The first iPhone was eventually declared obsolete in June 2013, before the launch of the iPhone 5 and 5S. However, it remains a landmark product in Apple’s history and a symbol of what technology can achieve.
The first Android Phone
In 2008, Google launched Android, an open-source operating system for smartphones that competed with iOS. It allowed more diversity and customization for users and developers. And the first Android smartphone, the HTC Dream, was released. It was also known as the T-Mobile G1, which was released in October 2008. This phone was a game-changer for the smartphone industry, as it introduced the world to the Android operating system and its amazing features. Let’s take a trip down memory lane and see what made this phone so revolutionary.
The HTC Dream had a 3.2-inch touchscreen display with a resolution of 320 x 480 pixels. It also had a slide-out QWERTY keyboard that made typing easier and faster. The phone had a 3.2-megapixel camera on the back, which could take decent photos and videos for its time. The phone also had Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, GPS, and a microSD card slot for extra storage.
But the most impressive thing about the HTC Dream was its software. It ran on Android 1.0, which was based on Linux and offered an open-source platform for developers and users. Android 1.0 had some of the features that we still use today, such as the notification bar, the Google Play Store (then called Android Market), Google Maps, Gmail, YouTube, and more. The phone also had access to thousands of apps that could be downloaded from the Play Store or other sources.
The HTC Dream was not perfect, of course. It had some drawbacks, such as short battery life, a bulky design, a lack of a headphone jack, and a limited amount of internal memory. But it was still a groundbreaking device that paved the way for the future of Android and smartphones in general. It showed that there was an alternative to the iPhone and that users could have more choices and customization in their mobile devices. The HTC Dream may seem outdated now, but it deserves our respect and admiration for being the first of its kind. The specification of the HTC Dream is here.
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The Samsung S series was launched in 2010 as the flagship line of Android devices. The first model, the Samsung Galaxy S, was a huge success, selling over 24 million units worldwide. It had a 4-inch Super AMOLED display, a 1 GHz processor, a 5-megapixel camera, and a sleek design. It also introduced some innovative features such as the TouchWiz UI, the Swype keyboard, and the Smart Alert.
The Samsung Galaxy S was followed by the S II in 2011, which improved on almost every aspect of its predecessor. It had a larger 4.3-inch screen, a faster 1.2 GHz dual-core processor, an 8-megapixel camera, and a thinner and lighter body. It also added new features such as the NFC chip, the voice assistant S Voice, and motion gestures.
The Samsung S series continued to evolve and innovate over the years, releasing new models every year with better hardware and software. Some of the notable models include the S III, which introduced the Smart Stay and Smart Pause feature; the S4, which had a 13-megapixel camera and an eye-tracking feature; the S6, which had a metal and glass design and wireless charging; the S8, which had an edge-to-edge display and a fingerprint scanner; and the S10, which had a hole-punch camera and reverse wireless charging. This series is now standing as the best phone right now in this world Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra.
In 2013 the iPhone 5S introduced the world’s first 64-bit processor in a smartphone. This meant that the iPhone 5S could run faster and more efficiently than any other phone at the time. The 64-bit processor also enabled new features like Touch ID, which allowed users to unlock their phones with their fingerprints. The iPhone 5S was a huge leap forward in smartphone technology and performance.
In 2013, the first commercially available smartphone with a flexible display was unveiled by LG. The LG G Flex could bend slightly to fit the user’s face and had a self-healing back cover. In 2016, the first phone with an iris scanner, the Samsung Galaxy Note 7, is released. In 2016, the first smartphone with a modular design was released by Motorola. The Moto Z could attach different accessories called Moto Mods to enhance its functionality, such as a projector, a speaker, or a battery pack.
In 2017 iPhone X was released as the first phone with the face id. This feature allows you to unlock your phone with just a glance, using advanced facial recognition technology. The iPhone X also has a stunning OLED display, a powerful A11 Bionic chip, and a wireless charging capability. The iPhone X is more than just a phone, it’s a statement of innovation and elegance.
In 2019, Samsung released the first foldable phone Samsung Galaxy Z Fold and Z Flip. It has a stunning 7.6-inch dynamic AMOLED display that unfolds seamlessly. You can enjoy immersive viewing, multitasking, gaming, and productivity on this amazing gadget. Samsung Galaxy Z fold is not just a phone, it is a game-changer.
In 2019, the first 5G smartphone Samsung Galaxy S10 was launched in South Korea.
In 2021, the first smartphone with an under-display camera was announced by ZTE. The ZTE Axon 20 5G had a hidden selfie camera under the screen that did not compromise the display quality or performance. This amazing technology allows the front-facing camera to be hidden under the screen, creating a seamless and immersive viewing experience. You can enjoy your favorite videos, games, and apps without any interruption or distraction. And when you need to take a selfie or make a video call, the camera will magically appear and capture your best moments. The under-display camera is the ultimate innovation in smartphone design, and you can be one of the first to experience it!