Evolving the Cell Phone: 1973 to 2014

You might have only had a cellular phone for 10 years. Believe it or not cell phones have been around for 41 years. To put it in perspective – I am a year older than the cell phone.

Its amazing how the phone has evolved. From bricks and dead spots to LTE and social networks. Let’s take a look at how we got from one to the other.

Cell phones in the 80s
Cell phones in the 80s

The First Cell Phones

Motorola was the first company to introduce the handheld mobile device. In 1973 the first call was made from such a device but in its early infancy it could only last a minuscule 30 minutes of talk time and took 10 whole hours to recharge.  1980’s saw a development of these mobile devices with them becoming slightly smaller and more portable for the user, despite the developments, these cell phone were still large and cumbersome and relied on the analogue system rather than digital that we know today.

The biggest leap to happen next was in the 1990s. During this decade we moved into the digital cell phone age. We saw two differing digital systems in 2G (aka: second generation) that were born in the 1990s, the european (GSM) system and the US (CDMA) system. The 90s moved from the large ‘brick’ style phones to a small and more portable style device.

2G cell phones also saw the birth of SMS messaging. The very first text message was sent in December 1992 in Finland. Since these early days of cell phones things have developed at a phenomenal rate – with over 91% of adults owning a phone (pew research).

The Internet Age of Cell Phones

Since the 2G network there has been the launch of 3G (third generation) and 4G networks. The 3G digital network has really enabled users to begin accessing information on the internet.

With these advances in technology the actual handsets have changed dramatically too. No longer the large and heavy devices, the digital cell device has become small, light and slim. Easy to hold in one hand and fit into the pockets of even the tightest fitting jeans.

The 2000s saw the biggest development in the ability to access high speed  data resources. Mobile devices are now so advanced that we carry our entire social and digital lives around with us in our pockets. Our personal information is stored on our cell phones as well as being able to work and play on them.

iPhone ad
iPhone ad

New Directions of the Cell Phone

Other advances have taken place with the cellular phone market. On June 11, 1997, Philippe Kahn shared instantly the first pictures from the maternity ward where his daughter Sophie was born. This was known as the first cell phone picture. Since then many top brand phones have become high resolution digital cameras and even video cameras.

Apple iPhone included a storage system outside the phone in iCloud so users could continually store and manage their data. Android launched data systems and management, along with a series of apps to create everything from documents to photos. Both systems have become immensely popular and lead the smartphone revolution.

As of January 2014, Kantar World Panel announced Android held 68% of world-wide phone market share. iPhone only holds 18% worldwide although its market share in the US does a lot better than Android.

We have seen recent technology advances when paying for goods. From NFC chips to apps like Square and Paypal – apps changed the way we live our lives. Even businesses have found uses for this technology, they can now use them in their advertising campaigns via the SMS messaging service.

With such advances in cellular technology and such great changes in technology history, the security of its users has had to stay up to date in order to prevent data fraud. Of course there have been scandals in recent years such as the media scandal in the UK where journalists hacked SMS data history for many celebrities and victims, using the content in their stories.

What other advancements in technology history we can expect to see in years to come we cant be sure of, what we can say is that cellular technology is part of our modern life and will be sure to stay.

* This is a guest article from Sam.