Celebrating 40 years of the mobile phone: how an abstract idea became a global icon
On the 3rd of April 1973 (40 years ago this week), Motorola announced its new DynaTAC system, a ‘portable radio telephone system’ that would make it possible to “make telephone calls while riding a taxi, walking down the city’s street, sitting in a restaurant or anywhere else a radio signal can reach”. Big things were predicted for the new technology and despite weighing more than a kilogram and a $3,000 price tag, Motorola was confident that the technology would be a huge hit.
On the same day, Motorola executive and researcher, Martin Cooper made the first ever mobile phone call with the DynaTAC 800X on the streets of New York; since then the world has not been the same. In a pre-cordless world, the sight of Cooper making a phone call whilst moving around left many New Yorkers as confused as they were amazed.
The DynaTAC ‘brick’ proved to be the ‘Adam’ of mobile phones and has evolved significantly over the years; at each stage taking on a new level of dynamism and becoming an increasingly indispensable component of everyday life.
Innovation is also booming, making the mobile and telecoms industry an increasingly dynamic, fast paced & lucrative one to be involved in.
The mobile phone has certainly come a long way from what now seems like rather primitive beginnings; from basic functionalities like two-way voice calls to gesture control, eye tracking and more in the latest smartphones. And with ideas like wearable technology increasingly gaining ground, the possibilities for the future are barely within the boundaries of our imagination.
It took a while to get going but since its first outing, the mobile phone has gone from an abstract idea to an essential element of everyday life for billions. What the next decade holds in store is anybody’s guess but if life begins at 40, it’ll certainly be worth watching.