Cell Phones Older Than You’d Think

Posted on April 30, 2013 by

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One thing that almost everyone has in common is the ownership of a cell phone. Because of their ability to call and instantly message somebody from anywhere as well as their ease and accessibility, cell phones have become one of the most commonly used electronic devices in the world.

This has to make one wonder, How did the mobile phone come to be what it is today?

For starters, the transmission of speech through radio frequencies was not a new concept. Handheld radio communications transmitters were common amongst the military in World War II. Mobile calling devices were also available in cars during the course of the 1940s. However, these machines were all bulky.

In 1946, engineers working for Bell Labs in St. Louis, Missouri, created a mobile phone service, and shortly after words, a company called AT&T began offering Mobile Telephone Service.

The service was very poor, with limited coverage areas and even fewer channels in urban areas. Still, Mobile Telephone Service paved the way for the future of mobile calling devices.

The United States was not the only place developing mobile phones. Leonid Kupriyanovich, an engineer from the USSR, developed and presented different experimental models of the handheld phone from 1957-1961. The latest model, which was shown in 1961, weighed at 70 g and fit freely in the palm of a hand.

Motorola made history in 1973. Martin Cooper, who was a Motorola engineer and executive, made the first telephone call from handheld subscriber equipment on 3 April 1973 in front of reporters. The call was placed to Dr. Joel S. Engel of Bell Labs.

The prototype phone used that day weighed in at 2.5 pounds, measured 9 inches long, 5 inches deep, and 1.75 inches wide. It offered a talk time of 30 minutes, and it took 10 hours to charge. Obviously, many improvements were to be made, but it was a huge step in the right direction.

Motorola’s chief of portable communication, John F. Mitchell, played a large role in helping advance handheld communication technology. He helped lead the push in Motorola to develop wireless communication products, which would soon lead to the development of cell phone products used today.

A lot has changed since 1973. Today, cell phones are owned by almost everyone. Their battery lives are much longer, and they are easier to use and communicate with others. Technology has come a long way and is even continuing to expand today.

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