Mobile phones have come a long way since Martin Cooper, a Motorola engineer, made his first public call in April 1973. Using a prototype of what would become the Motorola DynaTAC 8000x, the world's first commercial mobile phone. Cooper stood on 6th Avenue in New York City and placed a call to the headquarters of Bell Labs in New Jersey. It took Motorola 10 years to commercially launch DynaTAC800x in the market. Though still huge by standards, it was considered the first true mobile phone because it was small enough to carry. The phone was prohibitively expensive, costing several thousand dollars, but quickly became a pop symbol.
It’s not just the technology of the mobile phones that has changed over time. The physical design has also undergone a rollercoaster of changes. The early mobile phones were considered as “car phones” as they were too large and were difficult to carry around in a pocket or handbag. They were as large as modern day computers and just as heavy.The very first commercial devices looked like a heavy brick with antennae attached and had a battery life of less than 30 minutes.
The subsequent models launched were smaller, mobile, and cooler, but they still had their faults. Bulky, luggable models such as Nokia Mobira Talkman had longer battery lives and more talk time, which made them more popular at the time. As technology advanced, mobile phone companies figured out how to pack more features into a portable, more affordable model.
Smartphones entered the scene at the same time as digital service in the late 90s. The focus since then is on speed. The race is on to make wireless networks run faster and better. Even with all the innovation that has occurred through the years, consumers’ appetite for greater mobile data usage continues to grow. New mobile phone features and offerings are exploding in the market. To keep up with demand, carriers are continuing to proliferate in markets and improve their infrastructure.
In recent years, we have seen that the purpose of the mobile phone has shifted from a verbal communication tool to a multimedia tool. The mobile phones of today are replacing gadgets, such as cameras and video cameras. When cameras were first introduced on phones, the images were low quality and the feature was considered to just be an extra. Now, we're seeing a very fast shift to where consumers don't even bother carrying their point-and-shoot cameras anymore, and just use their mobile phones.
Modern day smartphones — the Apple iPhone in particular — changed everything that consumers expect from their phones. The app market has transformed the phone into a virtual toolbox with a solution for almost every need. The mobile phones of the future will be adapted to appeal more to our emotional senses and will become even more in sync with our biological reflexes and processes such as eye movement, and thought processes.
So the question is not going to be how we will change mobile phones. The question would be how the mobile phones will change us.
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