cell-phone-evolution
cell-phone-evolution
The DynaTAC 8000x
The DynaTAC 8000x

The “brick phone” was bulky (28 oz. and 13” high with antenna), and had a battery that was four times heavier than a modern cell phone. It allowed only about 20 minutes of talk time before it required recharging, and that took up to 10 hours to complete. The most common complaint? The battery charger would overheat and short circuit, rendering it useless.

Martin Cooper – “Father of the Cell Phone”
Martin Cooper – “Father of the Cell Phone”

Luckily, there were never reports of injuries or death related to the DynaTAC’s overheating chargers. Ironically, that has since changed. Injuries and deaths related to cell phone chargers and their batteries are reported on occasion.

Clamshells and Flip Phones – MicroTAC 9800X
Clamshells and Flip Phones – MicroTAC 9800X

On April 25, 1989, the first flip style phone, the MicroTAC 9800X, was introduced to the world and it immediately made international headlines. Just over 9 inches long and weighing a little over 12 ounces, the 9800X was designed to fit into the user’s pocket, and it was the lightest and smallest phone available at the time. Ranging in price from $2,495 to $3,495, the MIcroTAC 9800X had many additional functions outside of simply being able to call. The phone included a currency calculator, memory ‘scratchpads’, keypad tones, and hands-free operation, among many other innovations.

Smartphones Started with Simon
Smartphones Started with Simon

Cell phones have taken on many forms over the last 30 years, including the wildly popular Nokia and Blackberry models. However, in 1994, the first official “smartphone” (though the term hadn’t been coined yet) was invented. Called the Simon Personal Communicator, or Simon for short, the first smartphone could send and receive e-mails and faxes via its touchscreen display. It also came with games, a calculator, a calendar and scheduler, and an electronic note pad, among other things.

Since then, there have been many variations on the smartphone, with each new creation adding to the phone’s already seemingly endless functionality. The Apple iPhone and Samsung Galaxy series’ are the world’s bestselling smartphones. The Galaxy has sold over 100 million units worldwide, but it’s still far behind the iPhone, which has sold over 420 million units.

Gone are the $3,995 cell phones that weighed two and a half pounds. Now thy cell for well under $100 and weigh just a few ounces. In the future, we will see bendy phones, self-powered phones, phones built into our clothing, and maybe even have them implanted into our brains.

If we ever do get to that point, let’s just hope they’ve solved the exploding charger problem by then!

Cell Phone History Pictures and Stories from 1983-2013

Standing on Sixth Avenue in midtown Manhattan, Martin Cooper, the “Father of the Cell Phone” made the first cell phone call in history. It was April 3, 1973.

Whom did he call? His competitor, Joel Engel, head of AT&T Bell Labs, of course!

It wasn’t until ten years later, in 1983, that the first cell phone became widely available in the United States. At a cost of $3,995, the DynaTAC 8000x was out of reach for many people. Although by the end of 1984, there were 300,000 units sold worldwide.

Fast forward 30 years, and cell phones have become so commonplace that there are roughly 87 cell phones for every 100 people in the world. The cell phone’s journey from 1983 to 2013 has been a long one, full of innovation, successes, research, failures, defective products, and short-lived fads.

The slide show above features highlights of cell phone history pictures to remind you of what things were like.

About the Author: 
Nik Donovic finds happiness in the simple things in life. As a resident of Arizona, he spends most of his free time outdoors hiking, walking, or enjoying the occasional cool breeze instead of indoors (except in the summer, of course!)

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