It was fifty years ago, today, that history was made when Motorola engineer Martin Cooper made the first mobile cell phone call. Let's look at the evolution of the cell phone since the very first ones were made.
1973: Motorola engineer Martin Cooper made the first portable cell phone. It was large and bulky, but worked.
1989: The first flip phone was launched by Motorola. This phone was a significant reduction in size, but still was difficult to use. It had buttons and a speaker on the top of the part that flipped open.
1992: The Nokia 1011, the first GSM (2G) phone, was unveiled. It was a step forward from the prior flip phone from Motorola and was, again, smaller than the first mobile phone created. Phones were progressing at this time, but still not very usable.
1994: Believe it or not, IBM released the first smartphone and touch screen phone named "Simon" in 1994. The phone user interface was archaic when you look at phones today, however, this was a necessary first step to where are are today with the mobile phone.
1996: Phones took a step back, in my opinion, with this next phone being released with a "QWERTY" style keypad on it. It made the phone much more like a mini mobile laptop than a phone. The Nokia 9000 Communicator was one example of a phone released like this around this time.
1998: This was the launch of the third-generation mobile phones. They have numbers and a screen and were made much smaller. Nokia had a number of phones out at this time including these: Nokia 5110, Nokia 6130, Nokia 6150, Nokia 8810.
Phones had a color screen and custom ringtones that were released during this year. This was a step-up in mobile phones. Still, these phones weren't that usable and cost close to $1,000 at the time.
1999: Samsung launched the first phone with an MP3 player. There were also cell phones with GPS-enabled at this time, which was an important pre-cursor to having map data on your phone today.
Phones were also being built with cameras at this time, though the camera looked like an eyesore as a giant circle on the upper right of the phone.
2000: During this year, that "Nokia 3310", one of the most iconic phones of all time, was released. This phone would go on to be one of the best-selling cell phones to this day.
2001: The first cell phones with infrared, radio, and Bluetooth, along with calendar software were released.
2005: The first waterproof cell phone was launched. To me, it's interesting to see this incremental improvements over time in the cell phone. The development did not stand still.
2008: The first Android mobile phone was launched, which was called, "HTC Dream". Phones at this time that did not move to a buttonless interface were going to drastically reduce in sales, like the Blackberry.
2009: Around the time the world fell into economic crisis, the first 4G phone network was launched. The first phone with Google Maps was released at this time as well.
2013: The first phone with a fingerprint sensor was released in the "iPhone 5S', by Apple.
2014: The first One Plus One Phone was launched. The Samsung Galaxy S5 was also launched at this time. This was the first smart phone to feature a heart rate monitor.
2019: Launch of the 5G network.
2020: Folding display phone are released during this year.
2022: An iPhone, the iPhone 14 with satellite connectivity, was launched.
Phones have gone from large and bulky devices to small and interconnected devices that make our lives much easier. The future of the phone will continue to evolve over time, and I see our phones doing more and more for us as time goes on.
What do you think about the history of the mobile phone, and where do you see it going in the future?
Online writer since 2008. I enjoy writing and have written nearly a thousand tech related articles about electric vehicles, software, tech companies, hardware, gaming, tech related products, and company developments in tech.