April 1973 marked the momentous event of the first call being made from a “real handheld portable cell phone” by Motorola engineer, Marty Cooper. Jump for 34 years into the future and Steve Jobs announces the first iPhone, a device which would create irreparable waves in the tech industry, the world has since then never recovered.
We find ourselves now in 2016 where there are no signs for a slow down in innovation. Mobile phones have evolved dramatically since the fateful day in 1973. Many of the early cell phones were considered to be “car phones” – too cumbersome to carry around in ones’ pocket or purse. From the rise of SMS, mobile photography and the convenience of anytime, anywhere Internet connectivity, the cell phone has been the catalyst for cultural and technological changes over the past 43 years. Globalization, with its positive and negative effects on the human race, has stretched leaps and bounds ever since the most convenient way to communicate was developed. Our lives seem to rely and revolve around constant interpersonal communication and limitless information on tap at the tip of our fingers.
Let’s take a look at the cell phones life, a few of its defining moments:
· The Brick Phone (1983)
The classic brick phone had an LED screen and boasted 30 minute of talk time with 8 hours of standby, it was considered the first mobile phone as it was small enough to be carried around. The Motorola DynaTAC was priced at just under $4000.00 in the early 80’s. This was a phone for the elites and trendsetters and the cell phone had yet to spread to the general public.
· The Clamshell (1989)
Motorolla MicroTAC had a red LED display and a standard 12 button keypad, plus a menu of options including a calculator, hands-free operation, keypad tones etc. This phone was priced at $2500.00 when it first hit the markets.
· The Candybar (mid 1900’s)
Nokia was the pioneer of its generation. The model of the phone was given its name due to its approximate size and shape, similar to that of a candy bar.
· Satellite Phone
Motorola hybrid satellite / GSM phone was the first of its kind. A ‘satphone’ connects to orbiting satellites rather than Earth-bound cellular towers, which means that it can make a call essentially from anywhere in the world.
· The PDA (Personal Digital Assistant)
The ‘90s brought in a wave of pocket computing and touchscreen devices. The industry game changer was popularized by Palm, which launched the Palm Pilot in 1997 for a retail price of about $200 - $300. It came with a virtual keyboard, handwriting recognition and Internet connectivity which were cutting edge technologies at the time.
· Nokia 6000 Series
Who remembers playing Snake? The popular cell phone of the early 2000s made mobile communication affordable and widely available for the masses.
· Razr (2004)
Slim, sleek and pocket sized, the Motorola flip phone which was a massive hit amongst the fashion-forward crowds.
BBM took the mobile world by storm in the early ‘00s.
· The iPhone (June 2007)
Apple founder Steve Jobs launched the all-in-one digital music player, camera (2MP) and Internet-enabled PDA device, the rest is history.
App-enabled smartphones took over the market after the release of the iPhone. Google’s open-sourced Android platform made it possible for manufacturers like Samsung, LG, HTC and others to create devices based on mobile operating systems.
The future touchscreen phones are getting lighter, wider and much more powerful (like the Apple iPhone 5/5S and the Apple iPhone 6/6S/6 Plus). Devices will be more resistant and adaptable to their environments and have more battery life as technology advances. Check out the waterproof Samsung Galaxy S5 and the Sony Xperia Z.
It seems as though almost anything you can imagine is possible for the future and we believe that the convergence of all our tech gadgets into one mobile device will continue to advance. We believe that the majority of the hardware and the software can be moved to ‘the cloud’ and the end product will mainly be comprised of the input and the display. Expect regular cell phones to disappear entirely. We may not even call these phones ‘smart’ anymore and just drop the term altogether, the way we stopped saying ‘color TV’ and ‘hi-fi stereo’,” he says. Some even believe that cell phones of the future will be adapted to appeal more to our emotional senses. Being able to become even more naturally in sync with our biological reflexes and processes such as eye movement, thought processes, kinesthetic, cultural preferences etc.
It’s not just about how we will change cell phone, the question is, how will the cell phone change us?