Wednesday, December 16, 2015

The Era of the Cell Phone

By James Diamond
Imagine a dark, cold night on a desolate road, when suddenly your car stops running. If this took place before 1973, the only choice you would have had is to hope that another car stops to help you or that you are athletic enough to walk many miles to the closest gas station. All of this changed when Martin Cooper, General Manager, of Motorola’s Communications Systems Division invented a handset that was 9 inches long and weighed 2.5 lbs.

The date was April 3, 1973. Cooper called a rival, Joel Engel, Head Researcher of Bell Labs, another telecommunication company, and told him that he was speaking to him via a mobile phone. It only had 30 minutes of talk time and it took 10 hours to charge but it did work. Although still in the first stages of life, a new era of communications was born.

Many early cell phones were considered to be car phones because they were too large to carry. However, for the next ten years, Cooper and his team of engineers worked on many different designs. In 1983, the first commercially available cell phone was produced by Motorola called the DynaTAC that weighed only 16 ounces. They were, however, extremely expensive and cost $3,500. Therefore, the average person did not have access to them. This product was primarily available for use in communications in the sales and business world.

Seven years later, after much research and design changes, one million United States citizens were now able to purchase a cellular phone and subscribe to the service. These earliest models allowed users access to e-mails, use the phone as a fax machine, pager, and address book. This trend has continued today with the purpose of cell phones shifting from a form of verbal communications to a multimedia tool. This mobile device or “smart phone” can be used to access the web, check e-mails, snap photos, update your social media through face book, twitter, etc., text or even what it was originally invented for - to talk! 

The invention of the cell phone and its evolution has changed our lives forever. The original flip phone is now considered ancient history. They are much smaller, and the keyboards on most phones are now being replaced by the touch screen. The top companies competing for your business by upgrading their products are Samsung, Nokia, Apple and 2G. They certainly have a lot to compete for. Statistics show that from 1983 to 2014, worldwide mobile phone subscribers grew to more than seven billion.

Cell phones contribute a great value to our society. They enable us to keep in touch with family members at all times. They are used to conduct business anywhere and for any emergency. Unlike years ago, one can stay in touch with anyone, anywhere, at any time. Our parents may have had to walk to that gas station on that cold, desolate road in the 70’s, but luckily ,thanks to this great invention, we do not.

James Diamond is a senior studying Graphic Design at St. Thomas Aquinas College.

Works Cited:
The History and Evolution of Cell Phones. n.d. http://www.artinstitutes.ed/the history-and-
evolution-of-cellphones. Web. 7 Dec. 2015
Martin Cooper – Inventor of the Cell Phone. n.d.
 Web/ 7 Dec. 2015


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