If this article interests you, it is quite possible that you have a cell phone in your pocket. Using a mobile phone has radically changed how we communicate and give us unprecedented access to information. So how did these devices become a reality? There are key moments in history that may have influenced the evolution of the cellphone in our modern world. As with many inventions, it was a race to the patent office that led to the creation of the first cell phone.
The first cell phone emerged in 1973, but the concept of owning a portable telephone had been around since the birth of the wired telephone itself. For decades, two-way radio filled cars and looked as outdated as an old CB radio. The first cell phone invented required important developments in engineering and a rivalry between two American companies.
Old school mobile devices
Cell phones were first introduced in the 20th century. Thanks to the increase of radio communications and landline phones in the early twentieth century, it was easy why people thought that real mobile telephones would arise much sooner than they did. Mobile phones have been around for most of their history, but in the early days, they were just two-way radios connected to things that moved. The engineers, wireless telephone operators, and military personnel of German railways started to test the wireless telephones on train cars in the 1920s.
In 1924, wireless telephonic devices were installed in locomotives in Europe, which led to the first cell phone. World War II brought about an incredible innovation in radio technology. There were handheld radios gaining widespread popularity. In the years that followed, military vehicles such as tanks also received radio systems, and though they improved in quality dramatically over time, both models were still inadequate.
The changing mobile phone system
Mobile phone systems have undergone a series of developments towards their current incarnation. In response to rising demand for better mobile phone service, AT&T’s Bell Labs began developing a method of placing and receiving calls in automobiles that could accommodate increased call traffic. The cell phone was invented in 1946, with AT&T commercializing it in 1949 as Mobile Telephone Service. This service took a long time to gain momentum, though, with not many customers nationwide. The first cell phone provider required operators to connect your call from a switchboard and had you push a button once you wanted to talk and release it when the other end was speaking.
A possible disadvantage of the facilities was that the number of channels to connect to was limited in some places. Also, a single conversation could take up a whole channel for the duration of the call. While roaming charges used to exist, they were not a valid fear. Other major developments in the 1970s provided automated cell signaling and switching, which allowed people to keep connections as they moved from one area to another. Eventually, a startup company would introduce the first mobile phone as we know it today. All of these developments were used to create car phones. Martin Cooper of Motorola invented the first cell phone.
Motorola demonstrated its technological breakthrough in 1973, a decade before the world’s first portable cellphone went on sale. The Motorola DynaTAC 8000x sold for about $3,500 when it was put on the market in 1983. When it was first released, no one thought it would become a catalyst for mobile communications. Cooper felt that the credit should be shared among his co-inventors. “I conceived of the idea of cellular, but it really took teamwork. Many people created the vision that cellular is today,” he said. We are still making improvements.”