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    Cell phone history: From the first phone to today's smartphone wonders

    Join us on a journey through cell phone history as we go from the very first cell phone to today's smartphone wonders.

    Home > News > Cell phone history: From the first phone to today's smartphone wonders

    Cell phone history: From the first phone to today's smartphone wonders

    Cell phone history: From the first phone to today's smartphone wonders Join us as we take a journey through cell phone history and learn all about the evolution of the mobile phone!

    By Ivana Križanović Tue, 04 Aug 2020

    Updated onThu, 02 Dec 2021

    We’re all so used to smartphones being an integral part of our lives, but not long ago, this device did not exist.

    So how did we get here? How did we go from a can on a string to having the whole world in the palm of our hand?

    Join us as we take a journey through cell phone history and learn all about the evolution of this essential device.

    When was the first cell phone invented?

    The first portable cell phone was invented in 1973 by Motorola. On April 3, 1973, Motorola engineer Martin Cooper made the first-ever cell phone call on the DynaTAC 8000X. The prototype he used weighed 2.4 lb (1.1 kg)  and measured 9.1 x 5.1 x 1.8 in (23 x 13 x 4.5 cm). This clunky device offered a talk time of just 30 minutes and required 10 hours to recharge. Before this, the closest that one could get to not being tied to a landline was owning a car phone.

    The DynaTAC phone was priced at $3,995, which is the equivalent of $10,000 today.

    When did cell phones become popular?

    Cell phones became popular during the cellular revolution that started in the 90s.  In 1990, the number of mobile users was around 11 million, and by 2020, that number had risen to a whopping 2.5 billion.

    Of course, during this time, we have seen the famous “brick” phones evolve to something much more impressive… but let’s see how exactly they evolved.


    1985 The first Siemens phone 

    The first Siemens mobile phone was Siemens Mobiltelefon C1, which came in the form of a suitcase. Yes, you read that right. People had a cell phone that was actually a suitcase. After that, some more compact phones followed.


    1987 The first Nokia phone

    In 1987, Nokia launched their first mobile phone, the Mobira Cityman 900. The phone weighed only 800g (28 oz) including the battery, and was considered expensive and exclusive to those of a higher status.


    1988 The first Samsung phone

    A year later, in 1988, Samsung developed its first “handphone" — The SH-100. It was officially the first mobile phone to be designed and manufactured in Korea.


    1989 The first flip phone

    After many similar brick-style cell phones, Motorola innovated again by bringing the "flip" design to the market. Before Motorola’s MicroTAC model, most cell phones were bulky and usually installed in cars due to their size.


    1992 The first GSM (2G) phone

    As we moved into the 90s, phone bodies became smaller and the antennas thinner. In 1992, the next big innovation came in the form of the Nokia 1011, which was the first mass-produced GSM (2G) phone.

    The first text message ever sent to a cellphone 

    That same year, the first-ever text message was also sent. It was sent by a developer to the company director at Vodafone’s office Christmas party. The text message simply said: “Merry Christmas!”


    1994  First smartphone (and touchscreen phone) 

    The first smartphone was introduced much sooner than a lot of people imagine. Released in 1994, IBM’s Simon was the first device to feature apps and a touchscreen, thus it is considered the world’s first smartphone.

    Although this early smartphone never took off, “regular” cell phones continued to gain popularity while becoming more compact and varied in design. There were more flip phones, slider phones were introduced, and then Motorola innovated yet again.


    1996  First phone to introduce vibrate mode 

    Motorola StarTAC was the first clam-shell phone and the first phone to introduce vibration.

    First phone with a QWERTY keyboard 

    The first QWERTY cell phone was the Nokia Communicator 9000 released in 1996. Besides having a keyboard, the Communicator 9000 also introduced many business-related features such as email, web browsing, fax, word processing, and spreadsheets.

    Source : versus.com

    Timeline from 1G to 5G: A Brief History on Cell Phones

    The timeline from 1G to 5G took just over 40 years, changing the history of cell phones as each new cellular generation was introduced.

    More Innovation: 5G Innovation

    Timeline from 1G to 5G: A Brief History on Cell Phones

    By Richard Galazzo - September 21, 2020

    Updated: January 24, 2022

    From 1G to 5G: The History of Cell Phones and their Cellular Generations

    The timeline and history from 1G to 5G took just over 40 years since the introduction of wireless cellular technology. And a lot has changed since then.

    Cell phones have become smaller.

    Download speeds have become faster.

    Text messaging has come (and almost gone).

    Surfing the internet with phones became common.

    The steam of social media posting continues.

    And apparently, there’s an app for nearly everything now.

    The timeline from 1G to 5G couldn’t have happened without creating and enhancing each generation of telecommunications leading to what it is today. Roughly every ten years since 1979, each newer generation has changed how we communicate, further improving our way of life.

    Diving into the abyss of information, let’s take a look at the timeline from 1G to 5G, briefly looking at each generation to find out what it had to offer. We’ll also look at the most popular cell phones used during the time.


    Launched by Nippon Telegraph and Telephone in 1979, 1G was first introduced to the citizens of Tokyo. By 1984, the first generational network covered all of Japan, making it the first country to have 1G service nationwide.

    It wasn’t until March 6, 1983, that Ameritech introduced 1G to the United States. Soon after, Canada got coverage in the mid-1980s.

    Although the cellphone prototype was made in 1973 (10 years before the North American launch of 1G), Motorola introduced the first commercially available cellphone to the public in 1983 -the DynaTAC.

    Weighing in at 2 pounds, the Motorola DynaTac provided 30 minutes of talk time and took roughly 10 hours to charge.

    Nicknamed “The Brick,” the Motorola DynaTAC was valued at USD 3,995 (USD 10,300 today). Although being a clunky, bulk, and awkward phone to use, DynaTAC sales were more than expected. Within the first year alone, Ameritech sold roughly 1,200 Motorola DynaTAC phones. By 1998, cellphones and similar services accounted for two-thirds of Motorola’s revenues.

    1980’s Motorola DynaTAC Commercial

    Although being a revolutionary technology at the time, 1G suffered major drawbacks from today’s standards. Listening to somebody over a 1G network was difficult due to the low sound quality. Coverage was also shoddy, with large amounts of static noise and background crackling. No roaming support was provided either. Security didn’t exist over a 1G channel because there was no encryption, meaning anybody with a radio scanner could drop in on a call. Download speed over 1G was also incredibly slow and only reached around 2.4kbps.

    Although progressive for its time, 1G still had a lot of room for growth.

    According to Wikipedia, Russia has the only 1G cellular network still in operation.


    Following the success of 1G, 2G launched on the Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM) in Finland in 1991.

    2G provided significant mobile talk advancements, introducing encrypted calls (nobody could drop in on your call unwanted anymore). 2G also improved sound quality, reducing static and crackling noises while you were talking. 2G’s download speeds were also significantly faster (but still incredibly slow by today’s standards) than 1G, averaging at about 0.2 Mbps during its lifetime.

    The 2G network also allowed us to transfer data bits from one phone to another, enabling access to media content on cellphones such as ring tones. Because we could now transfer data, 2G also gave us some basic smartphone functionality.

    However, that wasn’t the most state-of-the-art benefit of this data transfer feature. In fact, 2G’s data transferring completely changed how we communicate by introducing text messages (SMS) and multimedia messages (MMS) as new forms of communication.

    Using the same control channels as talk, SMS and MMS messages are sent in packets of data from your cell phone to a tower then to your friend’s phone.

    “Candy bar phones” also became popular during the 2G era, with Nokia in the lead producing popular cellphones such as the Nokia 3210.

    Considered one of the most compelling cellphones Nokia ever built, the 3210 model sold over 160 million units.

    As texting, downloading, and talking over the phone became more popular, the 2G network led to the massive adoption of cellphones on both the consumer and business side. Yet, as more and more people began using cell phones, the demand for data snowballed.


    Deployed for the public in Japan by NTT DoCoMo in 2001, 3G focused on standardizing vendors’ network protocol. In turn, users could access data from anywhere, which allowed international roaming services to begin.

    Compared to 2G, 3G had four times the data transferring capabilities reaching up to 2 Mbps on average. Because of this increase, video streaming, video conferences, and live video chat (remember good old Skype) became real. Emails also became another standard form of communication over mobile devices.

    What made 3G revolutionary, though, was the ability to surf the internet (basic HTML pages at the time) and stream music on mobile. Although 2G did offer the same features, they weren’t as advanced as what 3G had in terms of download speed.

    Source : www.cengn.ca

    When Did Cell Phones Become Popular? Mobile History & Evolution

    One of the key factors that led to how cell phones became popular was the development of the smartphone. It made them more capable than ever before.

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    When Did Cell Phones Become Popular? Mobile History & Evolution

    Written by Mike Chuin Mobile

    Cell phones have come a long way since their debut in the early 1980s. They’ve gone from being an expensive and rare luxury item to a ubiquitous piece of technology that most people can’t imagine living without. But when did cell phones become popular? And what factors led to their widespread adoption?

    The first mobile phone went on sale in the US in 1983. Cell phones started becoming popular in the early 2000s. By 2007, around 3.3 billion mobile devices were in use. Some countries now have more cellular phones than people. For example, in 2006, Italy had 134 cell phones for every 100 people.

    One of the key factors that led to their widespread adoption was the development of the smartphone, which made cell phones more powerful and capable than ever before. So grab your mobile, and let’s get started! Let’s take a look at the history of the cell phone and how it has transformed our lives.

    3 Reasons Cell Phones Became Popular In The 2000s

    Here are 3 factors that created the perfect storm that led to the widespread adaptation of cell phones in the 2000s.

    Source: The book How do cellphones work?

    1. More Useable for Personal Communication

    In the early days of cell phones, they were primarily used by businesses and governments because of their higher price tags.

    But as technology advanced and prices dropped, cell phones became more commonplace. More people used them for personal communication.

    This led to increased demand, which drove down prices even further. And the cycle continued, with cell phones becoming even more ubiquitous and affordable over time.

    2. Advances in Cellular Network

    Cellular network technology saw significant advancements in the 2000s, making cell phones more accessible and popular.

    In mid-2001, the first commercial 3G network was launched in Japan, and by 2010, there were over 2.3 billion 3G subscribers worldwide.

    These advancements allowed faster downloads, web browsing, streaming, and better voice quality and video calling.

    3. The Release of the Apple iPhone in 2007

    The release of the Apple iPhone in 2007 was a watershed moment for cell phone technology.

    The iPhone had an innovative and sleek design, but it also operated on a new operating system–iOS–which turned the mobile phone into a mini-computer that could surf the internet and run applications like desktop computers.

    The iPhone was marketed as a “smartphone” that could do more than make calls and send texts.

    Today, smartphones are more popular than ever before and show no signs of slowing down.

    Fiction Anticipated The Development Of Cell Phones: The Imagination Always Paves The Way To New Inventions

    Science fiction has always been a harbinger of future technology, and it’s not surprising that some of the earliest depictions of cell phones can be found in science fiction.

    The earliest example is Lewis Baumer, who published a cartoon in Punch entitled “Forecasts for 1907.” He showed a man and a woman in London’s Hyde Park using wireless telegraphy to date and gamble.

    Later in 1923, Ilya Ehrenurg mentioned “pocket telephones” as one of the latest technological advancements in his collection of short stories, Thirteen Pipes.

    Phone Camera Technology (5 Features) And What You Didn’t Know About Them

    Source: Wikipedia

    Another artist, Karl Arnold, drew a visionary cartoon about the use of mobile phones in the street in 1926. The German satirical magazine Simplicissimus published the picture “wireless telephony.”

    Part A: A History of Mobile Phones (1973- 1989) Time Lapse

    1. The Forgotten Story of Car Phones: The First Mobile Phones

    Source: Wikipedia

    Back in the day, car phones were a must-have for anyone who wanted to stay connected while on the go.

    These days, of course, everyone has a cell phone, and there’s no need for a separate car phone. But back in the day, car phones were a big deal.

    They worked by connecting to the car’s electrical system and using its speaker and microphone to make calls.

    They were bulky and heavy, but they allowed people to stay connected even on the road.

    And of course, they were popular among celebrities and wealthy business people who could afford them.

    2. The First handheld Cell Phone Prototype: Martin Cooper At Motorola (1973)

    Source : dataoverhaulers.com

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