Cell Phones: How have they changed and why?

Sean Quan, Staff Writer

Cell phones are a part of the lives of millions of people. On buses, in schools, at work. Everyone nowadays seems like they have some type of cell phone. How did they start?

The first way to communicate long distances started back in the 1830s, however this wasn’t your typical hand held device. It was called the telegraph, it transmits electrical signals through wires into different stations. They used morse code, consisting of dots and dashes to give messages. It wasn’t very fast, but much better than riding a horse throughout the country to send messages. For another 30 to 40 years the telegraph was the main source of communication.

Out with the telegraph and in with the new, in 1876 the telephone was invented by Alexander Graham Bell. Mostly used in businesses, it converted sound into electrical signals. This went down into a receiver through wires and through a reverse process, recreating sound. Later on, Bell created the photophone which transmitted sound on light.

Between 1915 – 1965 improvements to long distance communication were happening, from satellites, radio telephones, and telephone services. Most of these however, were still not very cheap. It would cost $10 to use radio phones for 3 minutes back in the 1920s, and with inflation, that would cost around $130 dollars by today.

When the 1970s arrived, the first cellular mobile call was placed by Martin Cooper using a prototype by Motorola. Soon Japan released the first automated commercial cellular network, 1G. After almost a decade, Motorola then released the first commercially available phone, named “The Brick”. This phone had around 30 minutes of talk time and took 10 hours to charge. Shortly thereafter, Motorola released a much lighter and portable phone called the MicroTAC.

The 1990s showed one of the most impactful technological innovations, the Nokia 1011 became the first mass-produced global mobile phone using 2G cellular technology. In the same year, the first text message was sent saying “Merry Christmas.” A year later the first smartphone was introduced, the IBM Simon. Then on, multiple variations of the smartphone appeared through 1993 – 2005.

A revolution for the standard on modern smartphones changed when the Iphone came around in 2007. Most phones had a keyboard you could type with and small screens, the iphone was different. It may have been one of the most significant moments in the smartphone industry.

With just 3 years passing by and 4G entering the world, Samsung creates their version of the smartphone, similar to the Iphone design, it had a fierce competition with Apple. Soon almost every company started using the keyboardless, compact, touchscreen design on phones.

With the ever expanding growth of the technology for smartphones, better and more complex designs may be released into the market in the near future. Making them more affordable and easier to obtain.