Call Me… 43 years on from the 1st mobile phone call

Text me. Call me from the store. There’s an app for that. All part of everyday speech thanks to the invention of the mobile phone. The mobile, initially an expensive ‘nice to have’ item, has become a necessity. In the days before mobile phones you had to write a list of what you needed at the grocery store. And it included everything but the kitchen sink.  You couldn’t just ring your partner to ask what cereal they liked or if you needed toothpaste for the kids.

Of the many technological advancements in the 21st Century, the mobile has perhaps had the biggest impact on our daily lives. Not only has it changed how we communicate, but also how we work, rest and play. We use our mobile phones to make purchases, do our banking, keep track of our health or live stream events and nights out.

The times have certainly changed. When Motorola’s  Martin Cooper made the first mobile phone call 43 years ago on the 3rd April 1973 his vision was freedom from the infamous ‘copper wire’. To be able to communicate anytime, anywhere was the lofty dream.

History reveals Cooper relished beating rivals in inventing a portable device which has fundamentally changed our lives.

On the streets of Manhattan, Cooper rang his chief rival Dr Joel S Engel at Bell Labs to deliver the news Motorola had a functional mobile phone -- a prototype DynaTAC. Cooper told the BBC in 2011 the call went down like this: “Joel, this is Marty. I’m calling you from a cellphone, a real, handheld, portable cellphone. There was silence on the other end.”

That’s a mobile? This is a mobile

The shift and the pace of change since that historic call is amazing. The first commercially available mobile phone, the DynaTAC 8000x, was a brick, tipping the scales at a colossal 2.5 pounds or 1.13kg and 10 inches tall. It certainly didn’t fit in your pocket – you needed a briefcase just to carry it around. Today, phones even on the larger end of the scale – the iPhone 6s Plus with a screen size of 5.5 inches for example – are slight compared to the gigantic DynaTAC.

320px DynaTAC8000X 1

Source: Redrum0486/CC-BY-SA-3.0

While mobiles have certainly shrunk, and pack in more features than Motorola’s first portable telephone, arguably the greatest change has been in how we use the device. Mobile phones have become an extension of our lifestyles. And there is a feeling of fear or nervousness when our mobile is out of our reach. For many it is the first thing we pick up as we head out the door and the last thing we put down before going to sleep.

Talking to your partner, friends or colleagues is just the beginning. We shop online, we check the weather, we buy and sell shares, we stream music, we play games, we source recipes, we use it for education – there are a countless number of uses for our mobile device. There is a reason, ‘there’s an app for that’ has become part of the vernacular. Now you can even open your locks with your mobile device, thanks to LockSmart, Dog & Bone’s keyless, Bluetooth padlock. 

LockSmart padlock on blue gate with app 002

LockSmart -- open this padlock with your phone

The mobile has certainly come a long way since the first device sought to free us from the shackles of communicating from a place; whether at work or home or a payphone on the street.

What do you think have been the biggest advancements in mobile technology since the first call in 1973?


4 Sep




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