16 May The History of Cell Phones
The cell phone gets its name from the system used to carry calls. A broadcast tower covers a cell a few miles in radius that carries calls and when many towers combine a larger cell is created. When a person using a cell phone travels through these cells the call is transferred from one cell to another giving us the ability to talk while traveling. Cell phones are now a modern necessity but the development of the cell phone took a lot of time as they evolved from clunky barely functioning luxuries to stylish dependable tools. Cell phone history is one with rapid changes that led to the development one of today’s most widely used gadgets.
The idea for a phone that you could take with you and use anywhere originated in the late 1940’s but it would take almost 20 years before the FCC would cooperate enough to get usable prototypes made. When the FCC finally allowed enough frequencies for a cellular phone system to be developed, the idea took off and companies like AT&T began developing prototype phones and a wireless network.
In 1973 Motorola introduced the first portable cell phone the Motorola DynaTAC 8000X which would not become commercially available until 1983. It was a far cry from today’s sleek phones and measured more than 12 inches long and weighed nearly two pounds. The first cell phone also cost much more than today’s phones at $3995. The battery powered it for only one hour of talk time and it stored a mere 30 numbers.
Luckily the cell phone industry had nowhere to go but up from the first prototypes and although slowly the cell phone began to evolve. It took until the early 1990’s for cell phones to resemble what we have today. Cell phones began to shave off pounds and inches and in 1993 BellSouth and IBM came out with the Simon Personal Communicator. It was the first phone with added features and boasted a calculator, pager, fax machine, address book, and e-mail device as well as being a phone. It weighed 20 ounces, a big improvement over the two pound giants that were its predecessors. The cost had gone down as well although the Simon still cost a whopping $900.
By the late 1990’s cell phones began to resemble the ones that are developed today as they became smaller, lighter and packed with more features. Many people now take for granted the ability to communicate on the go but it wasn’t too long ago that cell phones were huge luxuries. The cell phone’s history shows a device that went from barely feasible to widely in use in only a few short years.
By Rob Clifton