Whatever did we do before cell phones? It’s hard to imagine a day going by without our little handheld friends. Smartphones were invented extremely recently – how did they become so popular in so little time? Let’s take a look at the timeline of cellular phones.
Before Cell Phones…
As any good Canadian knows, Alexander Graham Bell came up with the concept for the telephone while living in Brantford, Ontario! By the end of the second World War, the opinion on phones had shifted from “luxury” to “necessity” for their ability to spread word from one household to another.
Phones have technically been mobile longer than cell phones have existed. In the late 1940s, extremely crude mobile phones that had more in common with a transistor radio than your smartphone were made commercially available for some cars.
For decades, entire rooms of the house were devoted to making phone calls, as their cords kept phones rooted to their receivers! Home phones did not become mobile until the invention of the cordless phone in the early 1980s, but these early models operated at very low frequencies and were susceptible to interference from other home appliances.
Cell Phones Changed Everything!
The first mobile phone prototype was invented in April 1973 by Motorola. Weighing in at over a kilogram, this beast of a communication device could only hold a charge for half an hour and required 10 hours to charge back up! They released a commercial model a decade after their first attempt: the DynaTAC 8000X, which retailed for nearly $4000 USD.
Flash forward to the cellular revolution of the 1990s. The name “cellular” refers to the cellular transmitting and receiving service. The complex technology within a phone collaborates with the towers of a cell service provider, allowing clear communication over huge distances!
How Do Mobile Networks Work?
Areas of coverage are arranged in a grid; each of these “cells” is about 10 square miles in size. Rural areas usually suffer from a lack of cells, while densely populated areas are so full of cells that travelling from one to another is practically seamless. Making a call on a cell phone while driving on a highway entails driving through multiple cells, which is why your calls might be of inconsistent quality.
All smartphones are cellular, but not all cellular phones are smartphones. Smartphones have now overtaken every other form of mobile phone in the developed world. Next time an innovative new model of smartphone is announced, let’s tip our hats to the outdated mobile technology that has allowed us to get this far!