From the mid-1990s, mobile phones have progressively become more important in our daily lives. Whereas early phones were able to do no more than make phone calls and send text messages, today’s smartphones are more like small computers rather than phones. I constantly hear people at work talking about the latest apps they have downloaded to their iPhone or Android phone. And although many of the apps are useful, many are not. Because, for many of us at least, our attention span tends to be fairly short, we have this urge to keep downloading new apps to keep ourselves entertained.
The Size of Handsets
We have all seen photos of the handsets of the late ’80s and laughed at how big they were. It’s hard to believe that they were ‘mobile’ phones at all. Martin Cooper, who led the team that developed the first cell phone (the Motorola DynaTAC – 1973) once commented on the fact that although the battery life of the phone was only 20 minutes, that was not a problem because you couldn’t hold the handset for that long due to it weighing so much (2.2 pounds – 1 kg).
During the course of the 1990s, the size of handsets gradually got smaller until by the early 2000s they were so small that the keypads were, for many people, virtually unusable. I myself had such a phone and in the end had to give it to my son because my fingers were too big and I found it very difficult to avoid pressing two characters on the keypad at the same time.
Some of the Early Pioneers
I’ve already mentioned Martin Cooper who led the team that developed the first cell phone in 1973, but there have been plenty of other people who have played a significant role in the history of the mobile/cell phone. Going way back to people such as Samuel Morse and Michael Faraday who made early breakthroughs in fields such as telegraphy and electromagnetism, moving through to Alexander Graham Bell and Guglielmo Marconi who played significant roles in telephone systems and radio transmissions, respectively.
Generations of Mobile Phone
First generation (1G) mobile phones
The first automated mobile phone network for commercial purpose was launched in 1979 in Japan by NTT. Within a few years, the network had been expanded to cover Japan was fully connected.
Second generation (2G) mobile phones
During 1990s, the 2nd generation mobile phone systems were introduced. They were primarily using the standard of GSM.
Third generation (3G) mobile phones
In the mid-2000s, the 3G (third generation) mobile telephony communications protocol emerged. There were also 3.5G, 3G+ or turbo 3G protocols.
In 2018, most people cannot believe life without mobile phones. They are such important devices in our lives. And we expect more to come from manufacturing companies in terms of shape, size, speed and more technology in future.