40 years ago today, Motorola engineer Martin Cooper made one of the most important phone calls in the mobile phones history. Mr Cooper in New York, called Joel Engel of AT&T (a rival firm) and said “Joel, this is Marty. I’m calling you from a cellphone, a real handheld portable cellphone. I’m ringing you just to see if my call sounds good at your end. ” This call not only symbolised a turning point in the technology’s history, but also marked the end of the race to produce the first portable phone, handing Motorola the win.
It was on a Motorola DynaTAC 8000x which measured 9in tall, and had over 30 circuit boards within it. Its average talk time was 35 mins but needed 10 hours to recharge the huge battery. It’s hard to believe that current smart phones descended from this device. Nowadays we worry less about the quality of the phone call and more the quality of internet access, maps, games and apps which our phones are powered to command.
Portable phones were primarily aimed at business men who needed to make calls on the go, now most of us could not imagine a life without the trusty smart phone in our hand as the industry alone generates annual revenues of around £800bn globally.
The Tech Spy can’t wait to see what the next 40 years of technology in this field brings the humble mobile phone.