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How the telephone lost its cord
title graphics How the telephone lost its cord

First mobile call

Foto Martin Cooper / Quelle:wikimedia.org On April 3rd 1973 Motorola manager Martin Cooper made a phone call with Foto Motorola DynaTAC 8000X / Quelle:wikimedia.org Joel Engel, head of the cellular program at AT&T. Cooper stood on Sixth Avenue in New York with a cellphone prototype from Motorola. Via the first cell the call was transferred into the fixed line network which effectively demonstrated the new technique. On 21st September 1983 Motorola's first cellphone named DynaTAC 8000X (see photo on the right) received admission from FCC and started to be sold. In spite of its 800g weight, its size of 33x4,5x9cm, the low battery life of under one hour and its hefty prize of initially $3,995 it was bought more than 300.000 times during the first year.

Like many inventions this had also a military history. Like Nokia also Motorola produced walkie-talkies for the army and later on for the police. At Motorola this success story started with the Handie-Talkie, a radiotelephone for the parachutist in World War II. Later on it was enhanced for police radio.

Martin Cooper noted later that Motorola recognized the deficits of the car phones early and they heard from the police that they had a desire for a mobile device. “People did not want to be chained to the walls, or stuck in their cars or homes; they liked to move around. We built radios and pagers and saw how they became everyday objects the smaller they became. That's how you build a religion, a business religion and the essence of that religion is that no thing can be too small or too light.”

Handover

A lot more complicated was the research on how a phone can move from cell to cell. Motorola adopted the 1946 patented idea of a radio cell from Bell Labs and developed the handover where the cellphone is passed to the next cell when the reception level permits this. In 1977 the first mobile network was established between Washington D.C. and Baltimore but only in 1978 the FCC reserved the needed frequency bands for cellular communication. With the admission of the first cellphone, the DynaTAC 8000X, the success began in 1983. “The people accepted it at once. They had seen it on Star Trek and other science fiction movies. While other science was hard to understand the people saw the benefit immediately.”, Don Linder, responsible for the sale of the DynaTAC remembers.

Marketing

From the very beginning Motorola used a dual strategy in its marketing: One campaign targeted business men which are traveling a lot and suffer from expensive telephone bills in hotels while the other campaign targeted housewives which want to stay in touch with their families and friends while shopping. Motorola benefited from its experience selling fixed line phones: They started as business devices but only became a mass market in the US when they addressed the communication needs of housewives.

Standardizing

Another step while developing cellular communication was the early work standardizing the technique which began as early as 1982. Only with the GSM standard the mass market could develop, also in Germany. In this country GSM based cellular networks started in 1992, 19 years after the first call. The first cellular phone from Motorola which still looked a lot like the DynaTAC 8000X was the >Motorola International 3200.

Milestones

Year Picture Brand Model Wireless Standards Characteristics
1973 Motorola DynaTAC Prototyp proprietary First experimental cellphone
1983 Motorola >DynaTAC 8000X AMPS First commercially available cellphone
1992 Motorola >International 3200 GSM 900 First GSM cellphone
1992 Nokia >1011 GSM 900 First Nokia GSM cellphone
1994 e-plus >PT-11 GSM 1800 First GSM 1800 cellphone
1994 IBM >Simon AMPS First Smartphone and first cellphone with touchscreen
1995 Siemens >S3 GSM 900 First cellphone with SMS
1996 Nokia >9000 Communicator GSM 900 First Nokia smartphone
1997 Motorola >StarTAC 85 GSM 900 First GSM clamshell and first cellphone with vibrating alert
1997 Siemens >S10 GSM 900 First cellphone with 4-color-display
1997 Motorola >8900 GSM 900/1800 First GSM dualband cellphone with manual switch between GSM 900 and 1800
1998 Motorola >6150 GSM 900/1800 First GSM dualband cellphone with automatic switch between GSM 900 and 1800
1999 Siemens >S25 GSM 900/1800 First cellphone with graphic display
1999 Nokia >7110 GSM 900/1800 First cellphone with WAP
1999 Toshiba >Camesse Petit PDC First cellphone with camera
2001 Ericsson >T39m GSM 900/1800/1900 First cellphone with Bluetooth
2001 Ericsson >T68m GSM 900/1800/1900 First cellphone with 256-color-display
2001 Nokia >8310 GSM 900/1800 First cellphone with FM radio
2002 Nokia >7650 GSM 900/1800 First cellphone with integrated VGA camera
2002 SonyEricsson >T68i GSM 900/1800/1900 First cellphone with MMS
2003 Sharp >GX10 GSM 900/1800 First cellphone with 65.000-color-displayFarbdisplay
2003 SonyEricsson >P800 GSM 900/1800/1900 First cellphone with color touchscreen
2003 Motorola >A830 UMTS
GSM 900/1800/1900
First UMTS cellphone
2004 SonyEricsson >Z1010 GSM 900/1800 First cellphone with front camera
2006 LG >KG920 GSM 900/1800/1900 First cellphone with 5 megapixel camera
2007 Apple >iPhone GSM 850/900/1800/1900 First smartphone with finger operated Multitouch-screen
2008 Apple >iPhone 3G UMTS
GSM 850/900/1800/1900
First iPhone with UMTS
2008 HTC >Dream UMTS
GSM 850/900/1800/1900
First Android smartphone
2010 Nokia >N8 UMTS
GSM 850/900/1800/1900
First smartphone with 12 megapixel camera
2010 Nokia >808 Pureview UMTS
GSM 850/900/1800/1900
First smartphone with 41 megapixel camera
2010 HTC >Velocity 4G Pureview LTE
UMTS
GSM 850/900/1800/1900
First LTE smartphone
2010 Vivo >X20 Plus UD LTE
UMTS
GSM 850/900/1800/1900
First Smartphone with in-display fingerprint sensor
2018 Motorola >MOTO Z3 5G
LTE
UMTS
GSM 850/900/1800/1900
First 5G smartphone (by use of add-on module)

Recommended Links

>The Skyynet cellphone database shows all cellphones with their data

>History of Mobile Data


Overview

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