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Cellphone Dials Up Golden Moment

Did you use your cellphone today? Martin Cooper deserves an assist.


Today marks the 50th anniversary of the first cellphone call. Cooper, a Motorola engineer, stood in midtown Manhattan and placed the first public call from a handheld portable cellphone to the headquarters of Bell Labs in New Jersey.

This call forever changed the way we communicate, which allows people to make calls from nearly anywhere. Our devices have since become minicomputers with the ability for always-on connectivity through messaging, entertainment, internet access, apps and social media. In fact, most Americans – 82% – use a smartphone versus a “regular” phone.


The evolution of and increased reliance on cellphones has been revolutionary, as you can now do almost anything on your phone. Some highlights from our client UScellular include:

1984: More than 10 years after Motorola's DynaTAC cellphone, the first truly portable phone – the Motorola DynaTAC 8000x – was created and made available to consumers. It cost nearly $4,000 per device1. The device weighed more than 2 pounds and provided users with 35 minutes of talk time.

1992: The first text message (“Merry Christmas”) was sent. Soon after that, phones were introduced with full QWERTY keyboards. The Nokia Communicator 9000 debuted in the mid-1990s.

2002: The first BlackBerry phones were released in 2002. Offering cellular phone service, wireless e-mail capability and internet access, the new “smartphones” took the business world by storm.

2007: Apple’s first iPhone was introduced and boasted an all-in-one digital music player, camera and internet-enabled PDA device equipped with a touch interface that replaced the traditional QWERTY keyboard.

Today: 5G technology is being deployed, while 5G enabled devices can access connected homes, artificial intelligence and virtual reality to integrate our daily lives with a touch of our smartphones. Cellphone designs have started to become larger and simpler, which makes room for a larger screen and less buttons. Because phones have become mobile media devices, the most desirable aspect is a large, clear, high-definition screen for optimal web viewing. Today’s smartphones feature shaped and curved screens, high-quality cameras, increased storage and battery life and mobile payments.

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