The cellphone turns 40 years old today

Apr 3, 2013
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Mobile phones may not be anything too special these days, but 40 years ago today, the world's first cellphone was just being born, and it was all the rage. On April 3, 1973, the first call from a cellphone was made by the inventor himself, Marty Cooper, where he called out to his rival: the head of the research department at Bell Labs, Joel Engel.

That phone call was made on a Motorola DynaTAC 8000x (pictured above), a 2.5-pound piece of machinery that was priced at $4,000 when it went on sale in 1983. When Cooper called Engel from his DynaTAC, he was quite literal with his feelings, and didn't say anything too poetic: "Joel, this is Marty. I'm calling you from a cellphone, a real handheld portable cellphone."

Of course, this may remind you of Alexander Graham Bell's work and his invention of the first practical telephone. On October 9, 1876, Bell called his assistant, Thomas Watson, and they talked by telephone to each other over a two-mile wire that stretched between Cambridge and Boston, marking it the first time that anyone had ever communicated through two-way voice over electronic signals.

As for the first cellphone, that's still a remarkable feat, and as with the traditional telephone industry, the mobile phone industry has come a long way since its inception. We went from 2.5-pound cellphones costing thousands of dollars, to devices that weight just a few ounces and can do pretty much anything. We certainly can't wait to see what the next 40 years will bring us.

Image via Flickr


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