From Motorola DynaTAC to the iPhone 6s:
Most of us cannot imagine life without our iPhone or Android. The cell phones of today are light years away from of the past. In fact, even the latest version of the iPhone, iPhone 6, is today virtually unrecognizable from the first iPhone introduced by Steve Jobs in a packed auditorium in 2007. We thought it would be a good idea to take a quick look at the history of cell phones. So, let’s get started!
The earliest cell phones were what were called as “car phones”… they were too large to carry around in a pocket or purse. The first real cell phone was the Motorola DynaTAC 8000x. It was a functional device, but still large by today’s standards. It was made popular by the iconic character Gordon Gekko, played by Michael Douglas in the film Wall Street. But cell phones then were only a niche technology, used by traders and business executives.
It was in the 1990’s, with the entry of a virtually unknown company from Finland, Nokia, that cell phones really grew in popularity. The Nokia 2100 series and the 6110 were very popular back then. It was Nokia that introduced the idea of unique ringtones for cell phones. Between 1994 and 1999, Nokia sold as many as 370 million cell phones, and suddenly became one of the most important companies in the world.
The 2000s were the days of the Blackberry mobile. It was the ultimate status symbol – every serious business executive wanted to be seen with one. Mobile phones quickly became very popular, not just in the West, but also in the underdeveloped parts of the world, such as India and Africa.
Nokia was by far the leading cell phone company, but other manufacturers, such as Motorola, Erickson and Sony also had a good market share. Responding to consumer demand for more features, cell phone manufacturers were forced to make their phones become much more than just a device for voice calls and texts. Almost every month, new models were released, with exciting new innovations. It was a highly competitive world and consumers were the biggest beneficiaries.
It was also the time when 3G was introduced – which meant that the mobile networks could now carry data, and not just voice or text. Mobile internet was introduced and this transformed the way people looked at cell phones completely. Cameras on mobile phones became a common feature as well.
It was in 2007 that Steve Jobs introduced the iPhone. Jobs called it the world’s first smartphone. It was more than just a phone, it was a computer, which could fit into your hands. While the iPhone was a major hit from the moment it was released, nobody really imagined at that stage just how transformative it would turn out to be.
Hundreds of millions of iPhones were sold in just a few years and there really was no contest between the iPhone and the other cell phone companies of the day. Suddenly, there were no takers for Blackberry and Nokia’s best days were behind it. It was only when Google released Android, an operating system for smartphones and gave it away for free to any cell phone company that would take it, that iPhone faced a real threat.
HTC made the first great smartphone that was not made by Apple, and soon, the South Korean company Samsung Electronics entered the field with its Android phones belonging to the Samsung Galaxy series. Since then, the competition between Apple and Samsung has been a bitterly fought one, with neither willing to yield ground to the other.
So, what will the future of smartphones be like? Experts have predicted that the smartphones of the future will have highly flexible, bendable screens; be self-powered with batteries that don’t need to be recharged, and be powered by Near Field Communications (NFC) chips, which allow for contactless communication between two devices (just like Bluetooth except that you don’t have to program the devices to communicate with one another).
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