Today is the cell phone’s 40th birthday — how far we have come


On April 3rd, 1973 Motorola Engineer Martin Cooper placed the first call from a cellular telephone. 40 years later, is it merely a coincidence that the company that gave birth to the modern mobile phone is now owned by the most dominant force in the smartphone industry? It’s definitely a sign of how far we have come. In the early days, it was a technical feat simply to connect a wireless call on fledgeling networks. Today, the focus is on the software that drives the devices connecting to high-speed data networks.

In a few more years, the cellphone as it was once conceived will no longer exist. Voice-over-IP calling will replace traditional cellular networks. The focus will continue to shift to messaging, media, and social interactions taking place on a smartphone that would have been considered a super computer in 1973.

Could those building the first cellphones have envisioned where the technology would end up just shy of a half-century later? What do the next 40 years hold for the future of mobile? For mobile fans, it is an exciting time full of promise. So cheers to Mr. Cooper and all the pioneers who helped make the mobile phone a possibility, and happy 40th birthday to the cellphone. We’re looking forward to what the coming years hold.


Kevin Krause
Pretty soon you'll know a lot about Kevin because his biography will actually be filled in!

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  1. We went from huge phones in the 70’s to tiny Nokia phones in the 90’s/early 2000’s and now back to big ass phones again. Also, crappy battery life have remained the same.

  2. When Motorola came up with the idea of the Cellular Phone they never had the consumer market in mind. They wanted to make a portable phone for doctors and businessmen at the time.

    1. Because that is all that would really be able to afford them then.

    2. and internet / automotive / computer also not focus on consumer market at first

  3. Motorola should have announced the X phone today.

  4. I see they also had Justin Bieber back in those days

    1. Duuude that was Zack he was actually cool

      1. And Zack Attack! was much more talented.

      2. WORD!!!

  5. These 40th birthday of cellular stories today are making me nuts. It isn’t the birthday of cellular. It was the first portable mobile phone. That isn’t the same thing… cellular was only a theory in 1973, it didn’t exist physically yet. The first cellular prototype was done almost half a decade after this. http://www.makeuseof.com/tag/history-mobile-phones/

    1. actually it did, but it wasn’t available till about 10 years later to the public.

      1. The phone wasn’t a cell phone regardless of your statement (which needs citation). It was a portable on the mobile telephone service. That was the predecessor to the cellular networks.

  6. Article needs more cake.

    1. with buttcreme frosting

    2. *buttercreme
      buttcreme would probably work too though

  7. I thought NASA invented the cellphone!
    I know NASA didn’t.

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