The Evolution Of The Smartphone

SmIt is probably fair to suggest that when Alexander Graham Bell developed the first working prototype of the telephone, he could not have envisaged the devices which we carry around in our pockets today.

The smartphones we use today weigh only around 180 grams, but manage to pack in thousands of times more computing power than the Apollo computers used by NASA for the first moon landings. Mobile phones have evolved hugely in a very short period of time, and they’re not finished yet.

History Of The Mobile Phone

1973

The very first ‘true’ mobile phone arrived in 1973, courtesy of the Motorola corporation.

The handset for the Motorola DynaTAC weighed in at a chunky two kilos, thus providing users with a little work-out as well as a means of communication.The first mobile phone call was made by an exec at Motorola to a rival at the Bell plant, presumably to let him know that they’d gotten there first.

1985

The UK had to wait until 1985 for the first mobile phones to arrive. The very first ‘official’ mobile phone call was made by comedian Ernie Wise, although the son of the Vodafone chairman had surprised his dad with a call to ring in the new year a few days earlier. That first phone cost £2,000, equivalent to around £5,000 today, and weighed in at a whopping eleven kilos.

1992

The very first text message was sent by 22-year-old test engineer Neil Papworth on the third of December 1992. Papworth sent the message from his computer in Berkshire to the phone of a director at Vodafone. And that first message? ‘Merry Christmas’. Around 8 trillion texts are sent each year, although messaging services like WhatsApp are now more commonly used that traditional SMS messaging.

Texting can be dangerous though, as the University of North Texas Health Science Center estimated that between the years of 2001 and 2007 16,000 traffic deaths occurred as a result of drivers being distracted by texting.

2000 – 2002

The very first camera phone was invented in Japan at the end of 2000, but the J-SH04 was only available for sale in that country.

Camera phones started appearing in Europe in 2002, and of course today having a camera on your phone is seen as a minimum requirement. Of course today’s smartphones are no more or less than a hand-held personal computer, capable of any number of functions.

The first true smartphone appeared in 2000 as well, in the form of the Ericsson R380 Smartphone, although there were various phones and PDAs before then which could also lay claim to the title.

2007

Apple came along with the iPhone in 2007, and, well, that pretty much changed the game.

Future Of Mobile Phones

As for what the future holds for the smartphone, the jury is still out on that one. It may be that the phone as we know it today won’t exist at all, replaced by a watch, or glasses, or even contact lenses.

A lot of people who know about these things are predicting that AR (augmented reality) technology will replace handheld smartphones, assuming that they catch on a bit better than the ill-fated ‘Google Glass’. However it works out, let’s hope that somebody figures out how to extend the battery life of the smartphone of the future so that it’s able to stay powered up for longer than a day!

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