Quite often cell phones have been termed as the greatest human invention ever. Moreover, cell phones have evolved and come a long way in almost four decades. Cell phones have changed a great deal from what they were 20 years ago from what they are now and resultantly their uses and utility has expanded and increased manifolds. The first public cell phone was developed by Martin Cooper of Motorola in 1973 (Borgobello 2013). The phone was an astounding success since it kicked off the mobile phone revolution, which has resulted in the modern day smartphones and cell phones. Though the invention of modern day cell phones dates back to 1973, it was only in 1983 that cell phones became public. Motorola’s DynaTAC 8000X was the first commercial portable cellular telephone at a price of whopping $ 3,995 (netprolive 2013). When compared with the sophisticated and cheap mobile phones available in the markets today, the first cell phone might sound too primitive but that is how it all started. Cell phones now and 20 years ago were starkly different in almost all the aspects, right from their uses, price tags, sizes and battery life.
While the mobile phones 20 years ago hardly empowered a person to engage in a long voice call, modern cell phones not only facilitates long voice and video calls but also exciting features and services like text messaging and voice mails which ensures that people are always connected to each other, no matter what.
Apart from the basic features of calling and messaging, modern day cell phones offer a bouquet of other benefits and uses. Today’s mobile phones can be used as high quality digital cameras, audio and video recorders, and as gaming platforms too. This was all but a distant dream 20 years back when cell phones lacked all these features, which are cherished and enjoyed by the people today. Today cell phones can be used for multimedia messaging and as audio players. One can stay connected to Internet right through these smart phones and hence can access emails and other web based applications right on the move. They can even be used as mobile televisions, wallets (to facilitate e-commerce) and bar-code readers. 20 years ago, the vision of a cell phone was a device that could be used to make voice calls to other cell phones and hence they lacked all the countless features, which are often taken for granted these days. Cell phones in those days were inapt and inefficient of supporting these features, both from software and hardware point of view.
The drastic differences between the two generations of cell phones are not only limited to the features aspect but stretches to the hardware and looks too. With constant up gradation and advancement in technology the size and weight of cell phones have plummeted over the years with most of them weighing just a few grams. E.g. the Apple’s latest flagship device iPhone 5 weighs a lowly 112 grams and is less than eight millimeter thick. That’s a huge technological leap when compared to first public cell phone which weighed almost 800 grams and was as ten inches high with an attached rubber antenna which hindered its mobility. Though the cell phones 20 years back were not as bulky and thick as the first ever cell phone, still their sizes were huge when compared to the smart phones on offer today. Most of the Modern handsets offer large talktimes and stand-by times per charge quite unlike their contemporaries. It is quite evident from the fact that the first ever cell phone could be used for less than 30 minutes after charging it for almost 10 continuous hours. Charging the cell phones was a cumbersome process back then, since it involved wired bulky chargers. Contrast this to the modern times and we have light weighted small chargers, which are extremely easy to use. Recent breakthroughs have even enabled wireless charging of cell phones thus making charges obsolete and unnecessary.
The comparison between cell phones today and 20 years back does enable us to assess and gauge the technological strides we have made in the last 20 years. It clearly goes on to show that we have come a long way in a very limited time. Cell phones today have become an indispensable and imperative part of our lives. They empower us today like nothing else does and this can clearly be inferred from the boom in the cell phones market in the recent years. From bulky, heavy cell phones to sleek, lightweight, wide screened, and features laden cell phones; last 20 years have been full of surprises for the cell phones users. While the benefits and uses offered by the cell phones increased all these years, their prices decreased almost exponentially. With more and more inventions taking place every other day, future of cell phones looks even more promising. Cell Phones progressed rigorously through these 20 years since the cheapest cell phone today offers much more than the costliest cell phone 20 years back and this is nothing short of an incredible and commendable achievement.
Borgobello, Bridget . “Looking back on 40 years of the cell phone”. 2013.
Retrieved February 31, 2013,
netprolive . “The First Cell Phone”. 2013.
Retrieved February 31, 2013,