Today the Cell Phone’s 40th Birthday

April 4, 2013 at 11:59 pm Leave a comment

Forty years ago today, engineer at Motorola Marty Cooper made the first phone call on a cellular phone. So, of course, be sure to treat your cell phone nicely today, give it a hug and feed it some cake!

Phone Cake

The call that Marty Cooper first made was to a rival engineer at Bell Labs, Joel Engel, saying “Joel, this is Marty. I’m calling you from a cell phone, a real handheld portable cell phone.” Imagine being Joel, researching the same technology, and hearing that what you were working to accomplish was just accomplished, and you received the first call from a cell phone ever. That just blows my mind. Over forty years, how many cell phone calls do you think have been made? Even think about yourself, how many cell phone calls have you made in your lifetime? For most of you reading this, and myself included, we have been alive for only half the life of the cell phone. My mind is officially blown.

Now I want you guys to think about how far the cell phone has gone and how much it has grown. The call that Marty made was on a big Motorola DynaTAC 8000x, which weights a whole 2.5 pounds. Now you walk around with your phone in your pocket or purse, and it is virtually weightless. Imagine texting using this big phone, your arms might get tired holding this thing up if you are a constant texter.

Now on our nice and slim phones, we basically are carrying around mini computers. We can access the internet, we can take pictures, we’re totally plugged in. We can use apps to stay in contact and always be on Facebook and Twitter, we can receive our emails right when we get them (how nice was that waking up to the snow day email in the morning!), and we can have tons of conversations at the same time though text messaging. If I wanted to, I could develop my own apps for Android, iOS, or Windows phones, I would just have to download some software, do some research, and get to coding. If I wanted to make a small security app that notifies me whenever my door is opened in my house, I would be able to do that with not a whole lot of work. Trying something like that forty years ago would basically mean that I would have to be an electron engineer with a ton of knowledge in the field.

So, today of all days, be sure to thank your phone for everything it has done for you. It keeps you connected to your social media, you are able to play Angry Birds and Fun Run, make sure you get all of your welcome “WARNING: Your ULID password expires in X day(s)” emails, and stay in constant contact with all of your friends. Happy 40th birthday, cell phones. ISU students, don’t forget to take the quiz on ReggieNet after reading this!


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April 2013
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