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50 years since the first mobile phone call

Martin Cooper and the first mobile phones created by Motorola
(photo: britannica.com)

Today marks 50 years since the first mobile phone call. Martin Cooper, andengineer from the american company Motorola, pbrings forth the first of its kind conversation on April 3, 1973.

Standing on the corner of New York’s Sixth Avenue, a large cream-colored device in hand, Martin Cooper called a colleague at rival Bell Laboratories to solemnly announce that he was calling from a “personal pocket portable cell phone.”

In response, there was silence on the other end of the line. “I think he was grinding his teeth,” Cooper recalled this historic moment, quoted by the BBC.

Bell Laboratories, instead of creating a full wireless device, focused on developing a car phone, Cooper commented. However, Motorola chooses a different path of development and time has proved it right, because in the modern world people can hardly imagine life without mobile phones.

Cooper’s historic call was made by a prototype that 10 years later became the first certified mobile phone, called the DynaTAC 8000X. The device weighs about 800 grams and measures 22.5×12.5×3.75 cm, excluding the antenna.

At its launch, only wealthy people could afford to buy the first cell phone, as the price of the DynaTAC 8000X was around $11,700.

Curiously, the principle of voice transmission over the cellular network has not changed much since then. The mobile phone converts the voice into an electrical signal that is modulated into a radio wave. The radio wave passes through the cellular stations and, reaching the second participant in the conversation, undergoes a reverse transformation, so that the person on the other end of the line can hear the voice of the caller.

Of course, the devices currently in use around the world are nothing like the first cell phone. The DynaTAC 8000X has no cameras or messaging capability. Buyers received a device that can work in talk mode for about 30 minutes, after which it must be charged for 10 hours. In addition to this, the phone has a 15 cm antenna.

However, 94-year-old Martin Cooper is not very impressed with the design of modern smartphones. He never imagined that the mobile phone would become a pocket computer with cameras and access to the Internet. Cooper is sure that humanity is still at the very beginning of the mobile phone revolution.

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