It’s amazing how far cell phone technology has evolved in 40 years. On April 3rd 1973, Motorola had a huge competition against AT&T to see which of both companies would build the first cell phone. Yeah, Motorola was that big back then, and AT&T was into more than what they do today. On this day 40 years ago, Martin Cooper used the first cell phone, which was a 28-ounce, 9-inch Motorola DynaTAC to call his rival at AT&T and mockingly ask him if his call sounded good.
You may laugh all you want at the dimensions of the that DynaTAC, but I’d say it took technology a good 25 years to start being able to shrink it, as this was the iconic phone used still in the late 80’s by Gordon Gekko of Wall Street, American’ Psycho’s Patric Bateman, and yes, Saved By The Bell’s Zack Morris.
A lot has changed. The NAMPS and AMPS analogue networks that were used by these phones are now gone, and even some of the digital evolutions that came afterwards like TDMA are also gone. Who would’ve thought even in 1997 that we’d have 3G data speeds in 2007? We’ve definitely come a long way.
So do you remember your first phone call? My first cell phone was a Nokia 250 running on NAMPS technology. It cost me around a full month’s salary back then, no subsidies, and I was running late for work at one of my first jobs on our most important day of the year due to a surprise audit (I worked for an airline). My first phone call was to give my boss a heads-up that I was sadly, and embarrassingly late. It turned out saving the day, since it allowed her to give me other instructions that actually made the fact that I was late a perfect solution, and turned my sleepy mess-up into some extra points for the audit. We still see each other today and laugh about this when it happened in 1998. Haven’t stopped using a cell phone ever since.
What was your first cell phone and phone call? Leave us a comment and share your story.