Smartphones have become an essential part of our lives and it's hard to think about a day without using them. They are handy, helpful, and connect us with the entire world, but the journey wasn't always that easy.
Smartphones have evolved and have slowly changed into the modern form we see today. To give you a better view of that journey, here is an overview of how mobile phones changed our lives from 1973 to the present.
Smartphone Revolution - 1973 to 2022
Below is an overview of how mobile phones evolved over the past decades and how they have become what they are today.
The First Mobile Phone Introduced - 1973
The first mobile phone prototype was developed by Motorola’s Martin Cooper in April 1973. The idea of a handy mobile phone was new and took some time to become a new normal but it certainly paved the way for a revolution that took the entire world by storm.
The cell phone was used to make the first ever mobile call from midtown Manhattan to the headquarters of Bell Labs in New Jersey.
The phone was launched in 1983 and was called the Motorola DynaTAC 8000X which was quite pricey, at USD 4000. It had a dial pad, a tiny LCD, and a speaker and looked like a landline receiver but had no wires.
The First Smartphone and Mass Productions: 1991-1994
GSM first launched the Orbitel TPU 900 in Europe in 1991. From 1992 mobiles were no longer restricted to business use as mass production generated cost-effective consumer handsets.
During this time IBM announced the first smartphone, which wasn’t available for purchase for 2 more years.
In 1994, IBM's SPC which cost $1,100, only sold about 50,000 in its first 6 months as it only worked in 15 U.S. states.
On the other hand, Nokia came up with the Nokia 1011 benefiting from the mass production trend, and became the first commercially available set.
Mobile Phones Come to Life - 1997
The Siemens S10 brought mobile phone displays to life with four colors, for the first time in 1997. Ericsson offered swappable colored front keyboard panels allowing customizations to take place.
In 1998, Nokia launched a range of ‘Xpress-on’ interchangeable covers on the 5100 series. That made them the first phones that were fashion orientated.
Mobile gaming also came to the scene when Nokia 6110 users could play the Snake game. Although simple, the game was addictive and family-friendly.
The Snake game started the gaming industry worth more than $125 billion today!
The First Camera Phone - 2000s
In the year 2000, Sharp came up with the first commercially available camera phone, the J-SH04 set which was limited to Japan. The phone weighed just four ounces and sparked a passion for phone photography.
The Nokia 3310 soon came to the scene, selling 126 million units. It gained popularity worldwide for its Chat function allowing long texts of up to 459 characters.
Mobile Internet Introduced - 2003
As the 3G standard started to take off, the mobile sets finally met the internet and allowed users to access a world of possibilities.
The Honk Kong-based Hutchison Whampoa owned "Three" brand, offered the first 3G network in the UK and many other countries.
The “Three” range included a trio of 3G phones, that includes the NEC e606, Motorola A830, and NEC e808.
Apple Joins the Game - 2007
In 2007, something incredible happened, when Steve Jobs announced the world's first iPhone. This marked the beginning of smartphones which were class apart.
The first iPhone had a touchscreen, camera, full internet access capabilities, iPod, and an LCD screen for watching videos all at the same time.
It was slim, light, and available in two memory options: 8GB ($599) model and 4GB model($499).
Smartphones Everywhere - 2011 to 2014
Jumping to the year 2011, by this time smartphones were everywhere. The UK’s first 4G service was launched in 11 cities in 2012 boosting download speeds up to 12mbps.
Voice recognition became common with the first being Google Voice before Apple launched Siri.
The trend of health & fitness grew and to capitalize on that, Samsung added a built-in heart rate monitor to its flagship set, the Galaxy S5.
The Era of 5G - 2019
With every passing year, smartphones become smarter. In 2019 EE launched the UK's first 5G service in 6 cities.
The 5th generation network promised reliability, superior data speeds, and ultra-high-resolution for video streaming and gaming.
The handset design trend moved towards an all-screen experience. The OnePlus introduced the pop-up selfie camera in its flagship 7 Pro device, getting rid of the notch altogether.
This year, there are several rumored and confirmed sets waiting in line and offering the best features we have yet to explore.
The Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra released this year, offers superb cameras and an S Pen stylus as standard with a slot to house the pen.
It delivers 10x optical or 100x digital zoom and features a great 108MP main camera.
Xiaomi is expected to launch the 12T and 12T Pro models in Europe this year. These devices are said to come with the powerful Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 Plus chipset, along with a 200-megapixel Samsung camera sensor.
Today’s smartphones are as powerful as they can get and are expected to push the boundaries of technological advancements with more smartphones yet to hit the market.
Engineering breakthroughs, satellite technology, and mass production have made smartphones powerful, cheaper, and accessible to everyone.
Phone sizes, weight, design, storage, and all the other features are changing with time and that way, mobile phones are becoming more and more acceptable and dependable.
Nowadays there are sets in all shapes and sizes with varying features and styles. Mobile prices have also become reachable for consumers.
Additionally, with apps and the best hardware, people are now able to express themselves creatively and can access a new world of possibilities.