The Cell Phone Turns 30

Currently about 90 percent of all American adults own a cell phone and an increasing percentage of American households are ditching landlines altogether. Today marks the 30th anniversary of the launch of the first commercial handheld cellular phone, the Motorola DynaTAC. Though this phone’s prototype made the first ever handheld cell phone call in 1973, it took about ten years to sell the phone to the general public because few parts of the world even had the necessary wireless infrastructure to support cell phones at the time. The phone was about the size of a brick, weighed two pounds, had a battery life that could only support a 30 minute phone call, and took 10 hours to recharge.

Despite all of that, the phone sold incredibly well when it was on the commercial market from 1983-1993. While we may find those technical specifications to be laughable today, the phone itself was revolutionary because it was the first handheld product that could do what it did. Since then other companies have entered the market making our phones smaller, more powerful, and capable of doing more things. But companies like Verizon, AT&T, Samsung, HTC, and Apple that make billions of dollars from mobile phones today owe much of their success to their ability to improve upon the DynaTAC. Mobile phones have become one of the biggest things that have shaped our culture in the past twenty years. We should recognize the phone that started it all off.

Try fitting that in your pocket.

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