Saturday, September 20, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Today is the 40th anniversary of the first cell phone call

On April 3, 1973, Motorola's Marty Cooper called his rival-Joel Engel of Bell Labs-from Midtown, Manhattan.

Today is the 40th anniversary of the first cell phone call

Martin Cooper, chairman and CEO of ArrayComm, holds a Motorola DynaTAC, a 1973 prototype of the first handheld cellular telephone in San Francisco, Wednesday April 2, 2003.  (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)
Martin Cooper, chairman and CEO of ArrayComm, holds a Motorola DynaTAC, a 1973 prototype of the first handheld cellular telephone in San Francisco, Wednesday April 2, 2003. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg) AP Photo/Eric Risberg

On April 3, 1973, Motorola's Marty Cooper called his rival—Joel Engel of Bell Labs—from midtown Manhattan. He placed the call from the world's first handheld, portable telephone and informed Engel that the cell phone had officially been invented.

Now, 40 years later, we're all fluent in SMS shorthand and loathe people who leave us voicemails. The Verge spoke to Cooper last year about how far we've come, the history of cell phones, automating his home, and the amazing pace at which technology is created.

Every time I look at a cellphone and see how we struggled in the old days... you know, the reason we built that first phone, people believe the story that it was built in three months, which it was. But in order to do that, we had to have a computer, which at that time was just kind of a medium-scale computer, that had a low enough drain to put it in a cellphone. So we had been struggling with this drain thing, and even with that, the DynaTAC had a battery life of 20 minutes, 20 minutes of talking. And it took the best technology available to make that happen, and now we complain if you can't get two days, and instead of running a couple thousand transistors, you're running 10 or 20 million transistors. Quite incredible. [The Verge]

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