The mobile phone has truly changed the way in which we communicate and do business. The supercomputers in our pockets have created a more connected world than ever before. How did we get here? Here is a very swift summary of some of the biggest milestones in the evolution of the mobile telephone.
1983: The First Real Mobile
The first truly mobile phone—untethered to a large battery pack—was unveiled in 1983. The Motorola DynaTAC 8000x cost 4,000 dollars and had a minimal display. Due to the eye-watering price of the unit and the limited functionality that is offered, the first mobile phone was primarily used by business executives, who used the device to make their busy working days more efficient—think American Psycho.
1992: The First Text
In 1992, the very first text message was sent. The unassuming message was sent to a Vodaphone executive on December 3rd and simply read “Merry Christmas.” The executive was unable to reply because his phone did not have a text input function. SMS is now a powerful marketing tool enabled by email-to-SMS software companies such as Boomerang Messaging.
1992: Nokia 1011
Until 1992 mobile phones were primarily used by wealthy, high-powered business executives. That all changed with the release of the Nokia1011. The Finnish company released the first somewhat affordable mobile phone for £234, and it was quickly followed by a swathe of new commercially viable mobile devices.
1997: Color Display
1997 saw the release of the first mobile phone with a colour display. This paved the way for many other innovations in mobile technology—such as integrated cameras and picture messaging.
1999: First Camera Phone
Nowadays we take the cameras in our mobile phones for granted, but it wasn’t until 1999 that a publicly available camera phone was released. The Kyocera VP 210 was released in Japan only and featured a camera intended for use on video calls. However, the camera had a rather measly 0.11 MP picture quality, and the phone could only store 20 images internally.
2003: Mobile Data
March 2003 saw the introduction of the first 3G network—enabling mobile phone users to surf the internet at speeds of 2MB per second. This revolutionized the way in which mobile phones were designed and used. Today, smartphones are primarily used as internet devices.
2007: Launch Of The iPhone
Steve Jobs unveiled the iPhone in 2007—ushering in a new era of phone design. Created entirely around a large touch screen, the new phone was essentially a computer that could be kept in a pocket. Almost all modern phone designs are inspired by the first iPhone.
Present Day: 5G Rollout
Many areas of the world are seeing the rollout of an extremely fast mobile network type known colloquially as 5G. The rollout of 5G reflects the mobile phone’s modern purpose: as an internet-connected device that uploads, downloads, and streams huge amounts of data. 5G connections are extremely speedy and robust.