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The First-Ever Mobile Phone Call Was Made 50 Years Ago

The first-ever mobile phone call was made 50 years ago today. On 3 April 1973, Martin Cooper from Sixth Avenue in New York placed the cellular call which went down to the history books.

But how did Mr. Cooper get a phone you may ask? But he was not a normal office-goer. He worked as an engineer at Motorola and on that monumental day, he called his counterpart at the competing company Bell Laboratories. When the call was received, he is a victorious demeanor and said that he was calling from “a personal, handheld, portable cell phone,” BBC writes.

It was a victory for Motorola at that time but was a triumphant for the wireless communication industry and the modern human civilization too.

Also read: History and Milestones of Telecommunication in Nepal

Mobile call technology remains somewhat similar but phones have come a long way

To this day, mobile call technology follows basically the same principle. The device converts the human voice into an electric signal which then modulates radio waves. The waves go to a cell tower which routes the wave into a voice and takes it to the other person on call.

The technology has remained the same for how cellular calls work however, mobile phone design and features have gone from evolution to revolution. From basic voice to text, today, mobile phones have transformed into smartphones with 5G, GPS, internet, gaming, and mention whatnot. Today, There are currently 6.92 billion smartphone users worldwide. Check out: Differences Between Smartphone Vs Feature phone

World's first phone call Martin Cooper
In the picture: Martin Cooper, the man who made the world’s first-ever mobile phone call | Credit: Sandy Huffaker/The New York Times/Redux

In 1984, the commercial version of the phone Mr. Cooper used, the Motorola Dynatac 8000X  was launched. This rugged and sturdy phone was nothing like today’s utility beast. It had no messaging feature and no camera. More so, it allowed only 30 minutes of talk time while charging its battery would take 10 hours. The device weighed 790 g too heavy compared to today’s lightweight sizes that easily go into our pockets.

Anyway, the phone would cost $11,700 today, Ben Wood who runs the Mobile Phone Museum told BBC.

Mr. Wood explains, “Basically, it just dialed the number and make the call,” Mr. Wood explains.

Mr. Cooper, the man who dialed the first-ever phone call isn’t impressed with phones today

The man who made the first phone call is however not impressed with phones in use these days. He reasons, ‘”Just think about it. You take a piece of plastic and glass that’s flat – and you put it against the curve of your head; you hold your hand in an uncomfortable position; when you want to do these wonderful things that it can do, you have to get an app [first]. “

I think today’s phone is suboptimal. It’s really not a very good phone in many respects

-Martin Cooper (the man who made the first-ever mobile phone call) on modern phones

But he admits that he didn’t imagine at that time that phones would go on to become such powerful devices with cameras and the internet.

Do read: History of the Internet in Nepal

On phone usage in future

Mr. Cooper has an opinion on what the future might hold for using phones. He predicts that artificial intelligence will either create or select, phone owners’ apps for them, depending on their individual needs. He believes that phones could one day monitor our health and also help eliminate wars.

Likewise, he feels that phones could play more significant roles in the future. “The cell phone is not going to do it by itself,” he admits. “But it will be the central part of this great future,” he adds.

“We are still at the very beginning of the cell phone revolution,” the historical man declares.

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