Nash Coons – GRZEXP Staff
Cell phones have gone a long way. It started out with simple two way radios and has innovated into smartphones, laptops, and other technology all connected under a nationwide cellular network. Communication is now faster and easier than ever. The story of how it came this far is remarkable.
The origin of the cell phone began with radios. In 1906, the first music was produced and presented over the radio. This was the first of many experiments, none of which led to scheduled programs. Charles Herrod of San Jose, California however, started to produce scheduled programs over the air in 1908. Radios became more popular and many people started constructing their own. Britannica says that these handmade radios were made using a piece of galena. The mineral is able to detect radio waves, and was very cheap and popular. After World War 1, radios began to pick up even more. There were over 30 radio stations over the air. At this time, house phones were becoming more popular as well. However, they were very expensive and were only available to the wealthy. By 1970 though, both radios and telephones in peoples houses was a common thing. Both were bulky pieces of equipment, and that is where cell phones began. Luckily at about this same time, Bell Laboratories was looking to change the world.
Through the 1970’s, a company called Bell Laboratories worked on the cellular phone network. This network divides pieces of land into areas known as cells. These cells would each have a base station that would send and receive messages over radio frequencies. These base stations are more commonly known as telephone towers. If a mobile phone moves into a different cell, then the phone will automatically switch radio frequencies to match the base station. Cells that are next to each other have different radio frequencies so there is no problem with interference, meaning messages and phone calls go to the intended person. By the late 1970’s, this system was running on a small scale.
Along with this happening, engineers from Motorola were working on a mobile phone that could connect to this network. In 1984, Motorola released the DynaTAC. This stands for dynamic adaptive total area coverage. According to the Science Museum, this phone weighed over two pounds and was around $10,000 in today’s money. It was only affordable to the wealthy. More companies got involved in making phones and many more were launched. On July 29, 2007, Apple launched the first Iphone. It was one of the very first touchscreen phones and was priced at $499. Although there were around 6.1 million sold, this was only the beginning of smartphones. As of 2020, there were 2.87 billion smartphone users and this number continues to grow.
The radio opened the door to many opportunities. It has led to the smartphone having put communication at its finest with virtually almost the whole world connected with the cellular network. As technology continues to innovate, the impact of it only increases. Cell phones have changed the world and will continue to do so.
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