40 years after first mobile phone call, it's still a neat idea

There's a line in the late Douglas Adams's novel, The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy, that makes a little bit of fun at the human race, claiming that we are still "so amazingly primitive that they still think digital watches are a pretty neat idea." The very same quote could be slightly modified for our attitude towards the mobile phone.

It was 40 years ago today that Dr. Martin Cooper of Motorola made the first private handheld mobile phone call. Cooper, now 85, talked with the BBC about this milestone. Cooper made the call in New York City to a colleague at Bell Labs in New Jersey, using a prototype Motorola DynaTAC.

It was a phone call that turned into a fundamental shift in how we communicate with each other. Previously, other companies, including Bell Labs, thought about mobile phones but they believed they would be used inside cars. Cooper and his team at Motorola had a different vision that saw everyone owning and carrying around their own phone, free at last from having a device connected by a wire to a phone plug.

Today, over five billion people over the world own a mobile phone, and more and more of them are buying smartphones that do a lot more than just voice calls. However, Cooper believes that the wireless carriers have not done enough to make their networks more reliable and instead have tried to put the emphasis on the network's speed.

Cooper believes these kinds of problems with dropped calls on networks will be fixed in the near future. He also believes that the future of the mobile smartphone could include a way for such a device to constantly monitor a person's health in order to help them live longer and more healthier lives.

Source: BBC | Image via BBC

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I am glad I still don't own a mobile phone.

Well, not really. It'd be nice to have a portable device to do stuff on, but I'd rather use a tablet instead as I'm too accustomed to having a huge screen.

Nah, we're (currently) living three device sizes. Mobile, Tablet and Desktop/Laptop.

I wouldn't want to carry a tablet everytime I went anywhere so I'd keep my SmartPhone handy and I couldn't imagine doing all my work on a (considering the current line of) tablet.

The tablet as a main device is coming closer with the more powerful Win8 devices but at this time a device with high-end graphics, cpu and large amounts of ram and storage would be extremely highly priced, or too bulky (such as the current line of convertables) to be considered a true tablet.

One day maybe, but just no yet.

Edit: I actually run four devices when I include my eInk reader in the lineup (I just don't like reading on an LED).

I wonder many many back then clamored "It's just a fad", "It'll never last", "People don't want to carry this on them", "Landlines are still the best way to talk, and it'll be like that forever"... Like they do now whenever something changes.

A better example would be going from a cell phone to that thing. That big thing still has all the functionality of todays cell phone. You just can't see it because it's hidden. You have to slide your finger along to side to make it appear.

warwagon said,
A better example would be going from a cell phone to that thing. That big thing still has all the functionality of todays cell phone. You just can't see it because it's hidden. You have to slide your finger along to side to make it appear.

Your analogy breaks down when you realize that isn't the case. Nice try.

Dot Matrix said,

Your analogy breaks down when you realize that isn't the case. Nice try.

Ya, I know, still made me laugh though.

......and 40 years later, people are a slave to their mobile phones. I refuse to be. I know people, especially teenagers who panic if they haven't been with their phones for more than an hour.

JHBrown said,
......and 40 years later, people are a slave to their mobile phones. I refuse to be. I know people, especially teenagers who panic if they haven't been with their phones for more than an hour.
An hour? Nevermind that; let's try 5 seconds.