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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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