Well, well, well. Look who just turned 40!
Today marks what is, technically, the 40th birthday of the cellphone.
According to a report Wednesday from CNN, four decades ago a man name Martin Cooper, a vice president at Motorola, “stepped onto a New York City sidewalk and made the first known cellphone call in history.”
In the time since Cooper brandished what would become the DynaTAC phone, our mobiles have gone from now-laughably clunky bricks to sleek, stylized slivers of technology. Now they’re becoming fashionably monstrous with phone-tablet hybrids like the Galaxy Note.
“We knew that someday everybody would have a (cell) phone, but it was hard to imagine that that would happen in my lifetime,” Cooper told CNN in a 2012 interview. “And now we’ve got almost five billion phones in the world. Wow.”
Cooper had worked on the groundbreaking devices for three months (he was trying to beat AT&T to the punch on this emerging technology) before finally walking outside on April 3, 1973. The first call, ironically, was placed to AT&T’s Joel Engell, the man in charge of Bell Labs.
“I called and told him, ‘Joel, I’m calling you from a cellular phone, a real cellular phone, a handheld, portable, real cellular phone’,” Cooper remembers.
It would take another 10 years, however, for a commercial version of the device to reach consumers. When the DynaTAC (Dynamic Adaptive Total Area Coverage) phone finally did go to market, it cost $3,900, weighed 2.5 pounds, was stood nearly one foot tall.
Happy birthday, cellphone! You’ve come a long way.