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Wednesday, April 4, 2018

From the first cell phone call in 1973 to 2,600 million smartphones

Por Jade

On April 3, 1973 in New York, with a big phone like a shoe box, the first call was made from a cell phone, by the American engineer Martin Cooper using a Motorola device. Cooper began this story that changed the lives of the entire planet with a phone called Dynatac, short for Dynamic Adaptive Total Area Coverage.

"We at Motorola did it, mobile telephony is a reality," the engineer told him in the first historic communication addressed to his direct rival, Bell Labs researcher Joel Engel. The Dynatac weighed more than a kilogram; it was about 33 centimeters tall, counting the antenna and 8.9 centimeters thick without a screen, with a recharge time of ten hours and only 35 minutes of operational autonomy. Undoubtedly very different from the lightweight and extra-thin smartphones of today, if compares with the iPhone 6 which weighs 123 grams, with 13.81 centimeters in height and less than a centimeter in thickness, the only coincidence they have is the still unresolved problem of power and the duration of batteries, which remain relatively unsuitable.

In 1973 the DynaTac was a technological miracle that closed a rivalry between two large phone companies, Motorola and Bell, which lasted since 1947. But only 17 years after this first call, in the 80s, the invention was extended to a wider audience with the assignment of the first frequencies of communication. The successor of the Cooper prototype was the DynaTac 8000X, marketed at $ 3,995 at that time, equivalent to about $ 9322 today. Figures that make the most expensive of the modern iPhone appear as a low-cost device.

In 1975, there were 5,000 mobile phone customers on the planet. Today there are 3,600 million users with a mobile phone permanently in their hands or in their pockets, half of the world's population, and it is expected that by 2020 it will reach 4,600 million subscribers, according to the latest GSMA statistics, the global organization of mobile operators.

From the eighties onwards the cell phone began its ride to success, first contained, it took seven years to reach the first million users, but after an impressive acceleration to the current numbers, with billions of people connected and the first apparent signs of market saturation. Actually, there are many more mobile phones than subscribers because users have several. Thus the number of SIM cards reaches 7,100 million (1.5 SIM per user) and the SIM that connects machines with each other (M2M) is expected to reach the magical figure of 10 billion mobile connections by 2020. The explosion of the mobile has been thanks to its ability to connect to the Internet. Mobile broadband accounts for 40% of total connections, but will increase to almost 70% of the total by 2020 thanks to 4G or LTE technology that allows higher speeds.

Cooper, born in 1928, has not lost his passion for technology to this day, as the 90-year-old engineer continues to be "connected" all the time from his Twitter profile @MartyMobile.