You are probably reading these lines on your phone to kill time or to enjoy quality content without even realizing you are holding an engineering miracle. Whether you refer to them as cell phones, mobile phone or smartphones, one thing is sure – the history behind them is fascinating. From an early start in 1908, this is how cell phones evolved into the must-have items in the 21st century.
Cell Phone History – from Rocky Beginnings to Advanced Smartphones
The first people to claim they invented a mobile phone device were Professor Albert Jahnke and the Oakland Transcontinental Aerial Telephone and Power Company way back in 1908. Unfortunately, they were accused of fraud and didn’t pursue the development of their invention.
Next up were the Germans who tried to wirelessly connect phones on military trains by using radio signals. The German railroad system conducted the experiments in 1918, and in 1924 trials to connect trains between Hamburg and Berlin began. The Zugtelephonie AG company in Germany was founded in 1925 to supply telephone equipment to trains, and in 1926 a wireless phone service was available to first class passengers.
The next significant step in cell phone history was made during WWII when handheld transceivers made it possible for soldiers to communicate in the fields. During that time, American engineers from Bell Labs began work on a mobile phone that will be suitable for vehicles and allow passengers to make calls from inside their cars.
Not that long after, AT&T offered a mobile phone service that worked in limited areas and allowed passengers to make calls from their cars. The next leap came thanks to the introduction of cellular technology that made it possible to bounce frequencies in adjacent places. In 1956, Sweden was successful at developing a portable mobile phone system for vehicles that weighed a hefty 40 kg (100 lbs.).
In 1973 Dr. Martin Cooper, who was a general manager at the Motorola communications system division, invented a public mobile phone that weighed 1.1 kg (2.25 lbs.) – the first device of its kind. The introduction of an extensive digital cellular phone system by European engineers allowed cellphones to communicate with one another in broad ranges, and with the GSM standard that was approved in 1987, cell phones became like the ones we see today. Sort of.
Since then, the cell phone history is indeed history, and after the invention of texting in 1992, the first emoji in 1999 and the first iPhone in 2007, all of our lives changed.
There you have it, the complete run-down of the cell phone history that started over 100 years ago and will probably develop into hologram phones that someone will write about someday.