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article imageHappy 40th birthday, mobile phone

By Alexander Baron     Apr 3, 2013 in Technology
Forty years ago today the first mobile phone call was made. They have come a long way since then. Just how far? You can't conceive if you grew up in a world without these now ubiquitous implements.
On April 3, 1973, Motorola engineer Martin Cooper made the first call from a cellular phone. Known as a cell phone or cellphone stateside and mobile phone in the UK, the first generation may have been mobile but you had to be a weightlifter to carry one around. Well, maybe that's a bit of an exaggeration, but you certainly couldn't put one in your top pocket because by today's standards they were GI-normous, measuring 23cm and weighing over 2lb.
And if the size or weight didn't put you off, the price would have. How would you have liked to pay $3,500 for one? That's how much one would have cost you ten years on, in 1983. Take a gander at the bargain basement prices you can expect to pay today.
If you've ever watched an old futuristic TV series like Star Trek, which started in 1969, you will have seen similar devices being used by Captain Kirk and company, but did anyone really anticipate the use of mobile phones to surf the Internet (the what?), pay bills, take photographs or even to spy on Big Brother?
The first phones took ten hours to charge, and were toys for if not the rich then certainly for those with money to burn. Now there are around 7 billion in the world and even homeless people own them.
So what will the next forty years bring? As no one really predicted either the Internet or cheap mobile communications for the masses, it will be a brave futurologist who will make that call, but as usual, expect the unexpected.
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