OMG: Cell Phone Turns the Big 4 - 0

Published 4/4/13
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Forty years ago, April 3, 1973, Motorola VP Martin Cooper stepped onto the sidewalks of New York and called his rival at AT&T Bell Labs to inform him he was talking to him from a “real” cellular phone. The rest, as they say, is history.

A lot has changed in that time. And as a fellow 40-year-old, I can relate to how the cell phone has matured. Both of us are smarter these days (some may debate that in my case). The cell phone is significantly lighter; I, on the other hand, am not. But there’s no arguing that 40 years later, mobility has impacted more than just how we make a call. Communications, content consumption, shopping, travel planning and more have been and continue to be impacted.

From Gordon Gekko in the movie Wall Street to Zach Morris on Saved by the Bell, those early cell phones, a.k.a brick phones, were soon popping up in the 80’s. And if you think today’s phones are expensive, compare that to the the first DynaTAC phone costing $3,900 when it hit the market for the masses.

Cellphone Turns 40

Of all the phones I've ever owned, my Razr is still my favorite. Which one is your favorite?


Mobile Moments

  • 1973 – First Cell phone call made 1992
  • First commercial SMS text message sent 1994 – Tetris is first game on a mobile device 1997 – Mobile payment options are introduced 1999 – Blackberry launches 2004 – First Wi-Fi enabled cell phones 2007 – iPhone introduced 2009 - Mobile data traffic surpassed voice traffic for the first time. Today, there are more than 6 billion cell phone subscribers. Tech research firm Strategic Analytics claims the global smartphone population topped 1 billion. By 2017, Cisco predicts there will be more than 10 billion mobile devices around the world and that mobile video alone will account for 66 percent of all mobile data traffic. As marketers, we all know that mobile has impacted consumers and thus how we do our job. The question, is what’s next? Cooper told CNN: "The phone of 20 years from now will be much simpler than today's phone. You're gonna have a phone maybe in your earring or behind your ear, or maybe even embedded under your skin," predicted Cooper. "You're going to be able to make phone calls by almost just thinking about what you want to do." Zach Morris and his brick phone would be jealous…