Cell phone turns 40 years old

9:36 AM, Apr 3, 2013   |    comments
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(Photo: Liz Sufour, Gannett)

Brett Molina, USA TODAY

On this day in 1973, the most important phone call in technology history was made.

Using a prototype Motorola DynaTAC, inventor Martin Cooper made the first call on a mobile phone. Forty years later, it's considered a brick compared to the diminutive devices we carry around.

The Daily Beast looks back at that historic call, which took place in New York City. His inspiration for the phone was Captain Kirk's famous flip-top communicator from the Star Trek series.

The original DynaTAC was 10 inches in length and weighed 2.5 pounds, says the report, a behemoth by today's standards. For comparison, most modern smartphones weigh between 4 and six ounces.

Today, Cooper helps run the tech incubator Dyna LLC. He also works as an advisor for companies and the government on telecommunications issues.

Cell phones are everywhere in 2013. According to the U.N., the world has 6 billion cell phone subscribers. And more of them are moving into the realm of smartphones. Last fall, the tech research firm Strategic Analytics claims the global smartphone population topped 1 billion.

My first mobile phone was the Nokia 6110, purchased in the late '90s. Although not as massive as the DynaTAC, it felt like a brick in your pocket. It also hosted one of the best mobile games ever: Snake. It required players to guide a snake around the screen, picking up pellets of food. If the snake ever hit a wall or touched any part of its body, it was game over.


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