As of the present era, the mobile phone is the most common gadget used by the entire mankind. Every household will have at least two mobile phones or one smartphone. We are so much dependent on mobile phones today, they have become an indispensable part of our lives and are considered as one of the greatest gifts to mankind. However, the invention of mobile phones dates back to 1876 has traveled a long journey. The evolution has witnessed as bulky and long devices as one’s forearm to the sleek design being the size of one’s palm. The story behind the invention of mobile phones is as interesting as the invention itself. To know the root of the invention and the story behind it, we might have to travel more than a century back to history.
Where It All Began?
It all started with Telephone and Radio Communication. In 1876, Alexander Graham Bell invented the basic telephone. Telephone technology was devised from the equipment that was originally designed for the telegraph. The first step towards mobile telephony emerged after the radio communication was invented by Charles Stevenson. It was in the early 1890s that he developed this for communicating with the offshore lighthouses. This led Marconi, in 1894, to transmit signals over a distance of 2 km.
The First-Ever Wireless Telephone Call
The foundation of the telephone call was laid on 23rd December 1900, on the outskirts of Washington DC. Reginald Fessenden accomplished in making the first-ever wireless telephone call by actually transmitting a human voice through the radio waves by generating a signal from one radio tower to another. This breakthrough led to the inventing of the broadcast radio as well as laying stress on network foundation. In the year 1906, Fessenden was able to broadcast music through radio.
Merging The Radio-Telephone Technology
In the year 1908, in Murray, Kentucky, Nathan B. Stubblefield applied for the U.S. Patent 887,357 for a wireless telephone which was meant for radiotelephones. He wanted to create a telephone that could operate with wires or ‘strings’.
The invention of mobile phones has come a long way from only confined to cars to a handheld mobile phone to even installed in public vehicles. By 1926, the first-class passenger trains connecting Berlin to Hamburg could use the radiotelephone technology. Passenger airplanes used these radiotelephones for safety from the air traffic and they served German tanks faithfully during the Second World War.
It might awe you, but our two-way radios were, in fact, the ancestor of mobile phones. One could not dial from homophones since the mobile radios were now connected to the telephone network. Gradually the homophone technology got lost.
The Walkie Talkie
In the 1940s, Motorola invented the first Walkie Talkie. Progress in the two way radios resulted in the invention of mobile phones. It was a heavy and long device, operated with the help of a battery. These features made it of good use to the US military.
Common Man Learns To Use The Radio Telephone
Few companies like AT&T started providing some of its customers the chance to use the radiotelephones, while the rest of the world awaited further developments on mobile phones. The callers had to wait for other conversations to get over before making their call since, at that time, only a limited number of calls could be made. Another drawback was that there was no way to have private conversations. Additionally, the weight and huge expense made it almost impossible to be owned by everyone at that time.
MTA – The Automatic Cellular Phone System
In 1956, Ericsson Company, in Sweden, successfully released the first-ever automatic cellular phone system known as the MTA. Although it was a fully automated device, its weight (which was no less than a whopping 40kg!) was too much to carry around. Again in 1965, another attempt was taken. This time, a much lighter version of the same phone was introduced. It operated on DTMF signaling and was named the MTB.
Wearable Mobile Phones
In 1957, a Russian engineer, Leonid Kupriyanovich, created experimental models of wearable mobile phones which were base stations operated. Its battery life was guaranteed to have lasted for approximately 20-30 hours. With a weight of 3 kg, the experiment resulted in the mobile phone working within a distance of 20 to 30 km from its base station. In the same year, he came up with a pocket version of the same mobile phone which weighed just 0.5 Kg.
The First Portable Mobile Phone
Martin Cooper, an executive of Motorola led a team to design and develop the first modern-day cell phone (not entirely the same). It was called Motorola Dyna TAC. It was nearly 9 inches in length, 5 inches in breadth, and weighed around 2.5 pounds carrying not less than 30 circuit boards with it. It had a recharge time of about 10 hours and a talk time of 35 minutes. This mobile phone gave an innovative and less-lengthy experience to its users with its only drawback being a missing display screen.
The Birth Of Zero Generation Mobile Network
Another crucial step in the invention of mobile phones was overcome with the advent of the ARP network that was launched in Finland. It was perhaps the earliest commercial cellular phones and was termed as the Zero Generation mobile network.
How Mobile Phones Have Evolved?
With more passing days and years, mobile phones have evolved slowly but steadily. Right now, mobile phone technology is at its peak. The radio spectrum has become more effective for mobile communications, with the introduction of the Global System. The technology has improved to provide international roaming facilities, voice modulation, the overall quality, and its compatibility with ISDN systems. Furthermore, to reach areas with poor connectivity or technologically backward regions satellite phones were introduced. The base station for the satellite phones is built in the geostationary satellites. Now, no place on our planet cannot be tracked by the GPS or a call cannot be made to.
This was the story behind the invention of mobile phones. The mobile phone has both its advantages and disadvantages; hence we should thoughtfully use this technology.