Happy birthday, mobile phone!

The first US commercial cellular call was placed on Oct. 13, 1983.
  • (PC Advisor (UK))
  • — 15 October, 2008 02:39

Amidst today's war of the latest Internet-enabled mobile phones (Apple iPhone vs Android Google phone vs Nokia N96 vs BlackBerry Storm) a milestone has been reached - where it's Motorola we should be thanking, not the touchscreen champs listed above.

The first U.S. commercial cellular call was placed on Oct. 13, 1983 from the president of Ameritech Mobile Communications in Chicago to the grandson of Alexander Graham Bell in Germany - using Motorola's DynaTAC 8000X portable cellular phone.

The 13-inch DynaTAC 8000X was world's first commercially available handheld cellular phone. The 0.8kg (28-ounce) handheld phone was available to consumers a year later in 1984. Apple's iPhone is 4.5 inches long, weighing just 113 grammes (4.7 ounces).

Motorola had some experience in mobile phones, although only devices tethered to cars. In 1946, when radiotelephone service began in the U.S., it was making "car phones" - which were two-way radios connected to the landline telephone system.

In 1968, the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) proposed to allocate frequencies in the 800-900 MHz range for a new technology to solve the problems that made using car phones so frustrating to users - long delays and interference being just two.

As Motorola explains in a special web page celebrating the mobile phone's birthday, in Bell Laboratories' Cellular technology, geographical areas were broken into small adjacent cells so that many more car phones could be used at one time.

"The network of cell sites would be supported by a call-switching infrastructure that tracked users as they moved through the network and automatically switched their calls as their location changed."

Motorola's industrial design director Rudy Krolopp and his team got to work designing the shape of the phone.

"We called it a shoe phone, because it sort of looked a little bit like a boot," recalled Krolopp.

By February of 1973, Motorola had produced a working DynaTAC (DYNamic Adaptive Total Area Coverage) portable phone prototype.

"The Motorola engineering team's concept involved designing a large number of overlapping cells in a geographic area. Low powered transmitters in each cell allowed frequencies to be reused in cells farther away.

"Computerized network equipment tracked the moving caller through the system and automatically switched the call to a new cell and frequency as the caller changed locations (a process known as "hand-off").

"The system automatically adjusted the phone's transmitting power so it would not interfere with neighboring cell sites and linked the call with the wireline telephone network. Specialized directional antennas focused the radio signal where it was needed. As more people subscribed to cellular services, the system could be expanded by splitting cells and making many smaller cells within the same geographic area."

On September 21, 1983, the FCC approved Motorola's DynaTAC 8000X phone after more than 10 years development and a US$100 million investment.

The battery allowed for a call up to 60 minutes, after which it was necessary to charge the phone up to 10 hours in a trickle charger.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Lexton Snol

PC Advisor (UK)
Comments are now closed.

Latest News Articles

Most Popular Articles

Follow Us

GGG Evaluation Team

Kathy Cassidy

STYLISTIC Q702

First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni

STYLISTIC Q572

For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Steph Mundell

LIFEBOOK UH574

The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.

Andrew Mitsi

STYLISTIC Q702

The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.

Simon Harriott

STYLISTIC Q702

My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.

Resources

Best Deals on GoodGearGuide

Compare & Save

Deals powered by WhistleOut
WhistleOut

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?