The unexpected impact of mobile phones on our daily lives

The first ever call made with a mobile phone was a conversation 50 years ago between two rivals developing cellphone technology. Since then, the devices have found some unexpected uses. The first mobile phone call was made half a century ago between two competitors in the race to develop the technology. In the following years, mobile phones have been used in ways their creators never anticipated.

Since the introduction of handheld mobile phones in the 1970s, cell phones have undergone rapid evolution. Today, a mobile phone from the 1990s looks archaic compared to modern smartphones running on iOS or Android. Over time, phones have become more compact and have longer battery life. They have also expanded their capabilities beyond just making calls, allowing users to run apps and send text messages.

Evolution of Cellphones Timeline

In 1973, Motorola launched the first major handheld mobile phones weighing approximately 2 pounds each. Since then, cell phones have transformed from expensive devices used by busy workers and travellers to complement landlines to the only phones many people use or carry. They have evolved from large, clumsy devices with poor signals to reliable instruments that can easily fit into a pocket or purse.

The industry has also made changes to cellphone infrastructure and policies, such as introducing unlimited calling plans and standardizing networks to allow for seamless roaming between carriers without incurring fees or dropping calls.

Going Beyond the Call

When considering the evolution of cell phones and the timeline of feature development, it’s easy to forget how recent some now-universal attributes of cell phones are. The short message service (SMS), used for texting, was not introduced until 1992. Downloadable ringtones, used to signal incoming calls or messages, were not available until 1998. Emojis, the graphical representations of moods, foods and other symbols, were not introduced until the following year.

Phones with built-in cameras, which have revolutionized the world of photography and how we understand current events, first appeared in 2000. The BlackBerry, one of the first widely used devices that enabled people to send and receive emails from a phone, debuted in 1999, changing how people stayed in touch with work colleagues outside the office.

iPhone and Android

Today, the most popular phone models are iPhones made by Apple and various phones running Google’s Android operating system from manufacturers such as Samsung, HTC and LG. Both phones are considered smartphones, allowing users to install third-party apps such as email clients, word processors, video games and dating tools.

They generally include high-quality cameras for taking appealing pictures and videos to share on social media and built-in apps for accessing the web, viewing interactive maps, sending and receiving emails and handling calls and texts. Evolving cellphone networks, now often running 4G and LTE technology, ensure speedy internet connections across the globe. Smartphones are essentially powerful computers in their own right and can replace other devices, such as stand-alone GPS units, laptops and landline telephones. What the next iteration of cell phones will look like remains to be seen.

By Shamiso Miracle

Shamiso Miracle completed her degree in journalism and media studies at the University of Zimbabwe before honing her skills at Savanna News. She then went on to work at iHarare News, becoming a voice for everyday SA citizens who wanted to share their stories. When she's not writing news that entertains and inspires ,Shamiso is an avid reader and a wellness bunny.

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