Evolution of the Mobile Phone

Posted on 24 Aug 2016 Posted in  Tips & Updates
mobile phone

The History of Mobile Phones

With Apple set to launch its latest handset - the iPhone 7 - early next month, we thought it would be fun to take a look at mobile phones through the years and see how much they have changed since they first hit the market in the early 1980s.

For those of you old enough to remember, we thought we would take you on a trip down memory lane, back to the very early days of the mobile phone, while our younger TopCashback members will probably be shocked to discover that handsets have not always had touchscreens, cameras and an app for everything.

If you are looking to make a mobile phones comparison between the first models and what you can expect from the iPhone 7, well, there really is no comparison.

While those eagerly anticipating Apple’s newest handset are speculating about wireless charging and whether it will be thinner than ever and offer higher screen resolution, the phone used to make the first mobile call in 1973 weighed 1.1kg and took 10 hours to charge for 30 minutes of talk time, showing just how mobile phones have developed.

While mobile phone evolution was relatively slow from that first call until the early 1990s, during which time they were aimed at businessmen, the changes in mobile phones since have been staggering.

Read on to learn about mobile phone history, while at the bottom of the page, you will find some exciting news regarding an exclusive deal if you are thinking of getting your hands on the iPhone 7.


When Were Mobiles Invented?

The firstmobile phone call was made in April, 1973, when Martin Cooper, a senior engineer at Motorola, called a rival telecommunications company and informed them he was speaking via a mobile phone.

The phone Cooper used weighed a hefty 1.1kg and was more than 22cm long, while you could enjoy just 30 minutes of talk time despite it taking 10 hours to charge.

So, when did mobile phones come out and who invented mobile phones? Well, in 1983, Motorola, whose employee had made the first mobile phone call, released its first commercial handset - known as the Motorola DynaTAC 8000X.

It offered 30 minutes of talk time, six hours standby and could store 30 phone numbers. The price? North of £2,000 - a staggering amount when you look at the cost of a new mobile phone today and what you get for your money in terms of features, although at the time it was a completely new concept.


How Mobile Phones Have Changed?

The first mobile phones were not designed with consumers in mind as you needed a couple of thousand pounds to buy one and the performance was not great. They were aimed at businessmen, which was still the case at the start of the 1990s, despite Nokia and NEC entering the market.

Nokia’s first handheld mobile phone, the Cityman 900, launched in 1989 and weighed just 800g - a huge improvement over 1982’s 9.8kg Mobira Senator model.

Snake on a Nokia

From 1990 to 1995, there were vast improvements in both design and portability, meaning they were more appealing to the average consumer, and they were becoming the norm by the end of the decade thanks to handsets like the Nokia 6110 and the BlackBerry 850, which offered features such as games like Snake, profile settings and a calculator, clock, calendar and currency converter.

Mobile phone designs were also evolving and this decade saw slider and flip phones like the Nokia 8110 and Motorola StarTAC hit the market.

The evolution continued with birth of the second generation (2G) mobile phones in Finland in 1993, around the same time that the first SMS text messages were sent and data devices began to appear on mobiles.

Anyone today picking up the latest mobile phone will find it full of apps for playing music, interacting on social media, shopping and video streaming, but the first handset to feature apps was 1994s IBM Simon with its electronic notepad and world time clock.

As we entered the new millennium, 3G was launched, allowing operators to offer a huge range of advanced services, such as video calling, while HTML browsing, email and cameras began to become the norm in terms of features. By 2014, the 3G network covered more than 98% of the UK population.

By 2005, we had the first waterproof phone, while Google acquired Android, the mobile operating system designed primarily for touchscreens.


Two years later and the iPhone was unveiled by Steve Jobs, who described it as being five years ahead of its time. It became the first smartphone to enter the mainstream and featured a finger-input touchscreen, no keyboard, an intuitive interface and apps. Steve Jobs Image

This was quickly followed by the first Android phone, called the G1, while also in 2008, the App Store was launched, offering 552 apps - 135 of which are free.

The Motorola Razr, at just 7.1mm thick, was the world’s thinnest smartphone at its launch in 2011, while 4G became commercially available in the UK in late 2012, offering super fast connections and similarly swift downloads.

Five years after its initial launch, the iPhone 5 - the fifth generation of iPhone - went on sale and sold five million units in its first weekend, while Apple launched some of its most advanced technology with the iPhone 5S, including fingerprint authenticity on its touchpad.

The new iPhone 7 is sure to set the bar even higher and offer great new features, design changes and spec, and if you are planning on getting your hands on one, you should keep your eyes peeled for an exclusive TopCashback iPhone 7 deal which will offer buyers a fantastic cashback reward.

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