The mobile phone has been around for much longer than you would think – the first one turned up around 40 years ago, as of last March. They didn’t become a part of everyday life until around 2000, when they were developed for mass-market consumption. They’ve gone from being cumbersome, gargantuan devices that could only make phone calls, to being tiny supercomputers that you can talk to and order your groceries from.
Of course, back in the day, they were exclusive, prohibitively expensive and very large and heavy. The costs associated with contract phones were sky-high, unlike today’s Virgin Media Mobile contract phones. Mobile phones have clearly come a long, long way: here are some of the highlights from the epic journey.
The First Text Message – 1993
SMS (Short Message Service), now universally known as texting, was the result of a lot of hard work attributed to several different engineers. The first ever text, sent in 1992, read ‘Merry Christmas’, and was sent from a PC to a cell phone on the Vodafone network, in the UK. In 1993, Nokia swiftly unveiled the first cell phone that could send and receive texts.
The First Touchscreen – 1993
Bet you didn’t think the first touchscreen landed as early as 1993! The oddly named IBM Simon was indeed the first phone ever to feature a touchscreen, long before the first generation of smartphones. The technology was still primitive, so the handset had a stylus that came with it.
Internet Connectivity – 1996
Wow, we’ve had internet on mobile phones for nearly twenty years! Of course, when the internet was first rolled out for mobile phones, it wasn’t as fast and as widespread as it is now. They worked through Wireless Application Protocol (WAP), which paved the way for 3G technologies.
The First Mobile Phone Camera – 2000
The Sharp J-SH04 was the first ever mobile phone that came equipped with a camera, which packed a whopping 0.11MP sensor. Two years later, camera phones made their debut in the US in the form of the Sanyo SCP-5300. Today, camera phones are ridiculously detailed and have superb, full-HD quality, and the ability to shoot video as well, with some film directors using them to make films too.
The Future: The Morph Control Phone
This is still a prototype, but is a pretty exciting indicator of where phones are going to go from here. The Nokia Morph phone, designed by Tapani Ryhänen, is supposed to be a transparent and fully transformable phone that you will be able to bend any way you desire, in multiple shapes and forms. You’ll be able to look at menus at different angles with the entire phone becoming a display.
Mobile phones have certainly come a long way, but with technology advancing so fast, who knows where it’ll lead our handsets in the future? What do you think the next mobile revolution is going to involve?