The History of Mobile Phones You Probably Didn’t Know

The History of Mobile Phones You Need To Know

Although most of us feel like we couldn’t live without our mobile phones, our smartphones have not really been in existence for very long.

In fact, mobile phones as we know them today have only been around in the last 20 years.

Mobile phones, particularly the smartphones that have become our inseparable companions today, are relatively new.

History of Mobile Phones

It is important to know the history of phones, how phones evolve to what we have today (smartphones). Here, is what evolves to what we have today:


Alexander Graham Bell discovers the principle of the telephone. He experiments with Thomas Watson to create the first telephone connection.


The first permanent outdoor telephone wire is strung. Thus, Commercial telephone service began in the United States.

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Oliver Lodge demonstrates wireless communication over a distance of 150 yards. Also, this was the beginning of cell phone technology as we know it.


Bell System completes a U.S. transcontinental telephone line. At this point, everyone in the US was connected to each other.

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The first commercial mobile telephone service is put into service, linking moving vehicles or objects to the telephone network by radio.


The laying of transatlantic telephone cables begins. Calls were able to be made to European countries, then eventually the rest of the world.


Videophones became more affordable and practical.

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Bell Systems introduces the touch-tone phone. This telephone made a different beep for each number instead of counted clicks for each number and replaced rotary phones.


Intel Corporation develops the first single-chip microprocessor, the 4004. The microprocessor would make telephones and switching systems smaller, lighter and faster to use.


Motorola demonstrates the cellular telephone to the FCC. People could call each other without wires, and the cell phone was born.

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Martin Cooper is credited with developing the first cell phone approved for commercial use.


FAX machines became popular. A printed sheet of paper could be sent across telephone lines and received whole on the other end.


MicroTAC, a “Pocket” cellular telephone is introduced by Motorola.


The IBM Simon is released and considered the first smartphone. It acted as a mobile phone, PDA, and fax machine all in one. It offered a touch screen, which is the precursor to the Apple iPhone which would come 14 years later.

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Digital cordless phones are introduced. The FCC granted the frequency range of 900 MHz for cordless phones during that time, and it is currently 5.8 GHz


Philips introduces an early attempt at a digital “smartphone.” The unit, called “The Synergy” provided wireless access to e-mail, internet, and faxes.

Mid-to-Late 1990s

Cell phone companies strive to make their mobile phone models lighter, faster, slimmer, cheaper. The mobile phone evolves.

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Research in Motion introduces the Blackberry 850, beginning the Blackberry craze, ending up with a comparable smartphone with the ability to download applications from the Blackberry App World.


Apple launches its first iPhone, which integrated a touchscreen display with the best web-browsing experience to yet be offered on a mobile device. Years later, it is still the device to which all other smartphones are compared. The Apple store features thousands of apps available for download.

Google unveils Android, an open-source operating system that has fared well in the market.


Motorola introduces the Droid, the first Android-based smartphone, and it sold over 1 million units within 74 days of its release. The Android app market features thousands of user-created applications for download.

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