Telecom Timelines

In 1876 Alexander Graham Bell patented the first phone (though, the first phone call wasn’t made until 1878). To celebrate an amazing 141 years, we thought we’d have a quick look over how the telecommunications industry has changed.

In 1946 the first mobile phones were introduced.  These were actually car-based, weighed in at 80lbs, and were marketed to travelling business men and truck fleet operators. Hardly the most practical for day to day use!

By the 1960s landline based communication had improved with the introduction of automatically routed calls, as businesses adopted PBX systems.

In 1973 the first non-car mobile was introduced and designed by Motorola.  Martin Cooper was the first person to make a mobile phone call, straight from the streets of New York, directly to the AT&T Bells Labs.

By 1989 the first flip phone was on sale, though only to wealthy individuals who could afford to stump up the $3,000 needed to buy one!

The mid-1990’s saw the introduction of VoIP, or Voice over Internet Protocol, which allowed businesses and individuals to make calls using the internet, largely for free.  A number of different mobile phones were designed and produced including the Motorola StarTac, hailed as a marvel weighing in at only 3.1 ounces.

Not only did this phone break boundaries in terms of its portability, but it was also the first mobile to feature the clamshell design, which set the standard for years to come.  It also introduced us all to the vibration ring.

In 1996 Nokia released the 8110, made famous by The Matrix.  It was difficult not to feel pretty cool when using the slider-action!  Go on, you know you did it! In the same year Nokia also introduced the Nokia 9000 Communicator, which featured a full QWERTY keyboard and digital display when opened up.

Two years later in 1998 the Nokia 5110, complete with the addictive game snake, was introduced to the mass audience.  This is a breakthrough moment in mobile phone development as, for the first time, phones were not just about communication.  With interchangeable covers, and the possibility of doing more than just communicate, they had entered the realm of fashion and status symbol.

Just a year later Nokia produced a smaller phone, the 8210, which could be customised even further, including removable x-press covers and speed dial configuration.

In 2002 the Blackberry was introduced. Initially it was only used for email access; however, the release of the 5810 featured a built-in phone (though you needed a headset to make calls as it didn’t come with a speaker or microphone).

Two years later the Motorola Razr V3 came along and stole pride of place as the thinnest mobile on the market.

Hot on the heels in 2007 the iPhone debuted, and the smartphone as we know it really began, with improved touchscreen functionality, and a myriad of apps and other software to make our lives so much easier.  Ensuring we all became completely addicted to our phones.

Why not pop over to our Facebook page and let us know what your first phone was, and what your phone of choice is these days?

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