Smart Phones, an Everyday Necessity, but Will Other Devices Take Over?
In just 30 years, cell phones have gone from hulking machines to slim and sleek pocket computers, able to do just about anything the user can think up.
Because of the utility and ubiquity of cell phones, they have become an essential part of business, play and social interaction for millions of people worldwide.
Cell Phone History
The first cell phone was demoed in 1973 by Martin Cooper, a researcher and inventor with Motorola. From that behemoth of a handset (it weighed 2.5 pounds and only had 20 minutes of talk time) Motorola and other companies developed ever changing phones. Some that came after Dr. Cooper’s “Brick” had more battery life, others were smaller or lighter. The more iterations there were, the more reasons people could find to integrate the cell phone into their daily lives.
In the late 80’s and early 90’s, the PDA or pocket computer was a trendy but expensive item for business, and as cell phones became more complicated, they started to integrate the functions of the PDA such as calendars and alarms. With the rise of the cell phone, it became quite redundant to carry a PDA, pager or watch alongside the phone. Because they were portable, easy to use and becoming cheaper, cell phones gave people the unprecedented ability to connect with friends or family easily over distance and at any time.
As cell phones became fairly commonplace, wireless providers began to buy up spectrum and develop a way to marry phones and the Internet. This culminated in the release of the first “smartphone” in 1996, the Nokia 9000, followed by the Kyocera 6035 in 2001. From there, the trend grew with new devices being released each year, such as the BlackBerry and iPhone, allowing users to play music, schedule, text, email, browse and call, all from the same small device.
Cell Phones and the Internet
Today, it is rare to find someone who does not have a phone. Landline use has fallen, and cell phones are even replacing home computers or laptops as people’s primary connection to the Internet. However, cell phone design has remained the same for a few years now, favoring rectangular devices with large screens and flat profiles, the looks of which can be changed with a cell phone case.
Innovators have moved away from the hardware aspect to focus on form, giving rise to products like smart watches, like the Tmart watch phone, and the brand new Google Glass. The watches connect to a phone via Bluetooth and are able to make calls, serve as a small interface and relay updates from the phone to the watch face. Even more interestingly, Google Glass (currently only a computer, but has potential as a smartphone) is attached to a pair of glasses and is mostly hands free, allowing the user to navigate Google apps in a totally new way.
These devices are revolutionizing the way people interact, and their operating systems provide the opportunity for innovations like smart watches and glasses. Cell phones have become an integral part of the lives of millions the world over, allowing fast communication, efficient computing and connecting lives miles apart.