Who invented the cell phone?

Cell Phone Inventor Martin Cooper

Martin Cooper - Inventor of the Cell Phone

Have you ever pondered over who invented the cell phone? Well, the inventor of the cell phone is named Martin Cooper and he is the man responsible for the generation and development of the very first cell phone.

Although, it was a research team associated with AT&T that first introduced the whole idea of cellular communications in 1947.

Sufficient to say that the very first cell phone ever invented was a far cry from the cell phones of today! Read on to learn all about cell phone inventor Martin Cooper and then read through our loads of cell phone reviews to find the best cell phone!

Search No More for the Inventor of the Cell Phone

Martin Cooper grew up in Chicago. He served 4 years in the U.S. Navy. He studied and received his degree in Electrical Engineering from the Illinois Institute of Technology. Upon graduation he worked for 1 year at a telecommunications company.

Rise to Inventor Status

Cooper was hired by the Motorola Company in 1954. It was during this employment that he developed the first portable hand held police radio for the Chicago Police Department in 1967. It was after he was promoted to division manager and was assigned a team, that he developed the first hand held phone.

A Working Prototype

It was April 3, 1973 that the first working prototype of the cell phone was introduced. This was also the day of the first cell phone call being placed by Mr. Cooper. This first prototype was a Motorola Dyna-Tac Phone. The Dyna-Tac cell phone was:

  • 9x5x1.175 inches
  • Had 30 circuit boards
  • Weighed 2.5 pounds
  • A talk time of 35 minutes
  • A recharge time of 10 hours
  • Its only features were talk, listen,and dial

An Invention for the Public?

The prototype, while sharing the same name with the final product, still needed some work to be commercially ready for the general public. There were still hurdles to overcome with the FCC. Initially, only 40 MHz was allocated for mobile service (in 1974).

License to Operate

In 1975 AT&T applied to the FCC for permission to operate a cell system in the city of Chicago. That license was not granted until March 1977. Upon approval Illinois Bell commenced construction of a cell system, and got it up and running. In 1978 the equipment test phase began.

This phase included:

  • 2000 trial customers
  • 2100 test mobile phones

A Brief History of the Cell Phone

The use of mobile communications started long before the 1970’s. As early as 1921 mobile radios were utilized by police (in Detroit) nearing 2MHz. The frequencies rose to about 30-40 MHz by 1940. This encouraged the building up of the police systems. It also attracted the following groups to invest in and utilize mobile units:

  1. Private companies
  2. Public agencies
  3. Individuals

Rapid Expansion of the Cell Phone

In 1945 the first public mobile telephone system was instituted. This system had 3 channels with 150 MHZ. By 1947 a public mobile system was installed between New York and Boston. This system introduced the “push to talk” operation.

In 1964, the phone system had developed as far as to do away with the push to talk function. Customers could now dial the numbers themselves without the aid of mobile operators. 1953 ushered in even greater frequencies, by expanding to an 800 MHz region.

First Commercially Available Cell Phone

The first commercially available phone on the market was the Motorola Dyna-Tac. While using the same name of the prototype, it weighed less. This Dyna-Tac weighed in at 16 ounces. The hefty part was the price. The tag on the Dyna-Tac? $3,5000! Yep, you read it right – the price of the first cell phone was three thousand five hundred dollars!

More than just the high price tags of cell phones have changed over the years. Check out this cool image representation of how the size of cell phones have changed over the years courtesy of Kyle Bean from Design Milk (the Dyna-Tec is the first phone on the left):

Cell Phone Evolution

Where is the Inventor of the Cell Phone Now?

Martin Cooper is now the chairman, CEO, and co-founder of a company called Array Communications Incorporated. The main mission of his company is to free the people of the constraints of specific places in which calls can be made, and to do away with the copper wires that constrain them.

An Inventors’ Company

Look no more for a company with future goals and aspirations. Array Communications was founded in 1992. It is a wireless technology and systems company. It seeks to make wireless communication more reliable and affordable for everyone.

Array’s Inventions

Array Communications has developed a core adaptive antenna that will increase the basic coverage of any cellular system. They have also created a personal broadband system called i-Burst. This system allows for mobile access to the internet that is affordable for everyone.

Martin Cooper had a vision for the nation. He desired mobile capabilities that freed the individual from the constraints of even the wireled landline phones. The race for mobile took serious strides in the 1960’s and 1970’s when Motorola and Bell vied to translate technology to actual application.

It might have taken 37 years for mobile phones to be commercially available, but now that they are here, they are here to stay. Start reading through reviews of cell phones now!



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