Wednesday, April 3, 2013

40 years of Mobile Connectivity, We've Come A Long Way

Recently, we gave in and got our oldest a smart phone. We have questioned, is she is ready for the responsibility? We have worried it, would open her up to unnecessary dangers? We have reasoned, it will keep us connected as she ventures into her teenage years. I find it fitting that today marks the 40th anniversary of the very first cell phone.

Well, that makes the cell phone older than me by a few months, which is difficult to believe. And no, the first cell phone was not made by Apple but by Motorla, the Motorola DynaTAC 8000x. It weighed 2.5 pounds, had a one-line LED display, and cost nearly $4,000 with a battery life of just 20 minutes!

Cell technology did not hit my house until the mid-to-late 1980s when my mom, who was a real estate appraiser and traveled alone in the car often, got her first car phone. It was the size of a shoe box and had a cord attached to the receiver. It sat on the center consul of her Nissan Maxima, which later became my car.

Even as a young professional in the mid 1990s, cell phones were not prevalent. I was
given a pager at my first real PR job and back in 1999, at my current company, we had two company cell phones that we could check out when needed for travel or events, otherwise we all had pagers. When we got paged, we had to stop and find a pay phone to answer the call. Today, my daughter would not know what a pager is and we'd be hard-pressed to find a pay phone anywhere.

Eventually, we all got cell phones. Those little Motorola flip phones. And I was among the first of my colleagues to get a smart phone. It was an HP Pocket PC and I loved it! I could write word documents, email, see my calendar. It was a organization-freak's dream! I guess that little device began my love affair with smart phone technology. Since that time, I have had numerous devices including Blackberries and every edition of the iPhone (my current love). It is a rare occasion that my iPhone or iPad are not close by my side (though I really do try to disconnect for some time each evening).

I wonder now, how my parents got along with three kids- two of them boys- without a cell phone (or even a pager) to keep connected. I guess they trusted them to be where they said they would be. Now we can track our kids by the cell GPS.

With talk of apple coming out with iWatch, where all the mobile technology would be available on a device small enough to wear on our wrist, and of Google developing augmented reality glasses, it is unimaginable where technology will take us in the next 40 years. I can guess I know one thing, I'll be on board for the ride. So, thanks to Marty Cooper, who made it possible for that first call to be made, you have changed our world completely!