Martin Cooper invented the mobile phone in 1973. Was inspired by Star Trek

Goran Blazeski
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Alexander Graham Bell, on March the 10th, 1876, made the historic first telephone call that gave birth to a cultural and business shift which changed the world. 97 years later, in 1973, Motorola installed a base station to handle the first public demonstration of a phone call over a cellular network.

On April the 3rd, 1973, the phone’s inventory, Martin Cooper, took the cellular phone technology to New York to demonstrate it to reports and the public where a call was made while standing on Sixth Avenue.

Since then a worldwide telecoms industry has sprung up, along with a vast array of technologies developed for mobile phones and  mobile phone technology has come a long way after years of development, new inventions, to what we know as the smartphone today.

In 1973, there wasn’t the Internet, digital cameras, or personal computers, but there was the cell phone. The prototype version that would become the Motorola DynaTAC 8000x weighed 2.5 pounds, and had a single-line, text-only LED screen. It took a decade before Motorola’s DynaTAC finally reached consumer’s hands.

Cooper holding a DynaTAC cellphone in 2007. Photo Credit

Cooper holding a DynaTAC cellphone in 2007. Photo Credit

Martin Cooper, the inventor of the cellphone was then a general manager of Motorola’s Communications Systems Division. He called Joel Engel, who was the AT&T general manager, to tell him that the race to perfect cellular tech was over, and that Motorola won the race. He said, “Joel, this is Marty Cooper, I’d like you to know that I’m calling you from a cellular phone.”

On September 21st, 1983, Motorola made history when they produced the world’s first commercial portable cell phone. It cost consumers a whopping $3,995 at the time.

A man talks on his mobile phone while standing near a conventional telephone box, which stands empty. Enabling technology for mobile phones was first developed in the 1940s but it was not until the mid 1980s that they became widely available. Photo Credit

A man talks on his mobile phone while standing near a conventional telephone box, which stands empty. Enabling technology for mobile phones was first developed in the 1940s but it was not until the mid-1980s that they became widely available. Photo Credit

A very substantial part of that first phone was, in fact, the battery, which weighed four or five times more than an entire rest if the cellphone and had a battery lifetime of only 20 minutes.

Cooper’s vision for a personal wireless handheld telephone was inspired by watching Captain Kirk using his communicator on the television show Star Trek.

He hoped that one day everyone would have their own handset. He even joked, “In fact, we had a joke that said, in the future, when you were born you would be assigned a telephone number and if you didn’t answer the phone, you were dead.”

Picture of Martin Cooper standing in front of Two Antennas, dated October 2007. Photo Credit

Picture of Martin Cooper standing in front of Two Antennas, dated October 2007. Photo Credit

Martin Cooper didn’t think that in about 35 years, more than half the people on Earth would have cellular telephones, and they give the phones away to people for nothing. He was hoping that the devices would help bring safety and freedom to people.