Hi, today we’re going to talk about the origin of cell phones. Today they have become a fundamental part of all of us and it sounds very strange to think even of those times when they did not exist. How different life would be, don’t you think? Let’s get to it.
- Why is it called a cell phone?
- How do you make up a cell phone?
- Functions of a cell phone
- How a cell phone works
- Major Cell Phone Manufacturers
- Cell Phone History
- Basic cell phone operation
- The beginnings of cellular telephony
- 1G: The first generation
- 2G: The second generation
- GSM Technology
- 2.5G: The Transition Generation
- 3G: The third generation
- 4G: The fourth generation
- Evolution of cell phones
- Birth of the cell phone
- The first mobile phone
- First generation of cell phones
- Second generation of cell phones
- Third generation of cell phones
- Smartphones and 4G
Why is it called a cell phone?
Cell phones are basically called that because the physical area they cover is in a cell format. The origin of the cell phone is said to be back in 1973 when the mass consumer electronics company Motorola launched the first portable cell phone, which was marketed under the name Motorola DynaTac 8000X.
Today, the number of cell phone models entering the market is virtually incalculable, and their sales generate hundreds of billions of dollars a year, making them the most widely used electronic device in the world.
As we can see in any city or town, it is almost impossible to find a person without a cell phone or smartphone in hand, such is the degree of penetration that this device has had among us, and no wonder, because thanks to the tasks it is capable of fulfilling, and the amount of important functions it incorporates, we can improve our lifestyle, increasing our productivity and shortening time.
These last years have seen the birth of the smartphone as we know it today, a mixture of computer and cell phone, offering features we could not even dream of in the days of the Nokia 3210, for example.
How do you make up a cell phone?
The parts of a traditional cell phone are as follows:
- Circuit board
- LCD screen – liquid crystal display
Functions of a cell phone
Cellular phones have a wide variety of functions. To mention a few, depending on the type of cell phone:
- Stores contact information
- Manages an updated commitment schedule
- Send and receive e-mails
- 3D games
- Send and receive text messages
- Internet instant messaging
- Social network integration
- Browse websites
- Play MP3 and other audio formats
- Play video and TV on-line
- GPS and mapping service
- Integration with other devices such as GPS receivers
How a cell phone works
Cell phones, by operating in radio frequency, innovated to minimize the availability of RF spectrum. Now, several cell phone tower antennas are used to cover a large geographical area. Each tower (base station) covers a circular area called a cell. A large geographic region is divided into a number of cells, allowing different base stations to use the same channels/frequencies to perform the communication.
Another important aspect of this division into cells is that cell phones need less power to transmit and reach any base station covering a smaller area. By reducing the energy needed for transmission, the battery size and consequently the weight is reduced. This contributes to the reduction of cell phone size that would not be possible without cell technology.
When you use your cell phone, the phone first locates the base station with the strongest signal and requests a channel. The base station allows access to the channel and the call is then accepted. The call is then sent to the local phone network, if the call is to a regular phone, otherwise it will be transmitted over the mobile network.
When the mobile phone is connected, the SID (System Identification Code) on the control channel is equivalent to the phone’s SID. If the SID is identified, the phone understands that the cell is communicating with the local system. The phone sends a request for registration, along with the SID and the MTSO keeps track of the phone’s location in the database. If the control does not identify the SID of your phone, then the phone will be roaming.
Major Cell Phone Manufacturers
Most of the popular models of cell phones on the market are produced by:
and many others…
Cell Phone History
There is no doubt that cellular telephony has become in recent years one of the most common technologies used daily by millions of people around the world. Almost thirty years of constant evolution in mobile personal communications have allowed this device to become a fundamental part in the daily development of any activity undertaken by the individual.
Surely, along with the Internet, mobile phones have become one of the essential elements for anyone’s social life, and that is precisely because these fabulous devices bring users a wide variety of features, which are increasing every day in the new models of terminals, which include additional functions to offer the most complete service to the consumer.
Today, not only can we communicate with someone in a conventional way, as we used to do with the traditional landline phone, but also mobile phones have given us the possibility to learn about other types of communication, such as the popular text messages and multimedia messages.
On the other hand, we cannot forget to mention the inclusion of new platforms, such as the incorporation of the Internet and different modes of connectivity between devices, as well as the added features that have begun to be included in mobile phones for years.
With a mobile phone we not only establish a telephone communication, but we can also take pictures, capture video, surf the Internet, play games, listen to music and a host of other tasks that we can now develop with the terminal.
For all this, besides adding the advance in technology behind the physical aspect of the equipment, such as the incorporation of modern multi-touch screens, virtual keyboards and others, the cell phone has become much more than its name indicates, to become a true multifunction device.
Basic cell phone operation
Before starting this exciting journey, it is important to briefly highlight how the complex technology behind something that is so commonplace to us, such as mobile telephony, works.
This platform works by using radio waves, which allow you to perform the operations to establish communication from the cell phone to the base that delays the communication. In this way, it is possible to establish different modes of communication, from a conventional chat through a call, to sending and receiving a text message, to the most modern functionalities that allow us to be connected at all times.
The beginnings of cellular telephony
According to the experts’ opinion, the pioneers in the field of mobile telephony for civilian use began their development path in the distant 1940s, when in the United States the great advantages that the use of this type of technology could bring in the daily lives of citizens were glimpsed.
So it was that in the twilight of the 40’s analog radio systems began to be used, which worked through amplitude modulation, ie AM frequencies, and then began to use frequency modulation, ie FM waves, thus achieving a greater range and accuracy of service.
In those early days, the HF and VHF bands were used to provide the population with a means of mobile communication, which they could take with them when they left their homes and offices, which meant maintaining constant communication.
However, in those early days of mobile telephony, the consumer response was not entirely satisfactory. This was mainly due to the exaggerated size and weight of the first cellular telephone equipment, and of course also to the high value that the devices possessed, which were beyond the economic possibilities of the American middle social class.
One of the first companies that started in the mobile telephony market at that time was the American company Bell, through its innovative service called Bell System Service.
In general, this type of device was designed to be used only in automobiles, since the radio equipment was installed inside the trunk of the vehicle, from where a cable came out that communicated the telephone receiver inside the driver’s cabin.
Despite their low popularity, these equipments remained in force for several decades, precisely from 1946 to 1985, when finally important technological changes came to the market, which managed to evolve mobile communications by leaps and bounds.
1G: The first generation
Already located in the 21st century, surely when we look at the cell phones belonging to the 1G technology era we will think that in reality they are too big, heavy and uncomfortable equipment, compared to the current standards.
However, it is important to point out that in the 80s these devices represented an unprecedented evolution within mobile communications, and for their time they meant a great advance, since from the so-called first generation, terminals became smaller, allowing users to move their communication equipment.
On the other hand, this radical change meant the beginning of personal communications, since from the use of the 1G system, the terminals could be used individually by one person.
The arrival of the First Generation happened in 1981, when the prestigious company Ericsson launched the Nordic Mobile Telephony system of 450 MHz, known by its acronym NMT 450, which operated by using analog radio channels, through FM frequency modulation. In this way, the first step was taken to achieve the modern and sophisticated mobile telephone systems in use today.
In the same decade, precisely in the year 1986, the same company incorporated new advances to the communication system, managing to take it to the NMT 900 level, which although it worked in a similar way to the previous version, the truth is that it managed to reach higher frequencies, which meant an opening of the mobile telephony market.
With the amplitude of the frequencies it was not only possible to provide the service of mobile personal communications to a significant number of users, but also gave the initial kick for technological development to improve the portability of telephone equipment.
It should be noted that in addition to the system created by Ericsson, other developments emerged simultaneously, such as the Advanced Mobile Phone System and Total Access Communication System, but they did not achieve the overwhelming success of the NMT.
2G: The second generation
After several investigations to further improve the features and services provided in the field of mobile communications by the mid-1980s, the technology underwent a profound evolution with the emergence of the so-called Second Generation, better known as 2G.
The origin of the 2G system took place in the 1990s, when different technologies were incorporated to improve mobile communications, including GSM, IS-136, iDEN and IS-95.
It should be noted that the change from 1G to 2G meant an important step in the world of mobile telephony, as communications managed to achieve an outstanding quality, thanks to the use of 900 and 1800 MHz frequencies.
However, its most significant point was undoubtedly the step towards the digitalization of communications, with which mobile telephony managed to achieve excellent voice quality, truly superior to analog communications.
On the other hand, thanks to the innovation in digitalization, it was possible to significantly improve the level of security, offering users an effective system that protects their privacy.
Of course, the introduction of the 2G system made it possible to simplify the manufacture of cell phones, which reduced their size and began to be manufactured with cheaper materials, which meant a real decrease in manufacturing costs, and therefore there was a greater consumption of the devices, which began to be marketed at affordable prices for the general public.
With the arrival of the 2G system, different mobile communication standards emerged, such as D-AMPS in the United States, PDC in Japan, CDMA One in the United States and Asia, and the popular GSM, which over the years became the universal system.
With the arrival of Second Generation technology in the world of mobile communications, the popular GSM system, which stands for Global System for Mobile Communications, also arrived in portable cellular telephone devices.
This technology allowed important improvements to be achieved in terms of mobile communications, as the system was developed on the basis of a series of specific parameters focused on this objective.
Thanks to the implementation of the GSM system in the 90s, mobile telephony was able, among other things, to offer true voice quality achieved through digital processing of communications, allow the manufacture of more portable and economical cell phones, and support for the Integrated Services Digital Network (ISDN).
On the other hand, with the subsequent implementation of such technology at an international level, as a universal standard for mobile communications, it became possible the birth of a true competitive market for cellular telephony, which gave rise to countless operators and device manufacturers.
As it usually happens with the standards born within the technology, although the GSM system met the expectations raised for years, the truth is that after a while it became obsolete, since it only allowed access to a voice or data service at low transfer speeds, only 9.6 Kbps.
Let’s take into account that by the middle of the 90s, the cellular telephony market needed another really significant evolution, which would allow the inclusion of multimedia services, so a greater data transfer capacity was needed.
So it was that work began on the development of a new generation of mobile communications, the so-called 3G that would use CDMA technology, which at the time was under development, so it was decided to transform the 2G and include updating and necessary changes, giving way to an intermediate system, the so-called transition generation.
2.5G: The Transition Generation
With the arrival of the transition generation, which took a previous step during the wait for 3G, important changes were introduced within the scope of cellular telephony, increasing the services offered so far by 2G.
With the arrival of 2.5G, mobile devices included two new services. On the one hand, the system called EMS, which was basically an improved messaging service, which among its features allowed to include within the messages some melodies and icons. To this end, the EMS was based on what would later be the SMS.
On the other hand, the MMS service was incorporated, an acronym of its name Multimedia Messaging System, which were messages that offered the possibility of including images, sounds, text and videos, using GPRS technology.
With the addition of these two innovative services in mobile communications, the generation of transition had to use the incorporation of two important new technologies, as were in those years the GPRS and EDGE.
It should be noted that the GPRS system, which stands for General Packet Radio Service, offers a data transfer speed of 56kbps to 114 kbps, while EDGE technology, Enhanced Data rates for GSM Evolution, allows to reach 384 Kbps in transfer speed.
3G: The third generation
With the advent of the Third Generation, the result of research to increase the capacity of data transmission and reception, in addition to obtaining a better degree of security in communications, it was possible to have the possibility of connecting to the Internet with all the advantages that its use provides for users.
Thanks to all these advances, it is now possible to reach data transmission speeds of over 7.2 Mbits/s, which has favoured the emergence of new implementations in the mobile phone, such as downloading programme content, video call services, instant messaging and the use of e-mail, among many others.
Although the expansion of 3G technology at the beginning was slow, the truth is that it has been widely accepted today and its constant progress made possible the development of a new system, the so-called UMTS (Universal Mobile Telecommunications System).
The UMTS system is the immediate successor to GSM technology, which due to the lack of certain technical characteristics to provide services such as video and audio transmission in real time, complex multimedia functions and voice sound quality in transmissions, will not be able to evolve properly accompanying the development of Third Generation mobile phones, points that this new standard does meet.
This new technology, although designed for use in mobile phones, can also be incorporated into other types of portable devices.
For its operation, the UMTS system is based on the use of CDMA technology, which allows it to develop data transmission rates of up to 7.2 Mbits/s
4G: The fourth generation
There is no doubt that the implementation of this new mobile communications standard has revolutionized the way we use our phones, allowing us to do things that were previously impossible to do if we were not near a computer. Of course, this has a lot to do with the performance and power of modern smartphones, which can take full advantage of the speed that 4G offers to send and receive data.
The arrival of this technology to the market offers the user a completely successful user experience with any feature they request, including registration to services such as Spotify, Netfix or Google Music to enjoy audio content and series or movies in high definition and without cuts, all thanks to the high speed that can reach the standard, and without the need for a Wi-Fi signal source nearby.
It also gives SMEs the possibility of having all kinds of services in the cloud, which today is an indispensable platform for any business or company that wants to stay in the market.
As we can see, with the advantages offered by 4G associated with the speed it can reach, theoretically 100 Mbits / s in motion to the incredible figure of 1 Gb / s at rest, we can handle with much more ease than before, and get almost impossible benefits with the previous generation, 3G.
In addition to the determining factor related to the increase in speed and convergence that the system represents, another important point to highlight is that the new standard offers higher levels of quality of service throughout the extension of the communication, that is, security coverage will be provided between the two ends of the terminals.
Nowadays communications play a very important role in society, since it allows constant interrelation and communication between people, societies, companies and the other actors of the modern world. It could be said, with total security, that without communications, life as we know it could not exist. With the passage of time, the need to be more and more communicated became greater, and that is why companies and manufacturers related to the world of telephony are in a constant search to evolve and offer better equipment and services.
Evolution of cell phones
Since 1854, which could be defined as the date of the creation of the telecommunications market thanks to the invention of the telephone, there has been no lack of innovation. And although the invention of the telephone was a historic event that had a great impact worldwide, allowing the reduction of great distances and giving people the possibility of being communicated with greater frequency and ease, it was not until the arrival of cellular phones in 1972, creation of the mind of Martin Cooper, that the telephone became an artifact from which it is impossible to get rid, altering, in addition to the way of communicating, the way in which the individual who uses it behaves socially. This is precisely what this article is about.
Over the years, cell phones evolved (and still do) in a dramatic way. They started out as “bricks” (named for their large size) and analog, and ended up being small and digital with countless amazing features.
Birth of the cell phone
The cell phone has its beginnings at the beginning of World War II, where it was a real need for remote communication, which is why Motorola created a team called Handie Talkie H12-16. It is a device that allowed communication through radio waves that at that time did not exceed 600 Khz.
It was only a matter of time before the two technologies of Tesla and Marconi came together to create communication through radio telephones: Martin Cooper, considered the father of cellular telephony, manufactured the first radio telephone between 1970 and 1973, in the United States, and in 1979 the first systems appeared on the market in Tokyo (Japan), manufactured by NTT. Europe could not be left behind and in 1981 a system similar to AMPS (Advanced Mobile Phone System) was introduced.
Already in 1985 they began to perfect and shape the characteristics of this new system. In this way, in the 80’s, a team was created that used resources similar to those of Handie Talkie, aimed at people in the business sector who needed constant communication. It was then that the mobile phone was created, marking a milestone in the history of wireless components, since with this equipment it was possible to talk at any time and in any place.
The first mobile phone
The first cell phone in history was the Motorola DynaTAC 8000X, first seen in 1983. It weighed 780 grams and measured approximately 33 x 9 x 4.5 cm. It was obviously analog, and had a small display. The battery had a durability of no more than one hour talking or 8 hours in stand-by. The sound quality was very bad, it was heavy and unattractive, but still, some people paid a value of USD $3,995 which made it a luxury item only accessible to certain social groups.
The first people to use them were businessmen, executives and personnel with high purchasing power, mainly because the socioeconomic development of a company needs effective communication, communication with suppliers, customers, employees, governments and regulatory agencies. The use of this service had a high cost since, due to the lack of competition, prices did not go down and there were no technical improvements.
In 1984, about 900,000 telephones were sold, considerably exceeding the estimated number.
First generation of cell phones
The first generation of cell phones emerged with the appearance of the world’s famous “brick” (DynaTac 8000X) in the late 1980s. These equipments had analog technology for restricted use of voice commands. The predominant technology of this generation was the AMPS (Advanced Mobile Phone System)
Second generation of cell phones
It emerged in the 1990s, with digitally powered cell phones having certain highly valued benefits, such as extended battery life, and greater definition and sound quality. These phones already had the possibility of sending and receiving text messages (SMS), although at that time it was not the “boom” of this tool. At the end of the decade, cell phones boomed; ordinary people were added to the list of users, favored by the price and competition among different companies.
The predominant technologies of this generation were: GSM (Global System by Mobile Communications); IS-136 (also known as TIA/EIA136 or ANSI-136) and CDMA (Code Division Multiple Access) and PDC (Personal Digital Communications), only used in Japan.
Third generation of cell phones
This generation joins the previous technologies with the new ones incorporated in the cell phones. A massification arises, and now they have a chip (SIM card), where all the information can be found.
The consumption extended notably, and one of the causes is the existence in the market of GSM phones of “low range”, as the Nokia 1100, Sagem XT, Motorota C200 or C 115, Alcatel, Siemens A56 or Sony Ericsson T106, all with very low prices and with seductive promotions. However, the need to reach a certain social status is still present, and the cell phone has a symbolic value of class belonging, both in young people and in high executives who continue to benefit from its services.
Along with these “minor” equipment, there is an infinite variety of phone models with cameras, and some that even allow to film a few minutes, color screen, fast Internet connection (EDGE technology), sending multimedia messages (MMS) and access to e-mail box (POP3).
In 2001, 3G technology was launched in Japan for cell phones, based on UMTS (General Mobile Telecommunications Services). At this time, one of the last steps was taken in what is mobile telephony. The main novelty was the incorporation of a second camera to be able to make video calls, that is, to talk and see a person at the same time through the mobile phone.
After that, other communication standards followed, increasingly faster and more capable, and finally they were able to match the performance and possibilities of a wonderful device: The smartphone, the smartphone that changed the way people carry out their daily lives.
Smartphones and 4G
There is no doubt that the appearance in the market of the 4G communication standard, changed forever the way that cell phone users use their device. So much so that consumer entertainment telephony as we know it today could not exist.
The union of the smartphone, an impressive mix between phone and computer, and this new communication standard, undoubtedly broke the scheme of content consumption to which we were accustomed for years, since thanks to the data transmission speed that can reach 4G we can consume without any problems high-definition video content, streaming music and a thousand other things, plus of course everything that has to do with our work can be done several times faster and without many complications, in the place and time where we are, points that today are vital to the daily development of millions of people around the world.
With the arrival of 4G to the cell phone, its users have strengthened their ties with technology more than ever, placing on this couple the responsibility of carrying out safely and effectively many of the tasks that before were not even encouraged to leave in the hands of other people, moral and psychological considerations aside.
Thanks to the long road travelled and the constant evolution of the actors involved in cellular technology, we are currently facing a very wide and varied market, with many opportunities, equipment and plans that fit each of the user’s needs, something that is mainly reflected in the increasingly specific advertising campaigns on the one hand, and on the other, in the constant offer of promotions and plans, trying to attract new customers.
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