From a Brick to a Tablet – The Evolution of Cell Phones
Over 50% of Americans today carry around a tiny personal computer that has assumed an indispensable role in their everyday life. We’re talking about the venerable smartphone, of course – a modern-day commodity that has become a natural extension of our collective right (or left) hand.
We've gotten so chummy with our iPhones and Galaxies, in fact, that most of us would be hard-pressed to get through the day without them. And for good reason. How else could we end relationships, get directions, document embarrassing moments, keep tabs on our friends, and do just about everything else that doesn’t require physical or biological effort?
But while it seems like everybody and their five-year-old nephew has a smartphone these days, it wasn't so long ago that cell phones were a luxury reserved for the well-to-do. In 1982, you had to dish out $6,200 to get your hands on a Mobira Senator. That's over $15,000 in today's dollars. A favorite (theirs – not mine) family rumor has it that back in the ‘80s, upon discovering the brand-new car phone attached to the console of my uncle’s orange volvo, I looked at my newly licensed cousin with awe and said something like, “You have a car phone??? I didn’t know you guys were that rich!” Sheer slander, if you ask me, but it does drive home the point.
And exorbitant prices weren’t the end of it. The elite privilege of owning a portable phone back in the day carried another hefty price tag. Literally. That archaic Mobira phone we mentioned weighed a whopping 22 pounds. Not hard to envision the consummate yuppie businessman (feathered bangs included) holding his handset with one hand while absentmindedly curling the bulky battery with the other, you know… so he'll look super pumped when he gets to the gym. Gotta love the ‘80s…
But back to the present. Lucky for us, you don't have to qualify for the WWE to use contemporary mobile phones. A toddler could easily bench press (or toss out the window of a moving car) the iPhone 5S, for example – the nifty device, complete with aluminum casing, weighs a measly 3.95 ounces. And that’s just weight. A time traveler from the glorious ‘80s would be rendered breathless by the tiny, portable phone that can take pictures, identify celestial bodies, respond to voice commands, and pay for gas. Forget the flux capacitor! Smartphone technology is far more impressive…
Those of us who grew up in the cell phone era witnessed a for-the-most-part steady transition in the technologies. There weren't too many true "Wow!" moments between the wakie-talkie-like devices that made us look like amature undercover agents and their sleek 21st century counterparts. If anything, denizens of the '80s expected scientists to supply the futuristic gadgets of their dreams. Having said that, even with a sci-fi supplemented diet, most of us probably couldn’t have predicted the ultimate evolution of the mammoth brick monstrosities of yore to the gorgeous omnipotent smartphones we can’t live without today.
This post was contributed to The Conduit Mobile Blog by guest blogger Calvin Sellers. Calvin is a mobile tech and social media writer from Tampa, FL. He loves to discuss all things mobile.