Mobile Archaeology: From Brick to iPhone, Phones Shaped Our Lives | science and technology

Half a century ago, on April 3, 1973, the first mobile call was made. Martin Cooper, Motorola’s vice president and chief innovation officer at the time, called Bell Labs researcher Joel Engel using a DynaTAC 8000x, the first true mobile phone in history. Until then, cell phones were more like portable devices that came with a carrying case; only senior leaders and politicians used them and they could only make, not receive, calls. The 2.5-pound DynaTAC, developed by Motorola, could be held with one hand and, after 10 hours of charging, offered up to one hour of use.

Fifty years later, those bulky devices from prehistoric cellphones have been replaced by flat, shiny, sophisticated instruments that fit in your pocket and are rarely used to make calls; now we call them smartphones and they are computers, music players, GPS devices, laptops and cameras. It’s the first thing you look at when you wake up (because you’re probably using it as an alarm) and the last thing you see before you fall asleep scrolling through an endless Instagram feed. He even has a phobia of his own: nomophobia, the irrational fear of not having a cell phone.

“As it is such an everyday object, we are barely aware of its evolution,” says Curro Quevedo Bueno, collector and mobile phone expert. Of course, we fondly remember the brand of our first mobile. Or when they started coming with color screens. Or when we discovered polyphonic ringtones. The evolutionary scale of the mobile phone is part of the history of technology, but also a sentimental account of our past.

Nokia Mobira Cityman (1987). The brick

In Finland, where Nokia is headquartered, it became known as “Gorba” because Mikhail Gorbachev, former president of the Soviet Union, used it to call Moscow from Helsinki in 1989. It was the first Nokia mobile phone without a carrying case. . It weighed about 1.7 pounds and offered technical innovations such as an illuminated display and the ability to adjust the ringer volume. Due to its high price, it was mainly used by senior executives. He even appeared in movies like Wall Street.

Nokia Mobira Cityman (1987) Mirta Rojo Nokia 3310 (2000). the indestructible

At the beginning of the century, the legend said that this telephone was completely unbreakable. You could drop it, get it wet, hit it repeatedly and it would still work. It was one of the first Nokias to be available to the general public. The year of its marketing, the market was disputed by only two brands: Motorola and Nokia. Ericsson, Sony and LG tried to take a slice of this market, but they were just nibbles. The 3310 was so popular that it sold 126 million units worldwide. Its legacy ended with the arrival of the Nokia 1100, the best-selling mobile phone in history with 250 million units shipped (it has yet to be surpassed by any other phone). The 3310 was used for more than calls: it had a calculator, stopwatch and four games, including the popular Snake II. This marked a generation; in 2017, a renewed version for nostalgics was released.

Nokia 310 (2000). Mirta Rojo Motorola V3 (2004). The Razr

Although this type of phone was popularly known as a clamshell, the name it was sold under was Razr (pronounced “razor”). In 2004, this aluminum Motorola was the thinnest mobile phone on the market. It was so popular that it even appeared in a Beyoncé video, the How I Met Your Mother series, and the movie The Devil Wears Prada (Miranda had one). The pink Barbie was Paris Hilton’s favorite device.

Motorola V3 (2004).Mirta RojoBlackberry Curve 8520 (2009). made to write

Originally created as a high-end phone for executives and businessmen, the BlackBerry reached a global market share of 3% in 2011. What made the device attractive was its 35-key QWERTY keyboard . Anyone who’s tried it knows that no one has ever made a cell phone that’s more comfortable for typing. Its massive use and users’ devotion to their BlackBerrys gave rise to a new term: CrackBerry. It was so addicting. What started as a cell phone idea ended up being a handheld. Some of its most dedicated users were Barack Obama, Kim Kardashian, and Angela Merkel. Despite its popularity, the brand failed to adapt to changing times and closed permanently on January 4, 2022.

BlackBerry Curve 8520 (2009). Mirta Rojo iPhone (2007). The one who changed everything

On January 9, 2007, Steve Jobs would completely change the rules of the game with the first iPhone, a revolutionary device that was all touchscreen. This global phenomenon has transformed the cell phone into a GPS device, camera, MP3 player and basically man’s best friend.

iPhone 4 (2010).Mirta RojoSamsung Galaxy SIII (2012). Enter the competition

If in the 1990s the market was disputed between Nokia and Motorola, in 2012 the fight was between Apple and Samsung. You were either an Android person or an iPhone person. The answer to the iPhone had come from South Korea. The Galaxy SIII was not the first Galaxy, but it was the only one known as the “iPhone Killer”. It was the most successful Android of the time, selling 50 million units worldwide in just nine months. The touch screen was no longer the domain of Apple.

Samsung Galaxy III (2012).Mirta RojoSamsung Z Flip3 (2021). The foldable phone

According to Quevedo Bueno, since the launch of the iPhone and all other smartphones, the technological revolution that we experienced in the 1980s and 1990s has come to a halt. “Foldable phones are different from others because they have flexible screens, something we haven’t seen before,” he points out. Cameras and batteries are improving, but when it comes to innovation, we’re stuck.

Samsung Z Flip3 (2021). Mirta Rojo

Sign up for our weekly newsletter to get more English language news coverage from EL PAÍS USA Edition

Related Article

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button