Thursday, 3 December 2009

Mobile Cell Phone History and Technology

Mobile phones have been around for a long time now but I didn't get my first one until 1998. I thought that they would invade my privacy and that is probably true as the first words my wife says to me when she phones my cell phone is, "Where are you?" In fact, I still have friends to this day that don't want one for reasons of privacy.

I accepted my first cell phone from a friend who gave me his old Motorola when he upgraded to a new one. I had been working on a remote coffee farm for a couple of years without any communication, and without any problems as far as I could see. But my friend was also a farmer and convinced me of the necessity of owning a cell phone.

Today, I don't know how I could live without one, like the majority of people. In fact, I live in a developing country with a population of 12 million and there are 16 million cell phones, so I suppose that communications are more important than any other luxury in life.

A Brief History of the Mobile Phone

Mobile communication devices have been around since before WWI but were based on radio technology. The actual cell run network for mobile phones was invented in 1947 by Bell Labs and the first automatic car phone system was launched in Sweden in 1956.

It wasn't until the 1970's with the development of handoff technology that allowed a continuous conversation or call between cell networks, that the modern mobile cell phone technology was born. On April 3, 1973 Dr. Martin Cooper, a Motorola employee, made the first call on a hand-held mobile phone while walking the streets of New York City. He used the first Motorola DynaTAC prototype and talked to his rival, Dr. J. S. Engel of Bell Labs.

First Generation - Analog Cell Phones

The first commercial and fully automatic cellular phone network was named 1G (first generation.) It was inaugurated in 1979 in Japan and the network covered the whole metropolitan area of Tokyo with 23 base stations. This was followed in 1981 with the launch of the Nordic Mobile Telephone network in Sweden, Denmark, Norway and Finland. This network was the first to feature international roaming which had been in development since 1966. The next couple of years saw cell networks appearing in the UK, Canada, Mexico and the Chicago area in the USA in 1983.

Second Generation - Digital Mobile Network

The second generation, or 2G, was the first truly modern network technology which was launched in 1991 in Finland. Digital networks opened up a whole new range of services that were impossible with analog. The first of these services which is still very popular today is SMS, or text messaging, which was launched in Finland in 1993. Other firsts were the ringtones that could be bought and downloaded in 1998, again in Finland, and the first full Internet service for mobile phones was introduced in Japan in 1999.

Third Generation - Wideband

3G wideband mobile communication was introduced in 2001. The new wideband protocols were developed but still allowed backward compatibility to the 2G protocols. One of these protocols is called High Speed Downlink Packet Access (HSDPA) which allows for higher data transfer and capacity. Down link speeds of up to 14 Mbit/s were supported and further increases are available now up to 84 Mbit/s.

Fourth Generation - Broadband

Today we have reached the fourth generation with the advent of broadband. The goal of broadband is to offer 100 Mbit/s data rates for wireless access but the final technology that it will be based on is unclear. Depending on the path that broadband takes, we could see data rates of 233 or 326.4 Mbit/s. This 4G system promises to provide users with a secure system where voice, data, and streamed multimedia are available whenever and wherever they are.

We have come a long way since the days when we only used our cell phones for voice calls. One thing for sure is that with the ability to take digital photos and videos, listen to MP3 music or watch MP4 videos, and with the functions of PDA devices, e-mail, Internet browsing, WiFi, instant messaging and all the other future advances, the mobile cell phone may be the only electronic device you will need.

Michael has been writing articles on the Internet for several years now. He writes about his many interests, like technology and electronic devices, so you can check out his new website at which discusses the different types of Portable eBook Readers so that you can find the best ebook reader for your needs.

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