Cell phones are a relatively new development in technology, but the idea of portable phone communication has been around for awhile. Portable phones were originally a military device. They used radio technology to communicate between moving vehicles and were used during World War II. Planes, submarines, ships, and tanks were all equipped with these radio wave phones and used an operator to patch calls from the portable device into an existing telephone.
The cell tower and cell signal were the works of engineers at the Bell Laboratories and AT&T companies. The technology allowed signals to reach hexagonal receiver cells in portable phones. The technology was developed during the 1950s, but it was too expensive for the average consumer to enjoy. The phones were used in cars and used the batteries as a power source. They were large, heavy devices and had very little call range.
In the 1970s, Dr. Martin Cooper developed the first hand-held cell phone. With the availability of new phones, coverage area began to expand and cellular signals were available in far more places. AT&T continued to lead the way in the mobile phone market, but it was not until 1982 that the company got permission from the Federal Communications Commission to use the radio spectrum for commercial phone service.
Upgrades in Technology
Over the next 20 years, phones continued to get smaller and more powerful. Cell phone towers sprang up in a variety of places, so people were able to place phone calls with more confidence and call a greater number of areas. By the late 1990s, cell phones no longer had to be connected to a bulky receiver unit or plugged into a car battery. Phones were also digital instead of analog, giving conversations improved quality, comparable to traditional land line calls. Digital technology samples pieces of a radio wave, chopping it up, and transmitting it in bursts of data. Voices and other data are encoded into bit streams, making modern phones a secure, more efficient way to transmit information.
Phones also got much smaller with increased capabilities. Even though phones were more technologically advanced than ever, the prices of cell phones gradually decreased. The average person can afford a cell phone and there are even prepaid cell phone options that allow you to purchase a phone and calling minutes very cheap. The modern cell phone industry is fiercely competitive and consumers rarely have a problem finding affordable phone service with discounts, perks, and even free telephones.
More than Phones
Modern phones have many capabilities that go beyond placing phone calls. In many cases, people actually use their calling power as a secondary feature on their phones. Even basic cells phones have the ability to take photos and videos, play games and music, and send text messages. Higher tech phones have Global Positioning System capabilities that allow users to have their location tracked or find their way to and from different places without a traditional map. Many cell phones also offer access to computer applications that allow users to track workouts, find recipes, interact with social networking sites, make shopping decisions, and learn new information.