On 3 April 1973, Marty Cooper remained on the edge of 6th Road in New York and took a telephone directory from his pocket. After that, while people around him were staring at him, he punched a number into a large, cream-colored device and wore it to his ear.
Peek into the Past
Mr. Cooper, an engineer at Motorola, dialed his rival at Bell Laboratories to tell him he was calling from “A personal, handheld, portable cell phone.” He recalls that the other end of the line remained silent. The 94-year-old laughs and says, “I think he was gritting his teeth.”
He claims that instead, Bell Laboratories had been working on developing a phone for cars. Could that be true? This copper wire had kept us confined to our offices and homes for over a century, and now they would keep us bound to our automobiles!”
Mr. Cooper and Motorola disagreed as it was the best course of action, and history has shown that they were correct.
The essentials of how that first call functioned haven’t changed a lot. The phone transforms your voice into an electric signal, which then modulates a radio wave. A mast receives the radio wave.
In 1984, eleven years after the initial call, Marty Cooper’s prototype was made commercially available as the Motorola Dynatac 8000X. Ben Wood, who runs the Mobile Phone Museum, claims that if purchased today, it would cost £9,500.