The History of Mobile Technology

Mobile phones have come a long way since the first idea of mobile technology back hi in the early 1900’s. From bulky radio receivers to mobile apps, phones have certainly changed over the years, so we thought we would take a look at the evolution of mobile technology.


The Invention of the Mobile Phone

The concept of a portable, wireless phone was first patented way back in 1908. Although the initial idea is over 100 years old, the first mobile phones weren’t actually invented until the 1940s. These initial “mobile phones” were developed by American company, AT&T. The company managed to create cells for mobile phone base stations. However, what they had created was not really a mobile phone. Initially, the mobile phone was more of a two-way radio which could be used by the likes of taxi drivers and emergency services to communicate.


The first mobile phone didn’t appear until April, 1973 when Motorola became the first company to mass produce a hand held mobile phone. The early models of the mobile phone were often referred to as 0G (zero generation) mobile phones – todays phones tend to rely on 3G and 4G technology.

The First Mobile Phone Call

Although some handsets had been used in vehicles previously, the first phone call made on a handheld mobile phone was made in 1973, by Martin Cooper. Martin Cooper is considered to be one of the main players in the history of mobile phones – Cooper is the man behind the first mobile phone which was invented for practical use.

Early Handsets

The early mobile phones were incredibly bulky and extremely expensive. Initially, phones were only used by the rich and famous – with the likes of Zack Morris, in Saved by the Bell, making mobile phones more attractive. However, at this point in time, mobile phones hadn’t reached the general public, and were mainly used by people in sales and the world of business.

As the handsets became smaller and more practical, they became more popular with the general public. This was also influenced by mobile phones becoming cool and trendy, making them much more desirable.

Over time, more functions were added to the phones to make them even more useful. Services such as voicemail and contact lists were added, which, again, made more people want their very own mobile phone.

Old Mobile Phone

The Introduction of Texting

Introducing texting to mobile phones was complicated in the beginning due to the lack of a keyboard on mobile phones at the time. However, this did not stop Neil Papworth, who sent the very first text message on a PC in 1992. Following the introduction of “texting”, Nokia introduced the first handset which was able to send texts.


The initial growth of texting was slow, with people sending one text every month or two, but as phones developed and the ability to send texts became easier, texting became more popular. Finally, in 1999, people were able to send texts across different networks, and by the year 2000, people were sending around 35 texts a month.


Before the introduction of phones with QWERTY keyboards, mobile users had to use the “multi-tap” method to text. Many people will remember this form of texting (and many still use it today!) which involved pressing a button several times to select the letter they wish to use (e.g. you would press the number ‘3’ twice to use ‘E’). After this, predictive texting was introduced to try and speed up the traditional form of texting.


Over the years, more and more advanced phones were introduced from Blackberry phones to touch screens and iPhones, removing the need for “multi-tap” texting by using a QWERTY keyboard. Today, this is the type of texting we tend to see used, although some phones use “Swype” which allows touch screen users to move their finger across the screen to connect the letters to form a word.


Over time, texting has become more popular than texting, with significantly more texts being sent each day, over phone calls.


Mobile Apps

Mobile phone technology has advanced rapidly over the last 15 years, evolving quickly from “multi-tap” texting to touch screen. But technology has advanced so far that mobiles have became handheld computers. With cameras, web access, and of course texting and phone calls, mobile technology is much more advanced than it was 10 years ago. Mobile apps have also become and incredibly popular feature for mobile phone users.


Mobile apps were first considered back in the 80s and 90s, with Steve Jobs predicting that one day we would be able to access all the capabilities of a computer through our phones within 20 years. He was right. Basic mobile apps were first introduced for people to access emails using their phone, but over time mobile apps have become more and more advanced. With location services and tracking movement capabilities, mobile apps have opened up a whole new world of opportunities for business and pleasure. Today, there are over 2million apps out there, with a whole host of different functions and uses.


The history of mobile technology is a rich and short one, but it is one that continues to evolve and shape our lives every day. If you are interested in developing your own mobile app, then get in touch to find out how Blue Sword can help you.