Many of those who spend their lives glued to their mobile phones may not realise this, but these devices can be traced back all the way to the early 1970s – 1973 to be precise. Of course they looked considerably different back then from the sleek machines we know and love today, and this article will examine how they have evolved to their current state.
This evolution was slow for a very long time, with the phones of the 1980s and first half of the 1990s infamously being compared with house bricks in terms of size and weight. If you bought a mobile in 1995 it would still be pretty sizeable and have a long, unattractive antenna sticking out of the top. These were shortened the following year, while the bodies of the phones were given greater definition, with the Nokia 9000 leading the way in improving the design. The last few years of the 1990s saw a much more rapid evolution in the mobile phone, as the sizes continued to shrink, a range of colours became available and the quality of the graphics improved – with the Nokia 3210 representing the state of the art in mobile technology at the end of that decade. The noughties saw further big innovations, with a primitive version of touch screen technology appearing in 2000, and much larger, full colour displays being developed by 2002. Again it was Nokia leading the field with its 7650 model, which was also the first mobile phone to feature an in-built camera. Samsung was the other big player during this period, and its S300 from 2003 was the first phone to introduce more than one screen – a smaller external for call notifications and a larger internal one for everything else.
The dominance of Nokia still seemed pretty unassailable though, with the company holding a mighty 49.4 percent share of the market in 2007. That was also the year when things began to change though, as the first Apple iPhone hit shops, and by 2013 Nokia’s share of the market was just 3 percent. The major reason for this was simply that both Apple’s iOS and the Android operating system surpassed Nokia’s Symbian one, leaving them behind. The first iPhone was a genuine game changer though, ditching the keyboard for touch screen, with the 2009 iPhone 3GS introducing Voice Control tech that became known as Siri. Android phones were also introducing innovations, with the Sony Ericsson T36 being the first to offer Bluetooth (Insert 3 here) and other phones debuting MP3 players, waterproofing and infra-red tech. In recent times Apple has launched phones with 3D Touch with its iPhone 6S, maintaining the dizzying rate of progress. Indeed, with the full colour graphics and HD screens that take up the entire front of modern phones, they have actually evolved to become entertainment and gaming devices more than communication ones. They are able to cope equally well with games that boast high definition graphics as they are with simple casino ones you can find online, suggesting that this is the future of the mobile.
The recent evolution of mobile phones has been astonishingly rapid and it’s exciting to imagine where the technology will take them in years to come.