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The Evolution of the Phone

The Evolution of the Phone

Smartphones have become a huge part of our lives. Ever wondered how phones evolved into what they are today? Well, let’s take a look at how modern phones came into existence.

Telephone

After a dispute for patent rights between Alexander Graham Bell and Elisha Gray, The first patent right was finally credited to Graham Bell (you can read more about it here). His patent drawing is shown below.

Patent Drawing Bell

Patent Drawing-Bell

For better understanding, let’s take a peek on how it all started.

Two centuries before the controversy, The first non-electrical or mechanical telephone was demonstrated by Robert Hooke in 1667. Then a century later it was proposed that electricity can be used to transmit messages and for the next 100 years, a wide variety of message transmitting devices using either verbal or non-verbal system were introduced. Finally in 1915 a long distance telephone call was inaugurated by Graham Bell and his assistant T.A WATSON in San Francisco.

Wall mounted telephones

These types of phones were prevalent in the late 18th century. They are very tall, heavy and require several components for holding the batteries and a generator to signal the operator which is known as “magneto”.

wall phone

wall phone

 

There were several variations of the model such as coffin telephones and three box telephones. They were mostly made of oak. Both were manufactured by Western Electric (Bell’s company).

Candlestick Telephones

As technology improved Candlestick telephones gained popularity in late 1880’s. Most of the candlesticks had only a single switch for dialing an operator. This model gained nicknames like pencil shaft, rope shaft, oil can and the most famous ”potbelly” due to its shape.

During its initial days its base was made of wood and were later made of alloys of nickel, brass or hard rubber.

candlestick telephone

candlestick telephone

Some candlesticks had flexible mouth pieces and most of the models had only a single switch for dialing

For few years, there were many variations of the above mentioned models and after two decades later came the Standard Desk phone. This was a rip-off from the original Bakelite telephone.

desk phone

desk phone

Things started to become wireless after this period

It took almost 4 decades for the telephone to become wireless which was after the release of the first two mobile phones.

cordless phone

cordless phone

The first mobile phone was introduced by Motorola in 1980 known as Motorola DynaTAC. It was very hefty and offered only 30 minutes of talk time after being charged for 10 hours.

The next big thing for Motorola was the MicroTAC. Several other variations of this model were released including StarTAC (which resembled the Star Trek Communicator) shortly after but the MicroTAC stands out as the first flip phone ever released.

The era of Nokia phones

Nokia dominated the mobile market shortly after Motorola by releasing two of the iconic phones in the 20th century.

First it was the Nokia 9000 Communicator which gained huge attention, weighing around 400g and uses both Intel and AMD products for the communicator part and the processor respectively. It was the first phone to be equipped with a qwerty keypad. It was considered as the first smartphone (Although technically the Ericsson r380 was the first smartphone).

9000 communicator

9000 communicator

Then the second phone Nokia 3210 which was relatively more compact phone at that time. It was the highest selling phone at that time. This phone became the basic idea behind the body structure for all the future phones at that time.

Nokia 3210

Nokia 3210

As we all know this phone was replaced by the Nokia 3310 and we know how it turned out for Nokia. But things started to go downhill after the N series. But that story is for another day.

Fast forward to the early 21st century Sanyo (whose parent company is now Panasonic) released the first camera phone sold in the US, the Sanyo 5300

sanyo 5300

sanyo 5300

Shortly after the 5300, the competition in the mobile market was overwhelming. This was the time when Blackberry mattered the most. It set the trend of qwerty phones by releasing RIM Blackberry 5810 and releasing phones with similar keypad afterwards.

motorola-rokr-e1

motorola-rokr-e1

During 2005 when Motorola was busy in making the ROKR series and Apple was not in the mobile market, to stay in competition, there was a collaboration between them. They created the Motorola ROKR E1. It was the first phone to feature iTunes, but it did not do well and both the companies split up.

Then Apple stepped into competition

The first ever iPhone came out in 2007 and it was a revolutionary product in the smartphone industry. Though it did not shoot video and did not support 3G data at that time, people at that time were astonished by the way it looks and feels in the hand.

iphone

In my opinion the iPhone 4 is the best of all iPhones which started the modern smartphone competition of Android and iOS.

HTC

HTC was slowly gaining popularity due to their phones having unique body builds and secondly having good specs on paper. A year after iPhone was announced, HTC released the first ever android phone which supports 4G data which is known as HTC Dream which had a touch screen as well as a qwerty keyboard.

htc-dream

htc-dream

Samsung

Samsung first gained popularity in the smartphone market by releasing the first line-up of the android smartphone series still termed today as Galaxy.

Samsung Galaxy Y and Galaxy S were the phones (released in 2010) which brought immense popularity for Samsung. Y series was budget friendly and S series was high end flagship the company had to offer.

 

galaxy y

Samsung-Galaxy-S

Samsung-Galaxy-S

At present eighth generation of the phone is trending in the market which is galaxy S8

Then came the Galaxy Note (came out a year after S series) which was very big in screen size considering the size of phones released at that point of time. So during the time when tablets were trending, people were confused whether to call it a phone or a tablet. Then the term Phablet came into existence. A phone was called a Phablet if its screen size is greater than the optimum size of a phone and lower than the tablet.

 

So this is how the modern phones came into existence. Let me know your phone favourites of all time in the comment section below.

Chaitanya V
A techie,optimist and a gamer by heart. I always look forward to develop this blog as well as my knowledge and skill-set.

1 thought on “The Evolution of the Phone

  1. RAMA KRISHNA VEMPATI says:

    Good and short summary. Come with a sequel on future phones.

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