When it comes to the humble mobile phone, this device has gone through a great many changes since the earliest prototypes arrived on the scene way back in 1973. Indeed, it has now become such a key part of our everyday lives that you could argue it is not so humble anymore, with the last 20 years bringing about particularly feverish levels of innovation. This article will take a look at the progress of the mobile phone from the 1990s to the present day, to see how it reached its present level of ubiquity and popularity.
When you talk about the mobile phones of the past the thing that everyone remembers is how big they were back in the 1980s, but many do not realise that they were that size into the 1990s. Although there was a slight reduction in size from the brick-like devices of the yuppie era, mobiles remained pretty big until 1996- and also had ugly-looking external antennas. Phones from 1996 such as the Nokia 9000 brought shorten antennas and sleeker, more defined bodies for the phones – before the antennas became internal the following year. The size continued to be reduced drastically over the next few years while screens and graphics gradually improved. The year 2000 brought the first touch screen mobile to the shops, although the technology underpinning it was primitive compared with today’s touch screens, while Nokia produced the first mobiles with full colour screens and in-built cameras in 2002. The Nokia 7650 was a huge leap forward and the first time mobiles really began to resemble the devices of today.
During this period most of the major mobile phone innovations were coming from Nokia and the Japanese manufacturer enjoyed an astonishing 49.4 percent share of the market. This only really began to change in 2007, with the release of the very first Apple iPhone and continued with the emergence of the Android operating system the following year until Nokia’s market share had dropped to 3 percent by 2013. Its Symbian OS was no match for the now dominant Android. Furthermore the iPhone enabled the use of apps on it, which was a major step towards turning mobile phones from mere communication devices into the multi-entertainment systems they are now. Arguably these days’ mobile phones are as much for playing games on and with both HD graphic games and simple casino games from www.gamblinginsider.ca, they have contributed to a recent development in the gaming industry as well. By 2009 the screens had increased dramatically to take up much of the front of the phones, improving the visual quality. Android models like the HTC Hero and T-Mobile MyTouch 3G were key in pioneering this while different styles of phones – such as slide and flip ones – also appeared. Apple was busy pioneering Voice Control tech with its 2010 iPhone 3GS, with Siri now an integral feature of many phones. Recent innovations have included adding waterproof bodies, facial recognition software and 3D touch screens to these devices.
We are witnessing such rapid evolution in mobile phone technology that it is exciting to wonder just what is around the corner.
— Featured photo by Flickr user jfingas, Creative Commons