The Evolution of Mobile Phones

History has always amazed me. It’s fun to see how different things were in the past as compared to that of the present. And this is clearly evident in the evolution of mobile phones.

first mobile phone

Back in the day, cellphones looked like walkie talkies. They were long and bulky and had a teeny tiny screen. Apparently, manufacturers thought that the numbers on the keypad were more important than that of the screen. Besides, people used these types of gadgets before mainly for calling. So, if the person would be putting the gadget to his ear most of the time to talk to somebody else, who needed a huge screen?

But as time passed by, people realized how silly you looked if you carried around that one big piece of trash which you cannot even put in your pocket. Lucky us, manufacturers know how to cater to customers’ demands – they made smaller versions of their cellphones which we could easily fit in our pants.

There came a time when manufacturers tried to made mobile phones as small and as cute as possible, thus sacrificing screen size. That’s when the touch screen devices came along. They put emphasis on the screen area and began making larger phones once again. To compensate for the larger design of phones nowadays, manufacturers now try to make them a lot thinner than their previous iterations.

Slim and thin is good. It looks slick and is nice to touch. But it does present one glaring problem that has plagued mobile phones of today which is smartly depicted in this meme:

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And this one:image

 

Yep, the battery life of mobile phones have greatly decreased. You’re lucky if your phone lasts one whole day. But despite this shortcoming, mobile phones have generally changed for the better. If you only used it for calling before, you can now use it to take a picture of your neighbor picking his nose, watch videos of your ex cuddling with her new boyfriend, listen to music your mom hates the whole day without her knowing, or send creepy texts to your crush anonymously.

And you know what? We still haven’t seen the end of the tunnel. The mobile phone industry is still innovating, still ever changing. What do you think would be the next stage in the evolution of mobile phones?
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10 thoughts on “The Evolution of Mobile Phones

  1. Yeah, it’s amazing how cellphones have changed this past decade. I cannot imagine how cellphones would look like 10 years from now. Today, it most certainly seems like the smartphone industry is reaching its peak, where the screens could not get any bigger reasonably. I mean, look at iPhone 6s Plus. That is going to be as big as it gets. It’s impractical for manufacturers to make anything bigger than that. That said, I think future generations of phones will still change, but not with regard to size. I am looking forward to what they are going to do next. We’ll see.

  2. I think the next stage will be fewer functions, but much smaller. We’ve seen ear-piece phones, but what about badges or earrings?

    Call me a luddite, but I’ve never updated from my early 2000’s phone, which is just for making calls and texts. But then I’ve never found a modern phone with a 3-day battery life, and the Galaxy I tried was lucky to last 5 hours.
    (OK, I’ll admit, if I want to do the modern photos etc. I have my tablet, or before that, my blackberry, my psion, yes, I collect technology).

    Along with the changes in mobile phones, there’s also been the changes in handheld computing models, with many of their original functions being rolled into newer mobiles. Is there any chance of an related article covering the changes in handheld computers over the decades?

  3. I don’t think modern smartphones can really be thought of as phones. Most people I know use them as mini computers. The calling features tend to be the least important to most consumers. They would rather text or use social media to communicate.

    Google, I believe has already started offering plans that are data only and don’t include calling at all. I think that’s the way of the future. There is still a generation or two of people who will pick up the phone and make a call, but the day will come when all communication will be by text message or skype or iMessage. I think phones used for making phone calls will likely be a thing of the past sooner rather than later.

  4. I remember having the old Simon phone, which was the first touchscreen phone offered by BellSouth Mobility back in 1995. It was huge, was grey monochrome, and was inconvenient to take anywhere, but it worked, and everyone thought I was so cool having that phone.

    By today’s standards, the Simon is a relic. But, back in 1995, it was a great phone.

  5. @duckbrador Wow, really? Do you mind if you give a link for that claim? In my opinion, calling is the best way to communicate through the phone, texting is simply an alternative. I don’t think it’s necessary to list the reasons why because they’re really obvious. Removing the call feature on phones/smartphones can be really inconvenient for some.

  6. still have my Nokie 3310 kicking about.
    Fired it up a year ago and man, I forget how intuitive phones have got now as that one just wasn’t as simple.
    You don’t realise how easy we have it now until we’re forced to use old tech

  7. The mobile phone industry has made huge progress in the last two decades, it keeps growing at a fast pace and almost everybody nowadays has a smartphone.
    I still remember fondly my first mobile phone, it was a Nokia 5110 and I was so happy and proud to have it! I could go days without charging it and I spent a lot of my time playing Snake. Mobile phones were just a means to communicate, to talk to other people and send very simple texts. Now our phones are our main source of entertainment, we can pick between several brands and models and there is an app for everything. I don’t know how far the mobile phone industry will go but one thing is sure: it will keep evolving!

  8. You didn’t even mention the little flip-phone in the article, but I had several of those before I got my first touch-screen phone. I didn’t know how hard I had it until I was spoiled by pull-out keyboards and touch-screens. Yes, the battery drains easily on smart phones, but I think the main cause of that is all the extra stuff that the phone can do. Want to play a game? That runs down the battery fast. When phones did nothing but text and talk, and maybe take a picture now and then, the battery lasted longer…although not much.

  9. I don’t use my iPhone much for voice calls. It’s mainly email, music, photos, and some social media stuff. The telephone part of it is just another “app”. It’s actually hidden away in a folder at the moment.

    I think in the future we’ll be able to make phone calls and use SMS from more devices. You should be able to use your phone number from any computer or tablet. Phones and mobile computing can still become smaller. They could be woven into clothing, or imagine that your contact lenses are part of the display.

  10. This is exactly why I never had a cell phone before last year. The sheer number of different devices on the market and the speed of new developments makes it difficult to predict what the future holds for the communication industry. I also find it interesting how we seem to have gone from big to small back to big again.

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