How has the mobile phone changed in 50 years? – NRK Culture and Entertainment

How has the mobile phone changed in 50 years?  – NRK Culture and Entertainment

In 1973, American Marty Cooper made the world’s first call from a wireless mobile phone on the streets of New York.

The prototype probably resembles a gray brick more than current smartphones, weighs about a kilo (!) and has a thick antenna on top.

This is not pocket friendly.

Father of the Mobile Phone: Cooper holds the world’s first commercially available mobile phone – the Motorola DynaTAC 8000x – which was launched ten years after the first mobile phone call.

Photo: AP

A lot happened since then.

Today, it is estimated that about 90% of the world’s population has a mobile phone in their pocket. For most of us, a small gadget is a very essential part of everyday life – a mobile phone is a computer, wallet, TV and camera, all in one.

If you asked a random person what their mobile phone would look like in 2023, the answer would most likely be the same – a clean, button-free touchscreen.

Mobile dad Cooper has noticed this development as well, and he’s not too impressed with the design we’ve ended up with now.

– Just think about it. “You take a piece of plastic and glass that is completely flat, then you put it on your head and put your hand in an uncomfortable position,” he said. BBC earlier this year.

Cell phone father Marty Cooper.

Even Marty Cooper has to resort to a modern smartphone these days.

Photo: NTP/AP

Luxury of pigs

In the same way that all sofas suddenly started looking exactly the same, mobile phones are becoming more and more standardized — or featureless, if you will.

– There was a time when mobile phones looked very different, and the design of the phone itself was an important selling point – more than what was inside it, says technology consultant and media researcher at Fulda University College, Erik Solheim.

But how did we actually end up here? 📱

In the early years of the mobile phone in the 1980s, it was considered a luxury item with a high price tag. This made the mobile phone inaccessible to most people, and the products were marketed mainly to men in business.

Screenshot from an old Siemens advertisement.  A man in a suit carrying a heavy bag with an old cell phone inside.  Behind him is a plane.

In a bag: In the past, cell phones were so heavy that they had to be carried in a travel bag. This is a Siemens ad from 1981.

Photo: Siemens/Technical Museum

– In Yap’s era, there were “dolls” you could buy so you could pretend you were walking around talking on the phone. The mobile phone was definitely a status symbol, says Lila Andersen of the Technical Museum.

The reason the first cell phones were so large and heavy was the size of the battery.

– As you say, cell phones at that time were very powerful and could handle a lot.

It wasn’t until the 1990s that more people started having access to cell phones.

Collection of cell phone photos from the 90s.  Motorola International 3300 (1993), Ericsson Hotline NH51 (1992) and Motorola Startac.

Motorola International 3300 (1993), Ericsson Hotline NH51 (1992) and Motorola Startac (1997). The latter is considered the world’s first foldable phone – here in a color version.

Photo: Cato Norman/Terry Norley/Kunstmuseum

At this time, technology developed at a tremendous pace – among other things, the mobile network switched from being analogue to digital through the introduction of gsm.

Soon the new technology made the mobile phone popular with everyone.

In terms of design, cell phones at this time were very masculine in expression. They were often black or grey, although some were conspicuous. They also shrank dramatically in size and weight during the 1990s, Andersen says.

Collection of cell phone photos from the 90s.  Ericsson T10s, Nokia Communicator 9000, and Siemens S10.

Ericsson T10S (1999), Nokia Communicator 9000 (1996) and Siemens S10 (1998). The latter was the world’s first mobile phone with a color screen.

Photo: Cato Norman/Terry Norley/Kunstmuseum

Mobile phone becomes “mainstream”

The first best-selling mobile phones appeared at the turn of the millennium. At this time, buyers had more and more models to choose from, and different brands began to seriously experiment with mobile design.

It was easy to be impressed 🤩:

Then: In 2003, the Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation (NRK) tested multimedia messaging (MMS) mobile phones.

Video: NRK

The built-in camera in a mobile phone will be the new thing Must have– the product. Some mobile phones come with replaceable covers with different decorations. The protruding antennas slowly but surely disappeared.

The Finnish company Nokia took control of the market, dropped the price to a bargain level and actually made a deal direction Of owning a mobile phone.

Group of photos with three mobile phones.

Death breaks sold: Nokia 3210 (1999), Nokia 6620 (2005), and Sony Ericsson P800 (2002). Up to 160 million copies of the Nokia 3210 have been sold, making it one of the best-selling mobile phones of all time.

Photo: Kato Norman/Terje Norli/Kunstmuseum

The producers also focused on young men, which was perhaps especially evident when they were about to reach out to young women.

– For example, pink phones and cell phones containing the word “bling” were marketed to teenage girls. In the 2000s, color variations and different design elements disappeared completely, says the art museum’s Leila Andersen.

A collection of cell phone photos from the 2000s

Nokia 7380 (2005), Samsung X830 (2006) and Nokia 7280 (2004). These thin cell phones were about the size of lipstick and were popular with young women.

Photo: Terje Norli/Kunstmuseum

Samsung commercial from 2003. Poster featuring a gorgeous young woman showing off her mobile phone.  The mobile phone lights up and inside the screen there is a picture of a young man wearing sunglasses.

NIGHTCLUB MOBILE?: This mobile phone with built-in lighting from Samsung (2003) is advertised as “the perfect mobile phone to take with you to the club or to immortalize a romantic evening out.”

Image: Samsung Museum/Technology

The golden age of strange mobile phones

The years after the turn of the millennium were a kind of mobile wild west.

The future was real: the mobile phone was man’s new best friend. The new ‘boom’ meant that different brands struggled to make the most innovative and groundbreaking mobile phone – with varying degrees of success.

Nokia 7600 (2003), Motorola V70 (2002) and Nokia 6810 (2004)

The Nokia 7600 (2003), Motorola V70 (2002) and Nokia 6810 (2004) were some of the most notable mobile phones from the early 2000s.

Photo: AP

Some manufacturers have taken the word “mobile” a bit further Good They literally made their products so small that consumers started complaining that the small buttons were difficult to handle.

Many people have experimented with the different forms that a mobile phone can take. It was by no means a given that a mobile phone would be square in shape, as are almost all smartphones today.

For example, have you been obsessed with gadgets and would like to have a gaming controller that you can also use to make phone calls?

Nokia success

The Nokia N-Gage (2002) was a console and mobile phone in one.

Photo: AP

Or do you wish there was a mobile phone that could also be a pen?

Siemens "Mobile pen"

Perhaps it’s no surprise that this pen-inspired mobile phone from Siemens (2004) never caught on.

Photo: Reuters

What about a mobile phone that can also work as a makeup mirror?

Siemens CL75

The Siemens CL 75 (2006) is egg-shaped with a floral pattern on the outside and a pocket mirror on the inside.

Photo: AP

Or do you want a mobile phone that you can twist and turn into a small portable TV?

Do not give up. There was a phone for you.

Nokia N92, a mobile phone from 2005.

The Nokia N92 (2005) was marketed as a mobile phone that could also be used for watching TV on the go.

Photo: Reuters

LG F2300 (2005), Motorola Razr V3 (2004), Sony Ericsson W580i (2007) and Sony Ericsson W300i (2006)

LG F2300 (2005), Motorola Razr V3 (2004), Sony Ericsson W580i (2007) and Sony Ericsson W300i (2006)

Photo: Photo: Cato Norman/Terje Norli/Kunstmuseum

Everyone was trying to create the phone of the future.

Then came the mobile phone that changed everything.

The great smart revolution

When Steve Jobs launched the world’s first iPhone in 2007, he turned the world upside down.

In it now Famous speech The founder of Apple presented that his new smartphone is three devices in one: a music player, a mobile phone and a device with which you can surf the Internet.

Simply put, a small computer, right in your pocket.

Apple founder Steve Jobs holds a 2007 iPhone in his hand

Steve Jobs and the world’s first iPhone.

Photograph: Paul Skouma/AP

Apple also removed all the buttons that can usually be found on a traditional mobile phone and replaced them with a large touch screen. It was, as we all know, an unparalleled global success.

Other popular mobile phone manufacturers of the time, such as Blackberry and Nokia, stuck with the old design with a physical keyboard for several years to come.

In the end, it was just a matter of realizing that a clean, shiny touchscreen was becoming the new standard.

BlackBerry Curve 8300 (2007), Apple iPhone 1 (2007) and Nokia N95 (2007).

Best selling phones of the same year: BlackBerry Curve 8300 (2007), Apple iPhone 1 (2007), Nokia N95 (2007)

Photo: Terry Norley/Technic Museum/AP

Technology consultant Eric Solheim believes it has to do with the screen being the most important element on mobile phones today.

– Since mobile phones in the past were not just a screen, it was more important to stand out with the help of exterior design. Today, we do everything on mobile through a screen. He says it’s all about having the biggest, best screen possible and as little else as possible.

Android or Apple: Today’s mobile phones compete mostly on capacity, user interface and screen quality – not on external design.

A collection of images of four different smartphones over the past few years.

There’s not a lot of variety: Huawei Ascend P7 (2014), Samsung Galaxy S9 (2015), Google Pixel 3 XL (2018) and iPhone 15 (2023).

Photo: AP

So what now?

– In general, development with regard to mobile phones has slowed down. Unfortunately, launching new mobile phones is boring right now, Solheim says.

He singled out the new foldable mobile phones that have recently arrived as an exciting development, and believes they may amount to something if this folding technology improves over time.

The mobile phone as we know it today is not the end of the line anyway.

Samsung foldable phone

Should it be a foldable mobile phone? The Samsung Galaxy Z Flip is one of the most popular foldable phones on the market today.

Photo: AP

-If we go far in the future, we’ll probably raise the screen in the form of glasses or something similar. When that display becomes high-resolution, has battery life, and everything falls into place, it could be something, Erik Solheim predicts.

– So it will be interesting to see if they come up with a real breakthrough soon or if we have to mess around with this big flat screen for many years to come.

Have cell phones ever been cooler?

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Hanisi Anenih

Hanisi Anenih

"Web specialist. Lifelong zombie maven. Coffee ninja. Hipster-friendly analyst."

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