Marty Cooper, The Alexander Graham Bell Of The Mobile Phone Points To The Future

Alexander Graham Bell's invention of the telephone finally proved successful on March 10, 1876, when the first complete sentence was transmitted: "Watson, come here; I want you." Almost 100 years later, looking like an updated version of Maxwell Smart's shoe phone, Marty Cooper, the inventor of the cell phone made his first call using the device, on April 3, 1973 from the penthouse suite of the New York Hilton Hotel in midtown Manhattan.

Clunky by today's standards, he used the first Motorola DynaTAC prototype and talked to his rival, Dr. J. S. Engel of Bell Labs. Contrary to popular belief, his first words were not, "Can you hear me now?"

First Mobile PhonesFirst Mobile PhonesWhile his invention cost $1 million dollars in today's money, Cooper is shocked that in less than 35 years, more than half the people on the planet would have cell phones with an inconceivable amount of bells and whistles and are priced dirt cheap.

Here, Marty voices his opinion regarding the current state of the wireless industry. This 32-minute C-Span broadcast reveals amongst other things that while Marty was once a proud iPhone user, he has since switched back to his origins and is now using the popular Motorola Droid.

As far as the future of cell phones, Cooper thinks what he released from Pandora's box back in the 70s Cell Phone ImplantCell Phone Implantwill only expand its capabilities a hundred-fold in the foreseeable future. So much so, he sees it actually becoming an appendage to our bodies. "The cellphone in the long range is going to be embedded under your skin behind your ear along with a very powerful computer who is in effect your slave," he says.

In 1983, the cellular telephone system began nationwide usage in the United States, ten years after Cooper's first call. Other milestones in telephone history pre-Alexander Graham Bell to post-Marty Cooper are listed here:

  • 1831 Michael Faraday proved that vibrations of metal could be converted to electrical impulses
  • 1861 Johann Philip Reis built a apparatus that changed sound to electricity and back again to sound
  • 1871 Antonio Meucci filed his patent caveat (notice of intention to take out a patent)
  • 1874 A. G. Bell while working on a multiple telegraph, developed the basic ideas for the telephone
  • 1875 Bell files first patent for improved telegraphy
  • 1876 Bell and Watson transmit the first complete sentence
  • 1876 Bell files patent application on February 14,. patent issues March 7
  • 1876 Elisha Gray filed his patent caveat (notice of intention to take out a patent) on February 14,
  • 1877 formed Bell Telephone Company to operate local telephone exchange operation
  • 1877 first city exchange installed in Hartford, Connecticut
  • 1879 irst exchange outside the United States was built in London, England
  • 1880 invented the photophone, which transmits speech by light rays
  • 1882 acquired a controlling interest in the Western Electric Company, Elisha Gray's company
  • 1883 irst exchange linking two major cities was established between New York and Boston
  • 1885 formed American Telephone and Telegraph Company to operate the long distance network.
  • 1888 coin operated pay telephone was patented by William Gray of Hartford, Connecticut
  • 1891 first automatic telephone exchange was patented by Almon Strowger of Kansas City
  • 1921 The Detroit Police Department, began experimentation with one-way vehicular mobile service.
  • 1928 Detroit Police commenced regular one-way radio communication with all its patrol cars.
  • 1933 Bayonne, NJ Police Department initiated regular two-way communications with its patrol cars
  • 1936 Alton Dickieson, H.I. Romnes and D. Mitchell begin design of AT&T's mobile phone system
  • 1940 Connecticut State Police began statewide two-way, on the frequency modulated (FM)
  • 1941 FM mobile radio became standard throughout the country following the success in Connecticut
  • 1946 A driver in St. Louis, Mo., placed a phone call,it was the first AT&T mobile telephone call.
  • 1948 wireless telephone service was available in almost 100 cities and highway corridors.
  • 1947 cellular telephone service conceived by D.H. Ring at Bell Labs, but the technology didn't exist
  • 1962 The first commercial touch-tone phones were a big hit in their preview at Seattle World's Fair.
  • 1970 commercial Picture phone service debuted in downtown Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
  • 1971 Richard Frenkiel and Joel Engel of AT&T applied computers and electronics to make it work.
  • 1973 Martin Cooper of Motorola made the first cellphone call to his rival Joe Engel of AT&T Bell Labs
  • 1978 AT&T conducted FCC-authorized field trials in Chicago and Newark, N.J.
  • 1979 the first cellular network was launched in Japan.
  • 1982 FCC granted commercial licenses to an AT&T subsidiary, Advanced Mobile Phone Service
  • 1983 AMPS was then divided among the local companies as part of the planning for divestiture
  • 1983 Illinois Bell opened the first commercial cellular system in October