History of Phones

1874: Alexander Graham Bell discovers the principle of the telephone. He experiments with Thomas Watson to create the first telephone connection.

1877: The first permanent outdoor telephone wire is strung. Commercial telephone service began in the United States.

1894: Oliver Lodge demonstrates wireless communication over a distance of 150 yards. This was the beginning of cell phone technology as we know it.

1915: Bell System completes a U.S. transcontinental telephone line. At this point, everyone in the US was connected to each other.

1946: The first commercial mobile telephone service is put into service, linking moving vehicles or objects to the telephone network by radio.

1953: The laying of transatlantic telephone cables begins. Calls were able to be made to European countries, then eventually the rest of the world.

1960s: Videophones become more affordable and practical.

1963: Bell Systems introduces the touch tone phone. This telephone made a different beep for each number instead of counted clicks for each number, and replaced rotary phones.

1971: Intel Corporation develops the first single chip microprocessor, the 4004. The microprocessor would make telephones and switching systems smaller, lighter and faster to use.

1972: Motorola demonstrates the cellular telephone to the FCC. People could call each other without wires, and the cell phone was born.

1983: Martin Cooper is credited with developing the first cell phone approved for commercial use.

1985: FAX machines become popular. A printed sheet of paper could be sent across telephone lines and received whole on the other end.

1989: MicroTAC , a “Pocket” cellular telephone is introduced by Motorola.

1993: The IBM Simon is released, and considered the first smartphone. It acted as a mobile phone, PDA, and fax machine all in one. It offered a touch screen, which is the precursor to the Apple iPhone which would come 14 years later. It sold for \$899.

1994: Digital cordless phones are introduced. The FCC granted the frequency range of 900 MHz for cordless phones during that time, and it is currently 5.8 GHz

1997: Philips introduces an early attempt at a digital “smart phone.” The unit, called “The Synergy” provided wireless access to e-mail, internet and faxes.

Mid-to-Late 1990s: Cell phone companies strive to make their mobile phone models lighter, faster, slimmer, cheaper. The mobile phone evolves.

1999: Research in Motion introduces the Blackberry 850, beginning the Blackberry craze, ending up with a comparable smartphone with the ability to download applications from the Blackberry App World.

2007: Apple launches its first iPhone, which integrated a touchscreen display with the best web-browsing experience to yet be offered on a mobile device. Years later, it is still the device to which all other smartphones are compared. The Apple store features thousands of apps available for download.

Google unveils Android, an open-source operating system that has fared well in the market.

2009: Motorola introduces the Droid, the first Android-based smartphone, and it sold over 1 million units within 74 days of its release. The Android app market also features thousands of user-created applications for download.

2011: Present-day statistics: