Ask the kiddies who invented the cellphone and we would bet that most of the young uns would say (quite incorrectly), Steve Jobs. Let’s put this to rest right now. Steve Jobs did not invent the cellphone. Nor did he invent the MP3 player or the computer. He might have been responsible for coming up with tech CEO chic (the turtleneck sweater, the jeans, and sneakers), but no, Jobs did not invent the cellphone.
Martin Cooper, inventor of the cellphone, is not thrilled about how people are attached to the device these days
That honor belongs to a gentleman by the name of Martin Cooper who invented the Motorola DynaTAC 8000X in 1973. Now 92, Cooper appeared last week on the “BBC Breakfast” and the co-host of that show happened to reveal that she spends five hours a day on her phone. Cooper responded by saying, “Do you really? You really spend five hours a day? Get a life!” He then laughed at the idea that someone would spend so much time on their phone each day.
Cellphone inventor Marin Cooper in 2014 with the Motorola DynaTAC 80000X
The first commercially available phone had a battery that could run for only 25 minutes
Motorola liked his idea so much that it threw millions into the development of the phone and using technology that the team working on the project had already used to make police radios, Motorola had a working phone in three months. To give it its first public test, Cooper made a call in front of reporters on April 3, 1973. He called AT&T head engineer Joel Engel and said, “Joel, this is Marty. I’m calling you from a cellphone, a real handheld portable cellphone.”
The Motorola DynaTAC 8000X didn’t ship to the public for ten years. When it was finally released, the device was priced at $3995, more than the price of two Samsung Galaxy Fold 3 handsets, and we’re not even calculating inflation into the mix. The phone weighed 2.5 pounds and was 10-inches long. The battery lasted 25 minutes and it took a whopping 10 hours to charge.
Even priced close to $4,000, Cooper’s invention was a big hit, especially among businessmen, Wall Street traders, and anyone whose job required him to be in constant contact with others during the day.
And now here we are, many years later, and the smartphone is the most popular and necessary tool in everyone’s pocket. And for that, we can all thank Mr. Cooper for coming up with the idea.