Happy birthday to the mobile phone. As of the 3rd of April 2013, the Mobile Phone is 40 years old. As app developers, we owe our careers to the growth in popularity of the device. We wouldn’t be here in the industry without the growth in demand for smartphones and the ability to develop apps. Roughly 40 years ago in 1973, the world’s very first mobile phone call was made by Motorola engineer Martin Cooper. He used a less than delicate looking device called the ‘Motorola DynaTAC’ in New York. When you now look at the size, form and style of the original device, it’s astonishing to see how far we’ve come. The humble mobile phone at that time was 9 inches long, weighed about 2Kg, possessed an external aerial, a calling battery life of 25 mins and a recharge time of 10 hours. And you complain about the battery life on your iPhone?
When originally launched it was the most advanced piece of mobile technology to exist in the world. It symbolised the beginning of the Mobile Information Age as we know it. It would be another decade before mobile phones started to see any serious adoption. Even then they were the preserve of the rich, upwardly mobile and the incredibly busy. It was in the early 90s that wider consumerisation of mobile phones began to occur. It was not until the early noughties that mobiles became ubiquitous and proliferated the mainstream consciousness.
Factors that have driven the adoption of mobile phones include the introduction of 3G. This helped to create the third wave of mobile adoption as the “always on” culture started to emerge in the mid-2000’s. Then in 2007, Apple launched the iPhone and changed the game completely. There was a full touchscreen smartphone before the iPhone, made by LG. However it was lost in the tidal wave of hype that followed Apple’s seminal release. Not only that, but for companies like Waracle, the iPhone provided an SDK (software development kit) and a phenomenal environment for developing apps. The iPhone redefined the way we think about and consume software applications via the Internet.
Now in 2013, forty years on from the first ever mobile phone call, we have a wealth of interconnected Smartphones and a “Game of Phones” as one TechCrunch article called it. Once it was PCs that created the richest people in tech. Things have changed dramatically and the shift from desktop to mobile is almost complete. In total, the global telecoms industry is worth around $950. That number is growing at a rapid pace. Despite the woes of the economic world, IT and the mobile tech industry are seeing continued strong growth.