LOS ANGELES---The basic concept of cellular phones began in 1947. Bell Laboratories introduced the idea of cellular communications in 1947 with the police car technology and Motorola was the first to incorporate the technology into portable device that was designed for use outside of an automobile. During that same year, AT&T proposed that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) allocate a large number of radio-spectrum frequencies so that widespread mobile telephone service would become feasible and AT&T would have an incentive to research the new technology. However, broadcasting and sending a radio or television message out over the airwaves would come under (FCC) regulation.
In 1968, the FCC changed its position by increasing, the frequencies allocation, freeing the airwaves for more mobile phones. AT&T and Bell Labs proposed a cellular system to the FCC of many small, low-powered, broadcast towers, each covering a 'cell' a few miles in radius and collectively covering a larger area. Each tower was supposed to use only a few of the total frequencies allocated to the system. As the phones traveled across the area, calls would be passed from tower to tower.
Dr Martin Cooper, a former general manager for the systems division at Motorola, is considered the inventor of the first modern portable handset and made the first call on a portable cell phone in April 1973 to his rival, Joel Engel, Bell Labs head of research. In 1977, AT&T and Bell Labs constructed a prototype cellular system and a year later, public trials of the new system were started in Chicago with over 2000 trial customers. Two years later in 1979 a different undertaking, the first commercial cellular telephone system began operation in Tokyo. The seventies held great promise for cell phones.
In 1981, Motorola and American Radio Telephone started a second U.S. cellular radio-telephone system test in the Washington/Baltimore area. By 1982, the slow-moving FCC finally authorized commercial cellular service for the USA. Despite the incredible demand, it took cellular phone service 37 years to become commercially available in the United States. Consumer demand quickly outstripped the 1982 system standards and by 1987, cellular telephone subscribers exceeded one million and the airways were crowded. To stimulate the growth of new technology, the FCC declared during that year that cellular licensees could employ alternative cellular technologies in the 800 MHz band. In 1988, another group, the Cellular Technology Industry Association (CTIA) was established to work with the cellular service operators and researchers to identify new technology requirements and set goals to introduce a new product by 1991. Shortly after, the Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA) created a standard specification based on the requirements the CTIA had recommended. The result was that wireless network divided them into time slots with each phone user having access to one time slot at regular intervals. These time slots will be discussed later in this unit.
With all these developments happening in rapid succession, numerous cellular phone manufacturers, telecoms, entrepreneurs and inventors began entering this very promising field. In 1992, Neil Papworth invented text messaging when he sent the first text (from a PC) "Merry Christmas" to Richard Jarvis at Vodaphone. Again in 1992, IBM introduced the IBM Simon Personal Communicator. The Simon was the first cellular phone to include many features from the then popular personal digital assistant (PDA) and, in doing so, is unanimously regarded as the world's very first smartphone. Selling only 50,000 units before production was discontinued in 1995, the Simon was truly very revolutionary and set the stage for all future smartphones, even downloadable apps.
IBM issued a press release in which they touted a third party application for the IBM Simon that would be available in the Spring of 1995. Unbeknownst to both IBM and the application development firm with whom they had a deal, great inventor Andre Gray released both the world's first ringtone "Toccata and Fugue in D Minor" and downloadable app named SYNC Programming Language on February 5, 1994, more than a year before they made such an announcement. The SYNC Programming Language, the world's first ringtones & ringbacks programming language, was the starting point for the multi-trillion dollar downloadable app industry that exists today, without which there would be no Uber, Snapchat, Instagram and every other downloadable app that can be found on all 15 Billion cell phones in the world today. But Gray was not finished transforming the mobile phone yet. In July of 1998, Andre Gray unveiled Microgrooves Electronic at a digital music conference in New York City installed on his trusty IBM Simon. Microgrooves-E is a downloadable multimedia/entertainment app that enables smartphones to play songs, entire albums and videos. Microgrooves-E even allowed the recording and playback of audio/video. By the end of the 1990's, the entire foundation for the smartphones' future was already invented and set in place with Dr Martin Cooper, IBM and Andre Gray at the very heart of the foundation doing almost all of the heavy lifting. As New Year's Eve 1999 approached, there was a great sense of hope and technological optimism in the air and the 21st century and beyond owe Dr Martin Cooper and Andre Gray, the two most important contributors to making the mobile phone what it is today, a great gratitude---but a simple thank you text message would do.
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