Forty years ago the first smartphone that would later be commercially released to the world was introduced, the Motorola DynaTAC 8000X, where DynaTAC stood for Dynamic Adaptive Total Area Coverage. For years before that milestone, Motorola had been at the forefront of portable communications.

By 1930 they had produced the first commercially successful car radio, which they turned into the two-way radios that became the standard for the Allies during World War II. By the postwar period they had developed pagers, car radios, and transponder radios. As a result, in 1969 it was Motorola technology that transmitted Neil Armstrong’s famous words from the moon. However, by 1968 the next breakthrough had already been made.

Based on “cells” that allowed the same radio frequencies to be reused at the same time in other areas, Motorola teams had begun to examine the possibility of cell phones. Over the next 15 years some $100 million was invested in the research and development of this technology, which bore fruit.

Marty Cooper, a senior engineer at Motorola, was considered the real father of this revolution. In an interview with the BBC, he admitted that he felt that the initial cost of the devices would hold back their deployment, but he also added that this belief was coupled with that of progressively reducing cost and size.

The DynaTAC 8000X weighed about 785 grams and measured an impressive 300 x 44 x 89 millimeters. It boasted less than one hour of talk time and eight hours of standby time, so if you wanted to use it 24 hours a day you would have to recharge three sets of batteries a day.

It had only an LED display instead of an LCD, which was just beginning to be used in digital watches at the time. There was a 150-millimeter antenna protruding from the top, and yet it was incredibly possible to save as many as 30 numbers in the phone’s memory.

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