iPhone, Motorola and Mobile Phones That Changed the Game

By Nathan Eddy  |  Posted 2013-04-04 Print this article Print
Motorola DynaTAC Gets the Call Rolling

Motorola DynaTAC Gets the Call Rolling

The DynaTAC 8000X was truly the first mobile telephone that could connect to the telephone network without the assistance of a mobile operator and could be carried about by the user.


This week marks the 40th birthday of the mobile phone, and we've come a long way from the first commercial model—the Motorola DynaTAC, which went on sale in 1983. While it might be considered extremely unwieldy by modern standards, at the time it was considered revolutionary, because mobile telephones were bulky affairs installed in vehicles or in heavy briefcases. The handset wound its way into popular culture as an accessory to the ultra-rich, appearing in Gordon Gekko's hands in the 1987 film "Wall Street." From 1990 to 2011, worldwide mobile phone subscriptions grew from 12.4 million to more than 6 billion, penetrating about 87 percent of the global population, and the bricks and clamshells of the 1980s and 1990s gave way to smaller, thinner devices with color screens and more sophisticated applications. Along the way, we saw the first waterproof smartphones, the first camera phones and some models that proved so ubiquitous that they're still seen around from time to time. Apple famously changed everything in 2007 with the release of the iPhone, which revolutionized the smartphone market and whose influence can be seen in devices of almost all types today. Here's eWEEK's look back at some of the more memorable and important mobile phones that you may have had in your pocket at one point or another.


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