On April 3rd, 1973, the first handheld mobile telephone call was made by an employee of which company?
And the answer: Motorola.
Using a two and a half pound prototype, Motorola employee Martin Cooper placed a call walking between 53rd and 54th streets on Sixth Avenue in New York. He called his rival, Joel Engel of Bell Laboratories.
Before Apple was even an idea in Steve Jobs' head, a clunky Motorola cellular phone made its first mobile call. The prototype, sometimes familiarly referred to as the "shoe" phone for its size and weight, allowed users to call for 35 minutes before then requiring a 10-hour charge period.
For most of the American public, early cellphone models were too expensive and bulky to be worth the investment. Yet, these models set important precedents for further developments in the technology. Motorola spent the ten years following their 1973 release honing the product— attempts to reduce size and increase the length of outgoing calls led to the commercial release of a slimmer, 16-ounce mobile phone in 1983. However, the price was still too high for many consumers, clocking in at around $3,500 - $4,000.
It wasn't until 1999 with the release of the Nokia 3210 that mobile phones became an object of most everyone's fascination (and finally within a price range that most could reach). Selling over 150 million units, The Nokia 3210 came to the market at the exactly the right time. It was small, relatively light and it was easily customizable. Although the Nokia 5110, its predecessor, had introduced the idea of customizable fascias, the 3210 allowed users to change both the front and back of the phone. Nokia advertised the 3210 as "Fun outside. Serious inside." Young adults and teens flocked to the product at the hand of effective marketing campaigns, cementing the significance of mobile phones for decades to come.