ENG 331 Group 7’s Final Project

History

One of the first car phones

One of the first car phones

The early 1900’s was an exciting time for technology in America. Land-line phones, radios, and cars were brand new inventions that were redefining the way that people lived, moved, and communicated. The prevalence of the phone along with the popularity of radio made people began to experiment with combining these technologies. Since the 20’s, two way radio was used to communicate between trains and train stations, but were unable to access the phone network. After WWII, due to the large usage of radio technology, a large number of specialists of radio technology coming home from the war created radio dispatch systems that were put into use for taxis, police and other public transportation users. These early radio broadcast systems are similar to the ones we see today. AT&T was the first company to release a mobile phone system. The system, called Mobile Telephone System, was introduced in 1946. At its peak the system was in 24 cities. These were not true cell phones though because they did not run on a cellular network. Jon Agar says in his book “Constant Touch, A Global History Of The Mobile Phone” that in New York City there were 730 customers of MTS, but only 12 of them could talk on a network at a time. For the next 20 years engineers experimented with different technologies and also fought with the FCC over what radio frequencies could be set aside for mobile phones. The first real cellular network was released in Tokyo in 1979. Other networks were released soon after this in scandinavian countries such as Finland and Norway. America didn’t see a cellular phone until the mid 80’s. Most cell phones at this time were car phones because the technology was too large to be portable outside of a car. In late 80’s many handheld mobile phones were introduced; these came to be called first generation phones (1G).

The first hand held mobile phone

The first hand held mobile phone

In the mid 90’s 2G phones began to come out world wide. With faster networks, another main feature of 2G phones is the ability to text. Text messaging is very attractive to network providers because it uses far less bandwidth than talking. While it’s hard to believe now, texting didn’t really catch on in America until the 2000’s. Texting was hugely popular in China, Finland, and the Philippines.

2005 brought the introduction of the 3G network. The internet was hugely popular at this time and the speed that 3G enabled allowed cell phones to access the internet. All kinds of new features popped up onto cell phones such as internet browsers and cameras. Also, companies such as Palm began to take their expertise in making PDAs and add cell phone technology to them. The Treo from Palm was one of the first of a type of smart phone.

Two very influential and important phones have been introduced in the past 2 years, the Blackberry and the IPhone. The blackberry (Made by Research In Motion) was the first phone to have email “pushed” to it. Normally on a smartphone, if the user wants to check if they have new mail they would have to make a request to the server to see. Blackberry users do not have to do this because the email is automatically put on their phone when the server gets it. The IPhone features multi-touch screen technology that has had a huge influence on the new cell phones coming out. The IPhone also features a very easy to use API and development kit along with a centralized store that makes high quality user generated applications cheap and easy to obtain. These applications greatly increase the functionality of the IPhone and allow it to do things that it’s creators couldn’t even imagine.

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