Smartphones

Supersize me! How cell phones went from giant to tiny to giant again

Forty years ago today, Motorola created the world's first commercial portable cellular phone -- a giant brick of plastic. Over the years they became impossibly small. And now are set to swell once again.

moto-01.JPG

Apr. 3, 1973: By 1973 Motorola demonstrated a prototype DynaTAC (DYNamic Adaptive Total Area Coverage) portable radiotelephone cellular system. A low-power handset was a fundamental element of the system.
Motorola

moto-02.jpg

The Dynatac engineering team, circa 1972-1973. Though revolutionary, that phone was one giant hunk of plastic!

Motorola

moto-04.jpg

Motorola designer Rudy Krolopp with five Motorola Dynatac portable cellular phone prototypes in 1983. The world's first commercial handheld cellular phone, weighing in at 28 ounces, wasn't available to consumers until 1984. 

Motorola

moto-05.JPG

Most American's first experience with a portable cellular phones was likely through car models like these, seen in 1985. And still giant, of course.

Motorola

moto-06.jpg

By 1989, smaller models such as the Motorola Microtac were being released, and the competition was beginning.

Motorola

moto-09.jpg

Motorola's Startac from 1996 proved phones could be small and sexy. 

Motorola

Nokia_5110.jpg

Late 90s phones often resembled this "candybar" shaped Nokia 5110. They fit better into the pocket, of course, but were anything but smart.

Wikipedia

zoolander tiny phone.jpg

The miniaturization trend was parodied in the 2001 film "Zoolander," in which Ben Stiller plays a model who carries a tiny phone about the size of a peanut.
VH1 Films

First iPhone 2007.jpg

Steve Jobs unveiled the first iPhone at a Macworld conference in 2007. With the runaway success of that product, smartphones started growing again -- and never looked back.

samsung Galaxy S 4 glamour shot.jpg

The new Samsung Galaxy S4, the flagship smartphone from the tech powerhouse. Expect phones to keep getting bigger, the company said recently.

Samsung

Huawei ascend-mate.jpg

With a 6.44-inch body, the Huawei Ascend Mate is one of the new breed of ginormous phones.

Supersize me! How cell phones went from giant to tiny to giant again

Forty years ago today, Motorola created the world's first commercial portable cellular phone -- a giant brick of plastic. Over the years they became impossibly small. And now are set to swell once again.

More From Our Sponsors