40th Anniversary Of First Mobile Phone Call Highlights Technology's Rapid Development

Can you remember a world without smartphones? Oh my, how times have changed.

Wednesday marked the 40th anniversary of the first phone call ever made from a cell phone.

On April 3, 1973 in New York City, Motorola employee Martin Cooper made the first call on a commercial cell phone.

Using a prototype of the world's first commercial cell phone, the Motorola DynaTAC 8000x, Cooper called his chief rival, Bell Labs' Joel Engel, to personally let him know he'd beat him to the punch.

Cooper recalled his conversation with Engel during a lengthy interview with The Verge.

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"Joel, this is Marty. I'm calling you from a cell phone, a real handheld portable cell phone."

As Cooper points out, the creation of the cell phone was driven by the competition between these two companies.

“We built the phone to prove to the world that you didn't have to have a monopoly running the business,” said Cooper, “to make cellular a reality.”

The original cell phone was 10 inches long and weighed 2.5 pounds. These days most modern smartphones weigh between four and six ounces.

While it would be a decade until commercial cell phones reach consumers, this inaugural call was still a major step in the world of mobile technology development.

Nowadays, more people use cell phones than land lines.

According to the Pew Research center, 87 percent of American adults have a cell phone.

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