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Estimated reading time: 5 minutes

The 50th anniversary of the mobile phone is being celebrated this month, and it is clear that mobile technology has advanced significantly since the early days.

In fact, it was on 3 April 1973 that Motorola employee Martin Cooper made a call in New York on a Motorola DynaTAC to his rival, Joel S. Engel of Bell Labs, from a street corner in New York.

“As I walked down the street while talking on the phone, sophisticated New Yorkers gaped at the sight of someone actually moving around while making a phone call,” Cooper is reported to have said.

This revolutionary call is now widely regarded globally as the first public mobile phone call. 

Five decades on, from simple to smart, mobile phones have evolved dramatically to become information and communication hubs fundamental to modern life. 

They have transformed from a simple means of communication and into an extension (and sometimes replacement for) our wallet, our ID, our health records, our car keys, or for checking emails. 

But how did they get to be this advanced? Below we have selected eight key moments that have defined the evolution of the smartphone.

Scroll through the timeline to see how and when phone technology evolved.  You can also view this infographic as a PDF


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