The First Cell Phone is Now 40 Years Old

May 4, 2013

Unlocking Word Meanings
Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

1. gape [geyp] (v.) – to stare in surprise or wonder, often with the mouth open
Example: People at the convention gaped at Kurata’s gigantic robot invention.

2. portable [PAWR-tuh-buh l, POHR-] (adj.) – can be easily moved or carried around
Example: Laptops are portable because people can bring it anywhere.

3. multifunctional [MUHL-tee, -tahy FUHNGK-shuh-nl] (adj.) – capable of performing different functions and operations
Example: Customers nowadays prefer multifunctional gadgets such as smartphones and tablets.

4. skyrocket [SKAHY-rok-it] (v.) – to suddenly increase to a very high amount or level
Example: Prices of goods skyrocketed after the new tax law was implemented.

5. forgo [fawr-GOH, fohr-]  (v.) – to let go or give up on something
Example: The company decided to forgo the development of a new mobile phone due to lack of funds.

Read the text below.

The first ever cellular phone has turned 40 years old on the first week of April this year. On April 3, 1973, Martin Cooper, Motorola’s systems operations director, made the first cell phone call to Joel S. Engel of Bell's Lab.

Back then, people on the streets gaped as Cooper walked around New York City while talking on a wireless and cordless phone.

The first Motorola cell phone called Dyna-Tac was a portable radio telephone that operated over radio frequencies. Dyna-Tac was nicknamed "the brick" because it weighed one kilogram and had the size of a brick. The cell phone’s battery lasted for 35 minutes and took 10 hours to recharge. Ten years after, Motorola launched an improved version of the cell phone, the Dyna-Tac 8000X, which sold for $3,995 per piece.

In a 1973 press release, Motorola said that in areas installed with Dyna-Tac system, people would be able to make phone calls wherever they were.

Today, people enjoy advanced mobile technology and networks. Cell phones have already developed into multi-functional smartphones with features such as internet connectivity, camera, and music player. The number of mobile phone users has also skyrocketed from 340,213 in 1985 to over six billion in 2012.

More and more people are also turning their backs on traditional landline services and are instead using their mobile phones as their primary means of telephone communication. In some developing countries, companies are even forgoing the construction of landline infrastructures to focus on the development of mobile phone systems instead.

Viewpoint Discussion
Enjoy a discussion with your tutor. 

Discussion A

·         In what ways has the cell phone changed the way we live? Please explain your answer.
·         How do you think will life be if the cell phone was never invented?

Discussion B

·         Do you think the mobile phone will survive for another 40 years? Why or why not?
·         What features would you like to see in a mobile phone or smartphone in the future? Please explain your answer.


May 4, 2013