The First Mobile Phone: Motorola’s DynaTAC 9000
The introduction of the mobile phone revolutionized personal communication, and Motorola’s DynaTAC 9000 was the first commercially available handheld cellular phone, which was unveiled in 1983 and became available to consumers in 1984.
The DynaTAC 9000 was developed by Motorola, an American telecommunications company, under the leadership of engineer and inventor Dr. Martin Cooper. Cooper is often credited as the “father of the mobile phone” for his pioneering work in cellular technology. The development of the DynaTAC began in the early 1970s, to create a portable telephone that could operate on a cellular network.
On April 3, 1973, Dr. Cooper made the first public mobile phone call using a prototype of the DynaTAC, marking a historic milestone in the development of cellular technology. He called on the streets of New York City to his rival, Dr. Joel S. Engel of Bell Labs, a research division of AT&T.
It took another decade before the DynaTAC 9000 was ready for commercial release. The phone was officially unveiled in 1983 and became available in 1984, with a hefty price tag of around $3,995 (equivalent to nearly $10,000 today, when adjusted for inflation). The DynaTAC 9000 was large by today’s standards, measuring approximately 13 inches (33 cm) tall and weighing around 2 pounds (0.9 kg). Despite its size and cost, the phone was a status symbol and marked the beginning of the mobile phone revolution.
The DynaTAC 9000 offered a talk time of around 30 minutes and required 10 hours to recharge. However, it provided users with the unprecedented ability to make and receive phone calls while on the move, laying the foundation for developing smaller, more affordable, and more advanced mobile phones in the following years.
The introduction of the Motorola DynaTAC 9000 marked a turning point in telecommunications history, transforming how people communicated and paving the way for the widespread adoption of mobile phones and the eventual rise of smartphones that dominate today’s market.