New York, April 3, 1973. Martin Cooper, 44, an engineer at Motorola is walking through the heart of the city, a strange object stuck to his ear. Weighing almost a kilo, 25 cm long, extended by an antenna, the object attracts all the attention of passers-by. And curiosity increases a notch when they realize that the man is speaking into the amazing device he is holding in his hand. Martin Cooper makes two calls, the first to a journalist from a New York radio station, the second to a certain Joel Engel, a manager of the operator AT&T (belonging to Bell Telephone), a major competitor of Motorola. “Hello” he says to his colleague “Do you have any idea where I am calling you from?” “From your office” replies the man “Not at all, I walk around New York with a mobile phone. You are beaten…” The GSM (Global System for Mobile Communications) was born… Weighing one kilo, 25 cm long excluding the antenna, it charged in 10 hours and had a battery life of 30 minutes. Undoubtedly a blow for the Bell company which had however been the first to imagine a cellular telephone as early as 1947. At the time, this invention had been considered useless and it was not developed.
However, it was not until 1983 that the first portable was marketed by Motorola. Buyers flocked to the gate, hundreds of thousands of Americans wanted to own this modern-day phone. The Motorola DynaTac was priced at over $3,000.
At the end of the 1980s, a very serious competitor showed up: Finland’s Nokia. With a lighter model with a 50-minute battery life and a 4-hour charging time, the European company is making life harder for Motorola,
In 1997, Nokia moved up a gear with a model that was all the rage: the Nokia 6110, which notably exploded text messaging in many countries. A year later, Nokia announces that it has marketed more than 100 million laptops and the Finnish brand becomes the world’s leading manufacturer (it will remain so until 2011).
Then, gradually, it was the explosion: appearance of the BlackBerry, the integrated camera and the smartphone which today has totally supplanted the small mobile phone and has become democratized to such an extent that it is within the reach of children practically from their youngest age. Every year more than 1.5 billion smartphones are sold worldwide. The turnover exceeds 400 billion €. In 2018, there were more active smartphones in the world (7.7 billion) than inhabitants (7.4 billion)…
Today, many brands share this gigantic global market: Samsung, Appel, Nokia, Huawei, Xiaomi, Sony, Google Pixel, OnePlus, Oppo… As for Motorola, the company was sold to Google in 2011, which took it over. then sold to Lenovo three years later. But the brand still lives on.