When Apple or Samsung unveils a new smartphone, consumers can preorder the device within days and expect to get it in their hands within weeks. When Motorola introduced the first-ever cellphone, the DynaTAC, in 1973, it took another decade before consumers could actually use one. Talk about delayed gratification. Ironically, it took the team at Motorola just three months to conceive and build the first DynaTAC, a minor miracle considering it takes 12 to 18 months today to do the same thing with a flagship smartphone. The company only made two prototypes, the culmination of thousands of parts welded together in a boot-shaped phone with a massive antenna. “It’s far more complicated than a modern phone, believe it or not,” Martin Cooper, who led the team at Motorola and is credited as the father of the cellphone, said in an interview for the Daily Charge podcast last week. Cooper shared stories about the whirlwind race to develop that first phone, which was less a commercial product and more an attempt to head off attempts by then-monopoly AT&T to get a stranglehold on the wireless business. The reaction he got from his colleagues: “That’s impossible.” They went to work anyway, culminating… Read full this story
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