The first cell phone call: 40 years later - DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

The first cell phone call: 40 years later

Posted: Updated:
NEW YORK (MYFOXNY) -

Cell phone calls began 40 years ago. Believe it or not, the first cell phone call was made on April 3, 1973.

In the final frontier, Captain Kirk's gold flip-top communicator triggered the idea for something most thought was truly out of this world back then: the cell phone.

40 years ago in New York City, the first ever cell phone call was made on a Motorola brick that weighed 2.5 pounds and had a 20-minute battery life.

In New York City, where gossip is king, I wanted to know what was said. So I asked the guy who made the call: Martin Cooper, the cell phone inventor.

"I said: 'Joel, I am calling you from a cell phone. But a real cell phone; a personal, portable, hand-held cell phone," Cooper said.

The mobile network was in place, but the call went just one way. Ten years later, in 1983, the cell phone was available to anyone who wanted one and was willing to pay $3,995 for a phone that gave you a whopping 30 minutes of talk time.

The prices slowly started to drop.

By the time the 1989 Motorola Microtac arrived on the market the price was much lower. It weighed much less, too: just 12 ounces. There were more than 3 million cell phone subscribers in the United States alone.

"We knew that someday everyone would have a cell phone," Cooper said. "But we never knew on the other hand could have predicted that a cell phone would contain a computer, a camera, the Internet."

Now nearly everyone on planet Earth is tethered to their constant companion. There are more than 6 billion subscribers worldwide.

But, at least one person says all those fancy new phones are already getting a little old fashioned. 40 years from now it will be a whole new frontier.

"You will have cell phone on you, but you will not know it's there," Cooper said. "You will just use it and it will be intuitive."

  • Manhattan NewsManhattan NewsMore>>

  • New York's smallest piece of private land

    New York's smallest piece of private land

    Thursday, July 31 2014 7:13 PM EDT2014-07-31 23:13:43 GMT
    The Hess triangle is a tiny piece of private property in Greenwich Village. Manhattan historian Joyce Gold explained the origins of the property: After World War I, New York City seized a beautiful residence and tore it down so it could extend Seventh Avenue and the west side subway below it. The city left the building's owner only a tiny scrap of property so small it requested he donate the triangle to make way for a sidewalk. The man refused, took the city to court and won.
    The Hess triangle is a tiny piece of private property in Greenwich Village. Manhattan historian Joyce Gold explained the origins of the property: After World War I, New York City seized a beautiful residence and tore it down so it could extend Seventh Avenue and the west side subway below it. The city left the building's owner only a tiny scrap of property so small it requested he donate the triangle to make way for a sidewalk. The man refused, took the city to court and won.
  • Tennis star Caroline Wozniacki to run New York City Marathon

    Wozniacki to run NYC Marathon

    Thursday, July 31 2014 4:42 PM EDT2014-07-31 20:42:50 GMT
    Former No. 1-ranked tennis star Caroline Wozniacki plans to play a full tournament schedule this fall while fitting in time to train for the New York City Marathon. She said Thursday that she long had wanted to do a marathon and decided before Wimbledon that she could pull it off this year.
    Former No. 1-ranked tennis star Caroline Wozniacki plans to play a full tournament schedule this fall while fitting in time to train for the New York City Marathon. She said Thursday that she long had wanted to do a marathon and decided before Wimbledon that she could pull it off this year.
  • 5 annoying things about the New York City subway

    5 annoying things about the New York City subway

    Thursday, July 31 2014 2:55 PM EDT2014-07-31 18:55:21 GMT
    Subway problems are annoying, but it’s just a part of living in New York City. Public transportation isn’t glamorous. It’s a pain. It’s a convenience that can cause an inconvenience. Here is a list of five annoying things about the subway system.
    Subway problems are annoying, but it’s just a part of living in New York City. Public transportation isn’t glamorous. It’s a pain. It’s a convenience that can cause an inconvenience. Here is a list of five annoying things about the subway system.
Powered by WorldNow

WTTG FOX 5 & myfoxdc
5151 Wisconsin Ave. NW
Washington, DC 20016
Main Number: (202) 244-5151
Newsroom: (202) 895-3000
fox5tips@wttg.com

Didn't find what you were looking for?
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Fox Television Stations, Inc. and Worldnow. All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Ad Choices