Technology is all around us. It’s a part of our daily life, from managing our finances to even working with people across the world. In the last 40 years, we have seen technology evolve from being used rarely to being essential for daily life. One of the most important pieces of technology that people as young as 13 have access to is a smartphone. According to statistics, the USA has 280.54 million smartphone users in 2020.
Of course, the first handheld mobile phone could not do many things that smartphones can do today when it was created nearly 50 years ago. This quiz looks at how this piece of technology has transformed the world and our way of living. This quiz will also look at other pieces of technology, such as apps and Wi-Fi.
The first-ever handheld phone that was mass-produced was released in 1973. This was the ‘shoe phone’, named that due to its large size. It allowed a user to talk for 35 minutes and needed a 10-hour charge. Motorola engineer Martin Cooper first demonstrated this phone by calling a rival of his, whilst walking on 53rd and 54th street. Of course, there were plenty of issues with this model. However, this was a huge step for technological advances into what is possible today. In 1979, Japan released the world’s first cellular network. It was created by Nippon Telegraph and Telephone (NTT) and was based on analogue technology.
Since this worldwide network, there have been dozens of other technological advantages. One of them is the introduction of Wi-Fi, something that is invisible but is used daily across the world since its release in 1997. Around this time, the internet was becoming easier to use with the creation of the World Wide Web. Using the internet and Wi-Fi became even more convenient with the introduction of the 3G network. The 3G network was the third generation of wireless telecommunications technology. With this, people can still use the internet without being connected to a Wi-Fi network. Even Mount Everest has Wi-Fi as Ncell connected the mountain with their 3G network in 2003. To make things easier, SMS (Short Messaging Service) was introduced in 1992. SMS allowed for people could send short messages from across the world, whether they have an Android or iPhone.
Of course, mobile phones have come a long way since the original Motorola shoe phone. There have been some legendary phones that are still referenced in today’s pop culture. One of these legendary phones is the Nokia 6310. It was widely known as the Nokia ‘Brick’. When this phone launched back in 2001, it became known for never breaking down or breaking when dropped. Memes today suggest it would break the floor, rather than the phone itself break. It is still widely regarded as a legendary phone, despite its low specs and limited functions. Nokia even recognized this, releasing a more modern version of the ‘Brick’ in 2021 to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the legendary phone.
Another legendary phone is the Motorola StarTAC. It is renowned as the world’s first flip phone. Released in 1996, it was nicknamed the ‘It’ phone and was the stylish phone that people used before iPhone and Android. The main selling point was the size. It was so much better than the shoe phone.
However, Motorola is not the name we think of when we think of modern phones. This is because multiple other companies have taken mobile phones in other directions. We know of Apple and Samsung, but there have been others. Blackberry unveiled their first mobile phone in 1999, but they were popular in 2009 with the release of Blackberry Tour. The Blackberry Tour was one of their highest selling phones, almost selling 3 million units.
The first official Android phone was released by T-Mobile. On 23rd September 2008, the T-Mobile G1 (also known as the HTC Dream) had a sleek design and clean aesthetic. With no virtual keyboard and multiple buttons on the phone chin, it was considered a downgrade. This is because of the release of the first iPhone in 2007. However, the prices speak for themselves. Whilst the iPhone was priced at $499, the T-Mobile G1 was only $179. However, Samsung would soon take the mantle as the face of Android phones with the release of the Galaxy S range smartphone in 2010.
Phones nowadays can hold plenty of apps to help with everyday life. Phones are no longer just for calling someone. One of the most popular apps is WhatsApp. WhatsApp launched in 2009 as a free messaging app that can cross platforms to be available on both Android and iPhone phones. It soon rose in popularity thanks to its end-to-end encryption. It also became popular due to the easy access to Emojis. Whilst Emojis were launched in 1999, they became widely popular in the 2010s. One even became The Word of the Year in 2015.
Apps can do everything, from business uses to entertainment. One of the most popular games that were released in 2016 was Pokémon GO. Pokémon GO was so popular because it was one of the first successful augmented-reality games. Fans of the franchise were excited to see Pokémon in our world and do battle whilst on the go. The app generated billions, and there were reports of the players losing weight from playing. The app also allowed people to socialise with others through playing in gym battles. All in all, the app is still a success today.
However, you cannot beat the classics when it comes to gaming. In 2000, the PlayStation 2 was launched. Featuring online support and numerous games that still hold up 20 years later (such as Kingdom Hearts, Devil May Cry, Ratchet and Clank, and God of War for example). It is still the best-selling game console to this day, selling over 155 million units.
You have had your history lesson. Let’s see what you’ve learned through the quiz. Each question has four potential answers, only one of which is correct. Select the right answer and see if you can get full marks. Compete with your friends in our fun challenge. Gather your fellow players around to see who’s been paying the most attention during this brief history lesson.