The demands of cell phone users have changed as the years have passed, with the requirements of the early adopters in the late 1980s and early 90s far removed from the needs of the modern every-day customer.
In this article, we will explore the changes that have been made during the last 40 years and understand how manufacturers are changing their design and manufacturing techniques to stay ahead of the competition.
The first cell phones
The first commercially available handheld cellular mobile phone was the Motorola DynaTAC, although the history of the concept dates all the way back to 1917 when a Finnish inventor filed a patent for a folding pocket-sized phone.
The DynaTAC was made available on the mass market in 1983 and its capabilities were severely limited. It took around ten hours to fully charge and in return the user got just 30 minutes of talk time before the battery died. It was also priced at close to $4,000, which would be around the $10,000 mark today.
The phone was marketed at traveling business professionals who sought the ability to communicate while on the go. And though its functionality was seriously restricted, the model helped lay the foundations for what would ultimately become the modern mobile phone.
A broader customer base
By the time the mid-to-late 1990s arrived, cell phones were recognized as much more than just a tool for business. By now, the products were being marketed to all members of the household, with security and convenience a key selling point for families.
Phones were increasingly being seen as a broader communication tool that was as functional for socializing as it was for doing business, and it wasn’t long until manufacturers began to offer games, custom wallpapers, and even interchangeable cases.
This helped the modern cell phone skyrocket in popularity, with manufacturers like Ericsson, Panasonic, and Samsung joining the industry from 1997 onwards and quickly gaining a significant market share alongside early pace-setters Nokia and Motorola.
Today’s cell phone is barely recognizable as simply being a phone, with your average phone user now being able to access a world of multimedia, entertainment, and information with a few quick taps on the screen.
The high-definition display now generally accounts for the majority of the device’s surface area at the front, while 4G and 5G technology and more powerful processors make accessing the latest apps and games really simple.
And it’s perhaps as a gaming device that the phone has enjoyed its biggest growth in popularity. While concepts like the Nokia N-Gage failed to make a lasting impact, today’s modern phone is equipped to handle complex graphics and fast action.
The modern player also wants to enjoy true human interaction in games. For some, that means taking on real-life players from around the world, whether that be friends or strangers, at games like Fortnite or Madden NFL 21. For others, the thrills of the casino online and games like blackjack, roulette, and poker are brought to life on mobile, with live video dealers and an incredible array of choices. The evolution of modern smartphones means that enjoying them is no longer reserved for the desktop.