The Evolution of Mobile Phone Technology


Mobile phones are an important part of daily life for most people, but are hugely different from the brick-like huge mobile phones around in the mid 1990’s. The improved technology has made today’s mobile an essential tool for most people, from an alarm, a diary or pocket internet browser.

The mid 1990’s
In 1995 a mobile phone was the size of a house brick, heavy and had a long antenna. These were the original mobile phones and were seen as part of the yuppy culture of the time. Within a year the designs were being changed. The phones began to look a bit better had upgraded features and the antennas were made smaller.

By 1997 the enhancements to the phones like smaller rechargeable batteries, meant that there was more internal space. The designers were quick to use this space for the antenna and the sometimes ugly external antennas gradually disappeared.

Some manufacturers kept the external antenna and instead changed the colour of the case from black to a variety of bright colours. This obviously made no difference to the performance of the phones, but it did make them more appealing.

Touch screen technology
The first touch-screen phone was launched in 2000 and this set the template for the phones we know today. These first black and white touch-screen phones had nowhere near the advanced technology that even today’s basic phones have as standard, but at the time it was amazing and a huge craze.

It was only a year to wait before the world saw its first monochromatic screen. This was the end of the standard black display and allowed manufacturers to use different colour backgrounds. The handsets were also getting smaller.

Full colour and cameras
In 2002, mobile phone technology again experienced huge change and the consumer was introduced to a full colour display and built in cameras. Although by today’s standards, the 0.3MP cameras where low quality, this now enabled people to only have to carry one item and be able to take pictures anywhere.

Dual Screen
The clam shell phone appeared in 2003 and we saw two screens for the first time. These phones had a small screen on the outside to give notification of in-coming texts and calls and a bigger screen inside for using the phones other functions and typing messages.

Phones were continuing to get slimmer and lighter and in 2005 the world’s first Walkman phone was unveiled by Sony. This phone had all the features of its rivals, but also included a built in music player with separate buttons for music operation. This opened up a whole new world for users and allowed music to be enjoyed anytime.

Mobile phones continued to evolve into the phones we use today. The screens became clearer, the processors faster, the rechargeable batteries longer lasting and the features as good as a computer. Today though, they seem to have reached their peak and the new phones have the same features as they did a year ago. Is there anything new to add to the next generation of phones or have we seen it all now?


Alex Stringer writes blogs on technology for various websites and Click Here magazine. He has many years of technology research.

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