Who Invented the Cell Phone?

Together Mitchell and Cooper became the cell phone invention pioneers.

[In 1954, Dr. Martin Cooper moved to Motorola and worked along side John F. Mitchell, who was the chief engineer of mobile projects. John F. Mitchell had invented the pager.  Together they worked on trying to develop light weight, mobile devices. Together John F. Mitchell and Martin Cooper became the cell phone invention pioneers.]


By May 9, 2012 0 0

Who invented the cell phoneWho invented the cell phone? Dr. Martin Cooper is known world wide as the inventor of the modern day cell phone. He not only created the device but he was also the first individual to place a call from a mobile phone in 1973. The concept of the cell phone had been around since 1947, it took 26 years for that concept to make it to reality.

Dr. Cooper, who was born in 1928, was raised in Chicago where he went to a technological school and earned a degree in electrical engineering. Before he went on to greatness at Motorola, he served in the US Navy. After the Navy, Dr. Cooper got his foot in the door in the communications field with a small telecommunications firm in Chicago.

In 1954, Dr. Cooper moved to Motorola and worked along side John F. Mitchell, who was the chief engineer of mobile projects. They worked on trying to develop light weight, mobile devices. Together Mitchell and Cooper became the cell phone invention pioneers. They are the brains behind the project that came up with the police radio. The radios were first used in 1967 in Dr. Coopers hometown of Chicago. From there Dr. Cooper moved on to a new research area in Motorola, cellular research.

Dr. Cooper is who invented the cell phone, which came six short years after the police radio was in circulation, in 1973. He wanted to create a portable device that people could use from anywhere they wanted. The project was brought to the FCC to show them the capabilities of cellular technology as well as getting their approval to make it available to the public. They were also hoping to convince the FCC to allow companies to have access to the unused radio frequency space, so that they could take advantage of such a great piece of technology. After getting the FCC approval that they sought, Dr. Cooper took the device to New York.


During this same time period, AT&T was competing to be the first company to release cellular technology, but they focused their research on the car phone instead of portable devices. This decision allowed Motorola to come out ahead in the early years of cellular technology.

Who invented the cell phoneOn arrival in New York, Dr. Cooper and his team went to work setting everything up. The first thing they had to do was get approval from the city to build a base station. After that Dr. Cooper set out to draw public interest and investors by planning a public demonstration at a press conference. The first prototype mobile phone was the Motorola Dyna-Tac. It took three months to design and build.

April 3, 1973 has come to be known as the day the cell phone was born. It was on that day that Dr. Cooper stood at street level outside a Hilton Hotel in Manhattan and had an inner debate with himself about testing the device before it was revealed to the public at the press conference. His nerves got the better of him and he turned it on.

Once the two pound phone was powered up, Dr. Cooper was quickly connected with the cellular station of the Burlington Consolidated Tower, which then patched the call into the landline phone network. As people watched on curiously he dialed the phone number of someone important, his main rival Mr. Joel Engel.

Joel Engel was the head of research at Bell Laboratories. Bell was a section of AT&T, the prime competitor to Motorola during the sixties and seventies. Both companies kept one another busy with projects and ideas that lead to not only the cell phone but many other advancements in telecommunication. AT&T followed Motorola a year later, in 1974, with their own cellular device, the first car phone.

Ten years later, in 1983, the first set of cellular phones went on sale to the public. The main reason it took ten years to get the public to accept it was the price. Many others thought they were too big and bulky, at only half the size of the original, to be practical for every day use. But if it weren't for Dr. Cooper we may not have what we do today when it comes to cell phones and tablets.

Dr. Cooper founded ArrayComm in 1992 after leaving Motorola. ArrayComm has continued to advance his research and still does today. They are responsible for the adaptive antenna technology that allowed wireless networks to have bigger coverage and be able to handle more people on them.

ArrayComm has managed to make all these advancements while continuing to lower costs and making phone calls more reliable. This is something that many other companies are not fond of doing. Dr. Cooper has stated in interviews that his company aims to fulfill a promise he made when he came up with the cell phone, creating cheap and reliable wireless service for everyone. Something that is slowly coming to fruition despite constant legal wrangling with the wireless companies.

The next time you pick up your wireless device, send a silent thank you to Dr. Cooper. Without his mind, vision and Motorola's backing, we might not have the mobile devices that we all love to use today.

Brophy Friday 21 September 2012 - 10:14 am | | John F. Mitchell

No comments

(optional field)
(optional field)
To prevent automated comment spam we require you to answer this silly question.
Remember personal info?
Small print: All html tags except <b> and <i> will be removed from your comment. You can make links by just typing the url or mail-address.