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Tech Report: 40th Anniversary of First Cellphone Call

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A man uses two smartphones. (Indranil Mukherjee/AFP/Getty Images)

A man uses two smartphones. (Indranil Mukherjee/AFP/Getty Images)

LarryMagid01-228 Larry Magid
Larry Magid is a technology journalist and an Internet safe...
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SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) — Believe it or not, it’s been 40 years since an engineer with Motorola made the world’s first cellphone call.

It would be another 10 years before the company made the cell phones available to the public.

While I didn’t use that phone, I did use one of the earlier brick phones and it wasn’t much smaller than the phone this guy used. It was huge. It extended at about 10 inches-long and weighed at least a couple of pounds. I remember the battery would only last a half-an-hour at best and I had to buy new batteries every few months.

I had an earlier Radio Shack model, probably made by Nokia. Compared to what we have today, and the amazing evolution we’ve had over the last 40 years those looked like the dark ages. Now we take for granted that there is a cellphone tower virtually everywhere we go.

I think back to the mid 1980s and in the early 90s when I got my first phone and cell phone reception was scratchy and a lot of dropped calls because the towers were so far from one another. While that still happens today, we’re much better off.

(Copyright 2013 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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