On April 3, 1973 – fifty years ago today – my dear friend Marty Cooper (then an engineer at Motorola) made history. Standing on a street corner in NYC, he called his rival at Bell Labs and said, “I’m calling from a personal, handheld, portable cell phone.” That moment was the beginning of the modern era of wireless communication.

While Bell Laboratories had been focusing on developing car-based phones, Cooper and Motorola believed in a different future. They envisioned a world where people were no longer trapped by wires; half a century later, it’s clear they were right.

The commercial version of Cooper’s prototype, the Motorola Dynatac 8000X, was released in 1984. It had a price tag equivalent to $11,700 today, with no messaging, camera, or apps – just calls. Fast forward to 2023, and we carry handheld network-connected supercomputers in our pockets.

Despite the progress, Marty believes there’s still room for improvement, especially in terms of design and user experience. He envisions a future where artificial intelligence will tailor apps and experiences to individual needs, monitor our health, maximize productivity, and more. Marty also has a strong POV about how much better and more efficient communications would be if we used wireless spectrum more responsibly.

Congrats and thank you, @MobileMarty. Sending you big hugs on this remarkable day! -s

Author’s note: This is not a sponsored post. I am the author of this article and it expresses my own opinions. I am not, nor is my company, receiving compensation for it.

About Shelly Palmer

Shelly Palmer is the Professor of Advanced Media in Residence at Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications and CEO of The Palmer Group, a consulting practice that helps Fortune 500 companies with technology, media and marketing. Named LinkedIn’s “Top Voice in Technology,” he covers tech and business for Good Day New York, is a regular commentator on CNN and writes a popular daily business blog. He's a bestselling author, and the creator of the popular, free online course, Generative AI for Execs. Follow @shellypalmer or visit shellypalmer.com.



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