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A visual history of mobiles: Past, present and future

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Sometimes I can’t help but think back to my first cellular phone back in the mid-1990’s. But the history of mobiles started a decade prior, when phones were beyond the means of most consumers. Now we have countries with more mobile subscriptions than people and the phone itself is used less and less for it’s original purpose: Voice calls.

This infographic, courtesy of, brings together historical datapoints showing the decreasing cost and size of mobile devices, in conjunction with more capable hardware and services.

Interestingly, the “phone of the future” will support HD graphics, electronic payments and can be used as a game console. Galaxy Nexus(s goog) owners are already living in the future then as the smartphone with its NFC chip can be used as wireless wallet, is great for watching HD videos and connects to console-quality game services in the cloud, such as OnLive, right now.

13 Responses to “A visual history of mobiles: Past, present and future”

  1. Walter Adamson

    Yes exactly and the usual anti-Asian myopic view. Japan ran out the first commercial cellular network in 1979 and was responsible for 1000s of innovations that left the US industy and cell phones for dead, including the first commercial app store and “iTunes” in 2000 and 2001 respectively. Not to mention the Europeans. Your infographic is a display of your blistering ignorance of the topic.
    Walter @adamson

  2. Richard Garrett

    Kevin as always you are to be commended for attributing your sources. I wonder if you can go a step further with this one…the link to goes to a discount coupon/shopping site and I’m not sure where to navigate from there. Thanks for an eye-opening story, btw. It’s kinda scary to see a slice of how much I’ve spent on mobile tech in the last 25 years or so. Yike!

  3. The Gnome is right. The iPhone has never run OS X. It runs iOS. iOS and OS X, if memory serves, share some code. That’s where it stops. Stick with sources that are more tech savy and more accurate than please.

  4. My first “mobile” was a yellow Nokia 5110 back when I was going through college. Everyone I knew had one, and it was a rock solid reliable device. I still have it, and it still works!

    I remember buying a Motorola V66 back in 2001 for $400 – it was the cutting-edge phone available at the time. I loved it since I could slip it in my front shirt pocket and not know that it was there.

    Then around 2004 I moved up to my first smartphone courtesy of the h6315 iPaq. People found it hard to believe at the time that I could watch full-length movies on it, yet this device was far ahead of flip phones like the Motorola V600 popular back then.

    My current smartphone? I’m rocking a HTC Touch Pro 2. Call me traditional, but I like the sliding hardware keyboard and tilting display. WM6.5 works well for me. I like the wired remote for music playback, it works great with a prepaid SIM for cheap voice, and even lets me enjoy 4G when tethered with a mobile hotspot.

    I really don’t know what my future smartphone will be. HTC hasn’t really shown anything to replace what the TP2 offers. It’s quite possible my next phone upgrade will be a 7″ Windows slate… paired with a $20 Nokia from Target!

  5. boredsysadm

    $200 my behind!! Modern top Smartphones priced are still cost $500-700 retail. $200-300 is price of admission to expensive and limited 2 year commitment which will cost you $1920 plus the pocket change – $200-300 you paid for device