What do you want mobile phones to do in the next 40 years?

It has been almost been 40 years since the first mobile call, what’s next?

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It's hard to believe that next year will be the 40th anniversary of the first handheld mobile phone call.  What's also hard to fathom is that first call, between the father of the cell phone Martin Cooper, then of Motorola made to Joel Engel of Bell Labs was made on a phone that weighed over two pounds and cost nearly $4,000 and had a battery life of about 30 minutes.

Of course those facts alone describe the dramatic technological change mobile phones have made since then.

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One cool thing is that Cooper is still very much involved in the industry he helped create. In an interview with Network World last year he said he buys a new smartphone every two months just to keep himself up-to-date on the newest technological trends. At that time he most recently owned the LTE-capable HTC Thunderbolt, he was the owner of a Motorola Droid X and an iPhone 4, which he promptly gave away to his grandson after making an upgrade.  The 83-year-old Cooper says he couldn't have imagined how far mobile phones have come since he developed the first working mobile phone. 

"The first cellular systems didn't become commercially available until 1983. Most of the phones before then were in fact car phones. Even though we had designed the technology for true portability, most of the systems at that time were not designed for it. We found there were generally two types of people who used these phones: The first group was interested in having mobile phones as status symbols but the second group was made up of people who were more interested in having a new way to conduct business. So gradually you had people who were not in the top income classes using mobile phones in their daily lives.  I like to think that I'm a really good futurist but at the time there were no personal computers, no World Wide Web, no MP3 players. We were in the Dark Ages [and the future of mobile data wasn't clear].  Although I'm not at all humble of at least seeing the fact that freedom of mobility was going to be important. We knew that people would all have cell phones and they would all be talking over them," Cooper said.

And indeed they are.  But what's next? An obvious improvement would be batteries. Better longer lasting batteries would do wonders for just about any phone.  But phones will also see four-core processors, bigger, higher-resolution screens, 3D and  HD video will also be in the mix.

What improvements would you want to see on future cell phones??

Follow Michael Cooney on Twitter: nwwlayer8 and on Facebook

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