The basic issue is that people are fundamentally
mobile. So the idea of having wires to make a conversation is really not very natural. My name is Marty Cooper. I conceived of and
introduced the first portable — oh, excuse me. Hello? Oh, hi, George. George, I’m really tied up at the moment.
Do you mind if I call you back? Oh, thank you so much. Bye now. As I was saying. I conceived of and introduced
the first cellular telephone in April of 1973. Now the concept of cellular telephony is really
very simple. It breaks the city up into a lot of small areas which being engineers we
had to come up with a new name and we called them cells. And the second concept is being
able to move from one cell to another and having a continuous conversation. The first public cellular call was made in
New York. I was with Motorola at that time and I thought a dramatic thing to do was to
call my counterpart at AT&T. So I dialed the phone, and I said, “Hi, Joel. It’s Marty Cooper.”
He said, “Hi, Marty.” I said, “I’m calling you from my cell phone.”
And there was silence at the other end of the line. The idea for the shape of the first phone
started out with me approaching Motorola’s design group. I told them that I wanted to
have a really dazzling design. And two weeks later they had a flip phone, they had a slider
phone. But we selected this phone because it was simple. What’s important about any technology is that
the technology is hopefully invisible but at least transparent and maybe intuitive.
Think about it. The purpose of technology is to make your life better. Most cell phones
don’t do that very well. In fact, they force us to become engineers, to learn a bunch of
new things. And we shouldn’t have to do that. The ideal phone would be one where I would
just talk to the phone, or maybe the phone would read my mind, and it would do things
to make my life better. And all of us have these complicated phones. And they all try
to be universal. If you try to build a device that does all things for all people, it won’t
do any of them very well. So I think that’s where we are with cell phones today.