Phone Calls to Facetime: 40 Years of Cellphones

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During the past 40 years, the cellphone has gone from a bulky, heavy luxury item used solely to place phone calls to a sleek, ultralight computer used for everything from taking pictures to monitoring health.

( Read More: 10 Cool Things You Can Do With Your Smartphone)

Here's a look at how mobile devices have evolved over the past four decades and at the companies who built the items that manage our lives.

By Cadie Thompson and Jermaine Taylor

Posted 3 April 2013

1973: Dynamic Adaptive Total Area Coverage

Martin Cooper places first call on mobile phone on April 3, 1973

A trailblazer in early-cellphone technology, Motorola debuted a prototype of the Dynamic Adaptive Total Area Coverage (DynaTAC) portable phone in 1973, laying the groundwork for what we know as the modern smartphone. Martin Cooper, at the time a vice president at Motorola, made the first handheld mobile phone call using the device.

1983: Motorola DynaTAC 8000X

Source: Redrum0486/Wikipedia | 20th Century Fox

Perhaps most famous for its use by corporate raider Gordon Gekko in the 1987 film "Wall Street," the Motorola DynaTAC 8000X weighed just under 2 pounds and cost an equivalently hefty $4,000. The phone worked on North America's first 1G service—a harbinger of the 4G that is de rigueur with smartphone consumers now.

1993: Bell South IBM Simon Personal Communicator

Bcos47 | Wikipedia

While the term had yet to be coined, the IBM Simon—a mobile phone, pager, fax machine and PDA in one—is perhaps the world's first "smartphone." The device, which sold for $899, featured a calendar, address book, calculator and touchscreen capability, a standard hallmark of today's smartphones.

1996: Motorola StarTAC

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The first "clamshell," or flip, mobile phone, the StarTAC reflected a shift toward more compact device. The move proved wise, as the StarTAC was among the first mobile to gain widespread consumer adoption. Its emergence also marked the broader industry's graduation from a standard 1G to a 2G network.

1999: Nokia 7110 & Samsung SPH M100


At the height of the dot-com bubble and on the cusp of Y2K, Nokia's 7110 reflected the era's explosive technological advances. The 7110 was the first cellphone to feature a Wireless Application Protocol browser, which allowed users to access the Web.

Samsung SPH M100

Named one of Time magazine's All-TIME 100 greatest and most influential gadgets from 1923 to 2010, the Samsung SPH-M100—also known as the "Uproar"—which sold for $400, was the first cellphone to have MP3 capability.

2002: Nokia 7650 & Sony Ericsson P800

Nokia 7650

The Nokia 7650 was the first Nokia smartphone with a built-in camera and the company's first to work on the Symbian operating system. The phone—which made an appearance in the movie "Minority Report" around the same time it was released—is best known for its color display and navigation joystick.

Sony Ericsson P800

One of the most-anticipated smartphones of 2003, the Sony Ericsson P800 was one of the few boasting a touchscreen. It ran on a Symbian OS 7, and had Bluetooth capability and a VGA camera—high-tech at the time.

2003: BlackBerry Quark 6210

Source: Blackberry

In June of 2003, Research In Motion (now ) launched the BlackBerry Quark 6210, one of its most popular smartphones. It was the first BlackBerry device integrating the phone. The BlackBerry 5810 had included a phone function but worked only with a headset.

2007: iPhone

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Apple changed the mobile industry when it released the first iPhone on June 29, 2007.

The dominant operating systems at the time included BlackBerry OS, Symbian and Windows Mobile, but the iOS was a much more capable system that let users tap into Apple's robust ecosystem.

Fans across the U.S. lined up in front of Apple stores to be among the first to get their hands on the device, then priced at $499 for the 4 GB model and $599 for the 8 GB model

Apple is now in the sixth generation of the device, with its iPhone 5 model, which launched last fall.

2010: Samsung Galaxy S Series


Samsung took on Apple's dominance in the smartphone space with the introduction of its flagship Galaxy S devices in March 2010.

The smartphone featured Google's Android operating system, had a large touch-screen display, Wi-Fi connectivity, a five-megapixel camera and the fastest graphics processor of any other smartphone on the market.

By January 2011, Samsung had sold 10 million Galaxy S mobile phones globally.

2013:Samsung Galaxy S4 & BlackBerry 10

Source: Blackberry and Samsung

Samsung Galaxy S4

Samsung revealed the latest Galaxy smartphone this March in New York. Pre-orders begin this month, but it's still not clear when the devices will be delivered to consumers.

Though Galaxy S4's design doesn't stray too much from its predecessor, the Galaxy S, its software challenges the competition. One of the phone's key features is a function that lets users navigate with gestures rather than by having to touch the screen.

(Read More: Samsung Takes on Apple With New Galaxy S4)

BlackBerry 10

In an effort to turn itself around, BlackBerry (formerly Research In Motion) in March brought out a version of the BlackBerry 10 smartphone, the BlackBerry Z10, that does not have a keyboard but is instead a touch-screen device.

The company has said it will release another BlackBerry 10 that includes its signature keyboard.