In today’s world, it is impossible to survive without mobile phone. Mobile phones have been helping people communicate with each other for the last 5 decades. This amazing gadget, which you might be holding in your hand right now, has become an indispensable part of everyone’s life ever since its discovery. Mobile phones have become remarkably advanced in a relatively small amount of time. Let’s rewind and take a look into how the growth of mobile phones have revolutionized the technology.
Martin Cooper, an American engineer, led the team that in 1972–73 built the first mobile phone . He is renowned as the father of the cellular phone. Early cell phones were just for talking. Gradually, the mobile phone manufacturers began to understand that they could integrate other technologies into the conventional phone and expand its features in multifolds. We now use our cell phones more for surfing the web, checking mails and messages, capturing photos, and updating social media, than actually placing calls.
Mobile technology is the representative of internet-enabled devices like smartphones, tablets and watches. It is used for cellular communication, and is mainly based on portable two-way communication devices, computing devices and the networking technology that connects them. Mobile technology has rapidly evolved over the past few years; a standard mobile device has gone from being a simple pager to being a smart mobile phone, gaming console. The communications networks that connect these devices are termed wireless technologies. These technologies enable mobile devices to share data, have voice calls and access applications.
Mobile Phone Generations
Since the introduction of wireless cellular technology, mobile phone generations have transformed tremendously, beginning from 1G- The “G” stands for Generation. The nG designation continues onto 5G that’s existing today.
The timeline from 1G to 5G couldn’t have happened without enhancement in each generation of telecommunications finally leading to what it is today.
Launched by Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corporation, in 1979, 1G was introduced as voice-only communication to the citizens of Tokyo. Although being a revolutionary technology at the time, 1G was very rudimentary. Low sound quality, with large amounts of static noise and background crackling; no roaming support and lack of encryption were some of the basic features which were lacking in 1G.
Following the success of 1G, 2G was launched on the Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM) in Finland during 1991. The development of 2G introduced Short Message Service (SMS) and Multimedia Messaging Service (MMS) as new forms of communication, along with providing some significant mobile talk advancements. 2G introduced encrypted calls and improved sound quality as well.
GSM stands for Global System for Mobile Communications. It is the original 2G standard which was launched in 1991, and one of the most popular standards for cell phone networks in the world. This network requires a SIM card, which identifies your device on the network. Phones with GSM enabled network allow you to simply switch SIM cards and use another GSM device, which makes them different from CDMA.
CDMA is short for Code Division Multiple Access. It is mostly popular in and around the U.S. , whereas most of the world has GSM-based network services. CDMA systems do not use a SIM card, instead, your device needs to be programmed.
GSM and CDMA are both 2G networks. GSM and CDMA — 2G enabled networks are digital and can handle both voice and data. 2G networks are relatively slow. Third Generation, or 3G networks are faster and can deliver data at high speed.
Introduced for the public in Japan by NTT DoCoMo in 2001, 3G was introduced to provide faster data-transmission speeds. Users could access data from anywhere, which paved the way for international roaming services to begin. What made 3G revolutionary, was the ability to surf the internet, and stream music on mobile. Video streaming, video conferences, and live video chat became real in the 3G era.
4G is the current mainstream cellular network service, introduced near the end of 2009. With a performance roughly 10 times faster than 3G services, 4G provided high-quality video streaming, quick web access, HD videos, and online gaming.
The term stands for Long Term Evolution, often known as 4G LTE. It’s an upgraded network for both GSM and CDMA based networks. LTE increases bandwidth available for voice and data communications, along with a number of network improvements.
Voice over LTE (VoLTE) is a voice technology that works over the LTE data connection, rather than 3G voice bands. It provides extremely high voice quality, and also includes the ability to make video calls. The requirement is that both participants must be using VoLTE and should be in VoLTE enabled areas.
South Korea was the first country to offer 5G in March 2019. Performance goals of 5G are high data rate, energy saving, reduced costs, and large-scale device connectivity. Experts claim that 5G is 20 times faster than 4G. The latency over 5G is incredibly reduced which means faster response time. 5G also has a larger bandwidth size ,supporting more technologies and devices. It is an essential requirement for smart cities and other industries.
The planned successor of the 5G- 6G ( sixth generation) network is currently under development and will likely be faster even than 5G.
With facilities such as Wi-Fi Calling and development of 6G, there would be another milestone in the telecommunication networks in the coming years. The next generation of wireless cellular tech will bring in a new automated society.
Technologies such as AI, and Cloud Computing will make extraordinary leaps over the next few years. 6G or maybe someday 7G may change our lives in unexpected ways- very similar to how 1G changed ours over 40 years ago. We don’t even know the possibilities yet.
Mobile phones which are capable of holographic projections are an idea. It is also believed that smartphones could be remote controls to manage much of the world around us. Hence, the future evidently seems to be more than just networks. At this rate, communication and connection with the digital world will take place at the blink of an eye. Or even quicker than that!
In less than a decade, we might witness smartphones that comes with foldability, free from chargers (wireless chargers embedded to another device like laptops/tablets are expected to enter our digital spaces that will use radio frequencies at a distance of up to 15 feet), mind controlling algorithms. Yes. Researchers are working on technological telepathy which can be defined as the ability to call someone by thinking about them. In that case, people will not be just one call away from each other, rather just one thought away, isn’t it? Let’s see what the future mobile phone gen has got in store for us!