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Ivan Ramirez
English 102
Professor Spencer
23 April 2016
The Need for Cell Phones in Our Lives
Cell phones are becoming ever more powerful each coming year. Ever since the
introduction of the integrated microchips in electronic devices, super high computing power was
made possible and to the point when it implemented in mobile phones. They have the ability to
let us make wireless calls, send text messages, browse the web, take digital pictures, and so much
In the late 20th century, the first cell phone call was made with the first words being,
Joel, Im calling you from a real cellular telephone. A portable handheld telephone (qtd. in
Shiels 1). This call made from a man named Martin Cooper to his rival Joel Beng, from Bell
Labs. Martin was a man from Motorola with the aim of building a cellular telephone, a personal
telephone. Something that would represent an individual so you could assign a number not to a
place, not to a desk, not to a home but to a person (1). The first phone weighted one kilogram,
lasted no more than thirty-five minutes on battery, and needed roughly ten hours to recharge it
( 1). Need citation in work cited page. Not the kind of wireless handheld tech we
expected, but it was a start.
A decade after the first wireless call made, mobile phones became commercialized to the
public. However, there was a catch. According to Martin himself, the first commercialized
mobile phone cost over $3500, an equivalent of $7000 worth today (Shiels 2). Not everyone was
able to afford these devices. Prices eventually dropped as new models began to be released by
the only two service companies that were available. For example, the Motorola MircoTAC cell
phone was available for $3000 in 1997 and quickly dropped to $1000 in the next year (Cellular
Phones 2). As soon as a newly introduced cell phone came in, the older models will drop its
original outstanding price.
What about the prices now? If one would head to Apples official website today,
obtaining an iPhone 6S Plus with 128 GB of storage will cost $949 ( 1), or heading to
its competitor, Samsung, a Galaxy S7 Edge with 32 GB of storage will cost $749 (
1). It really is still a lot to pay for, but comparing to buy a $3500 ($7000 worth today) phone
seems like it is nothing! Even more, Indias smartphone market is growing rapidly, partially for
creating affordable alternatives to Apples iPhone and Samsungs Galaxy such as a Mozilla based
companys $33 smartphone (New Era of cheap smartphones 1). Getting one of the big
companies smartphone can buy at least twenty-two of these Mozilla phones. Overall, mobile
phone prices are steadily dropping where more individuals can afford one.
Enough about the prices, just how many mobile devices are there in the U.S.? Since in
the early 80s it was a luxury to purchase handheld phones, according to the Annual Wireless
Industry Survey, the earliest record number of wireless subscriber connections, or active service,
tops and an estimate of 158.7 million in 2003 ( 1). Seems like a lot, but want to take a
guess how much more there was last year? Since each year newer cellular models are released,
let us keep in mind that consumers that already own a mobile device must get rid of it to
purchase new ones. It does not mean that tossed cell phones still count as an active subscriber.
Last year, wireless subscriber connections reached 355.4 million and still counting (1). The

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popularity of mobile phones is increasing at an accelerating rate and we may see our children
owning them anytime soon, but it is not discussed later in this paper.
What is the difference between the displays of cell phones from then and now? Firstly,
there was no display on the first cell phone ( 1), but decades after some phones
were introduced with colored displays (Ramstad 1). Displays visually aided with the basics such
as on screen dialer, saved contacts, and to what we eventually see today on our smart phones. It
was in 2007 when the first High Definition (HD) processor was implemented in cell phones and
portable media players to allow HD video playback on better displays (Broadcom Shatter 1).
Today, smart phones use two type of screens, AMOLED and IPS. IPS displays are the modern
screens Apple use in their iPhones that use polarized light through a color filter ( 4).
On the other hand, the AMOLED displays are more favored by other manufactures, including
Samsung, because they are newer that use film transistors where an individual pixel can light up
independently without turning the whole screen on, which saves battery life (3). These are the
displays that made digital photography and video playbacks very popular.
Ever wonder how a camera came into being? The first digital pixelated camera, according
to a NASA Spinoff article, was made by Eastman Kodak in 1975, although the concept of the
camera came from Jet Propulsion Laboratory engineer Eugene Lally ( 1).
Basically, thanks to NASA research, the invention of the digital camera was implemented into
our phones we use today. Here is how it works, an image sensor contains an array of
photodetectors called pixels [short for picture elements] that collect single particles of light, or
photons (1). Here is when microchips, as we mentioned, comes in. As transistors [microchips]
shrink, we can build smaller pixels, meaning that -- we can provide higher and higher resolution
for products like camera phones (1). As mentioned before, when our phones become more
powerful, we can expect better cameras as well. Now, traditional standalone digital cameras
begun to decline with a 24% decrease in purchases in (Digital Cameras 1) 2014. Since many
cell phone users enjoy sharing their photos with friends on the internet, it is no surprise why the
smartphone is favored over the standalone camera.
Now, what do cell phones offer us? First, we will look at the capacity of storage. If an
individual wanted to increase storage on a cellular phone, might as well get a new phone, until
the introduction of expandable memory in 2003. With the miniSD [storage device] --, we
believe mobile phone designers will have a much easier time and greater freedom in fitting a
card slot into their designs (SanDisk 1). A phone with a miniSD slot is able to increase
memory data to store more pictures, music, and videos. Not only that, a smart phone can store
just about anything today. When the miniSD was commercialized, the miniSD 32 MB version,
largest at the moment, cost approximately twenty-nine dollars (1). Today, SanDisks largest
capacity microSD can store 200 GB worth of data, roughly 6200 times more ( 1).
So that means with 200 GB, plus with integrated memory, we have access to store data more
than we can manage! We can save as many games, which is the highest memory demand, as
many photos, videos, apps, and a lot more.
What does the internet do? Smartphones have easy access to the web, and it is a crucial
reason for owning a phone today. In 2000, subscriptions to cellular and other mobile phones
with Internet capabilities -- rose to 15,036,000 (Subscriptions to Cell Phones 1), while today
we see around 350 million of internet access as mentioned by the Annual Wireless Industry
Survey since almost all service comes with limited access to the web. A research done by Pew

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Research Centers Internet and American Life Project, showed a survey of teens aged between
12 and 17 -- found that 78 per cent have a cell phone and rely on their phones to go online
(Most teens use cell phones 1) instead of a home computer in 2013 in the U.S. Access to the
internet has gotten easier when on the move.
What else can the internet do? Smartphones today can expand software and data by using
app stores. The biggest impact of the app store comes from Apple when it launched its iPhone
2.0 in 2008. Apple created its own app store on July 11th, and it brought roughly 500
applications from companies such as Facebook, Ebay, and America Online (Wingfield 1).
However, it is not the first attempt to launch a download service. Sprint once announced in 2001
of a wireless download service [that] connects customers with the best in brand-name music and
graphics (Sprint Customers 1). And here we are, able to download music, movies, apps, and
games from little to no cost. Apples senior vice president Eddy Cue once said, the App Store
completely transformed how people use their mobile devices and created a thriving app
ecosystem that has paid out nine billion dollars to developers (qtd. in Apples App Store 1).
This statement is right because most of our media and entertainment obtained from app stores
such as Apple and Google Play. One milestone to mention is that in 2013, Apples app store
reached 50 billion app downloads (1) while Google Play Store reached 10% more downloads in
the same year (App Annie: Google Play 1).
A lot of people hear most of their music on their phones, why? Although radio music
dominated portable music, such as radio players as large as a suit case, the first cell phone did
not have any radio music enabled until 2000 (KEXP 2). But of course it was a time when cell
phones was a near luxury item to afford. However, in 2003 no longer will anyone on the move
have to depend on the radio to hear the latest hits: With the DRM Music Player, music files can
be downloaded directly via a cell phone (Siemens 1). Siemens launched a player in cell
phones to download music from the internet, and it is likely one of the origins of cell phone
popularity based on personal music player. Today, one can easily purchase tracks on iTunes and
Amazon digitally which is hard to turn down because everyone would want to hear their favorite
songs on the go.
What else can we do with smartphones today? Smartphones have changed the way we
bank now. Back in 2008, this article predicted the near future, we now are moving closer to
digital wallets; The mobile bank of tomorrow has the potential to transform how consumers
purchase products, exchange money and manage finances on the go (Reedy 12). Of course, we
are talking about NFC technology, an RFID technology that enables data exchange with a swipe
of the phone (12). We have seen commercials about Apple pay, Samsung Pay, Android Pay, and
what not, a significant step up from traditional online mobile banking. Individuals are now free
to leave their plain old physical cards at home and not worry about carrying a piece of plastic in
the back pocket or purse right? Not! Although this is becoming huge, we have to take
precaution and assume that not every business accept NFC as a payment. Could we imagine
letting our waiter take our phone, or the digital wallet, to pay for our food? This will definitely
not happen. Although the positive news is that if a mobile device is lost or stolen, the mobile
handset can be encrypted (16). This should be treated as a quicker way to pay instead of digging
through a purse or a wallet.
We hear about a lot about Bluetooth enabled phones and accessories, what is Bluetooth?
Bluetooth is a wireless initiative led by Ericsson, IBM, Intel, and Nokia, that uses stamp-size

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chips that create short -- radio links for data transfer and transmission between any device
hooked up with these chips (Orubeondo and Railsback 1). This led huge competitors, such as
mentioned before, and even Microsoft and Apple, to unite under an easy-to-use data
communicator (Bluetooth 1). Bluetooth has enable consumers to connect their phones to
wireless accessories like ear sets, speakers, portable keyboards, and more recently their smart
Why do todays cell phones have USB cables? Well, it was announced in 2002, the first
complete Universal Serial Bus (USB) - - connectivity standard that allows battery-powered
devices such as PDAs, digital cameras, and smart phones [the early ones] to easily exchange
data (Phillips 1-2). Its main purpose was to transfer information between devices, such as
from a phone to a computer. USB cables are important because they help charge our devices. It is
known that Apples iMac computer popularized the USB, leading other manufactures to launch
USB computer accessories in the 90s (Edwards 2). Need citation page. Furthermore, soon there
is going to be an upgrade to these cables labeled as USB Type-C. The Type-C is 2.4 mm length, a
bit smaller than its 4.5 mm counterpart, older USB, and has a whooping delivering power of 100
watts (The Industrys 1). So in the near future, we are going to see higher data transfer, and
faster recharge speed on mobile devices.
Let us focus on school, what can cell phones do? Although using eBooks is still an early
stage to be used in school, some facilities do use cell phones as educational tools to aid learning
for grade students. For example, on an article on teens and cell phones, some teachers
homework online and answer questions about assignments through e-mail or text messaging
(Docksai 11), which is a start since we all know how many schools abolish the use of cell phones
inside the buildings. So in short summary, cell phones can indeed be used as educational tools.
What does this all mean, to own a phone? What I believe is that lately having and using
cellphones today are now a need in everyday life opposed to not owning these devices. Having
cell phones does have its good uses. For example in the early years of mobile phones, a man
answered to Martin Cooper, stating in his words, I first had a cell phone in 1994, when my
daughter started having epileptic fits, and I was out of the office and could not be reached
(Shiels 3). Cell phones is an excellent way to reach out to others in case of emergencies, even 1
in 10 children under ten years of age are given cell phones for safety (Children given mobile
phones 1). However, access to the internet has gotten easier it everybody is always online,
digital photos has become the main ideal way to update to social media, there are more apps in
the app stores to download, storage keeps increasing rapidly there are too many software to
maintain, one can now carry digital credit cards and use their phones to pay, and more
importantly smartphones are becoming more and more affordable so anyone can try out these
devices can grow dependence on it like crazy.
What if it becomes a distraction? It is true that cell phones are becoming a problem
regarding distraction, especially while driving. A study in New England Journal of Medicine
(NEJM) concluded that the risk of a collision when using a cell phone was four times higher
than the risk when a cell phone was not being used (L. Moore and G. Moore 31). But do not be
alarmed, because there is an easy solution to this for both the pedestrians and the driver. Since its
earliest implementation in 2002, Motorola came up with a hands-free system in motor vehicles
(Business Brief 1) to be used without losing concentration on the road. There is absolutely no

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excuse to not purchase a hand free device implementation of any kind today to use a cell phone
in a vehicle!
This research has covered the features of cell phones (list all). The problem is that we are
too dependent on them. (This is the conclusion in progress).