Mobile phone inventor made first call 50 years ago

a group of people standing next to each other

On April 3, 1973, Bob Barnett made a phone call that would change the world. The 46-year-old engineer, who worked for Motorola, placed a call from his mobile phone to his rival, Dr. Joel Engel of Bell Labs. It was the first ever call made from a mobile phone.

Barnett’s prototype phone, which he dubbed the “Handie-Talkie,” was a bulky contraption that weighed almost two pounds. It was far from the sleek, sophisticated devices that we use today. But despite its primitive design, the Handie-Talkie was a revolutionary invention.

For the first time, people could make phone calls from anywhere. No longer were they tethered to a landline. They could make calls from their cars, from the beach, from the top of a mountain. The mobile phone was truly a game-changer.

Fifty years later, mobile phones have undergone a major transformation. They’re smaller, sleeker, and more powerful than ever before. We use them for much more than making phone calls. They’re our cameras, our music players, our GPS devices. They’re practically an extension of our bodies.

It’s hard to imagine a world without mobile phones. They’ve become so integral to our lives. But as we rely on them more and more, it’s important to take a step back and remember how we got here.

On this 50th anniversary of the mobile phone, let’s take a look at how this humble invention has changed the world.

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