Few devices have seen such rapid and dramatic evolution in the past few decades as the humble mobile phone. From 1983, when the first commercial wireless call was made on Motorola DynaTAC, to today’s ultra-smart mini PCs, it’s a technology that’s defined a generation.
Take a look under the hood of a Motorola Independent – a classic “brick” phone launched in 1992 – and a modern Samsung Galaxy S5, and find out just how much things have changed inside and out.
At first glance, it’s hard to believe that these devices were made just 22 years apart. It’s not just the size and shape that’re different: almost everything about mobile phones has changed radically in the last two decades.
Beneath the housing, the differences go on and on – the S5 fits a much more sophisticated package onto a smaller, slimmer footprint.
Even in the nuts and bolts that hold the two devices together, a whole era of difference in electronics design can be seen.
Modern smartphones come equipped with sophisticated digital cameras for snapping and sharing on the go.
Nil points for the Independent here – phone-mounted cameras weren’t developed until the year 2000.
Mobile phones are all about connectivity – but the way they send and receive data has changed dramatically with the advent of the digital age. The Independent would have used the first automatic analogue system for cell phones – sometimes called "1G" – that was talk-only, with no text messaging capabilities. Meanwhile, the S5 is 4G-enabled, meaning it’s capable of fast data transfer for web browsing and streaming.
Balancing battery life with functionality has always been one of the biggest headaches for mobile phone designers. Even in modern phones, the battery is always one of the bulkiest and heaviest components.
Early phones were quite primitive in terms of hardware, but modern smartphones pack quad-core processors, GPUs, audio codecs – everything you’d expect in a desktop PC.