It’s hard to believe that the cell phone, which has revolutionized daily life, is a relatively new phenomenon. It wasn’t that long ago, that a telephone was like a piece of “furniture” that connected to a wall in a home or place of business and was used for making a telephone call. Today a cell phone is a part of one’s wardrobe. It goes where we go, and it is used for so much more than making calls. In his book Cell Phone Culture, Dr. Gerard Goggin looks at the cultural implications of this transformative piece of technology. But to do so, he first discusses the history of the cell phone and how that history impacted society.
Police cars and emergency services used two-way radios in the 1930’s and 40’s but World War II gave rise to the Walkie-Talkie, which enabled the military to communicate in the field (Goggin 25). After the war, mobile communication in the form of two-way radios became much more prevalent. For instance they were used by taxi cabs and their dispatch services. “By 1952, 350,000 two-way private mobile radios were in use.” Meanwhile Bell Laboratories, had come up with a transmission signal system based on cells that were organized around a grid much like bees around a honeycomb making better use of the radio spectrum (Goggin 26). Then, in the 1970’s transistors replaced cumbersome vacuum tubes with made cell phone technology easier to use.
The movie Smokey and the Bandit released in 1977 brought Citizen Band Radios, “CBs,” to popularity and is an early example of the idea of driving while talking (Goggin 27). The pager is another example of mobile technology and rose to prominence in the 1980’s and early 1990’s. “Paging not only prefigured the potential mobility of cell phone dev...
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... how we behave as individuals and as a society. Does cell-phone enabled easy access to information on the internet hinder our quest for knowledge or enhance it? In our schools, does it make our students lazy or more efficient? Does our ability to bury ourselves in our phones enhance our communication with each other or isolate ourselves from each other? Whether we consider our “advances” in mobile technology as steps forward or steps back still remains to be seen.
Goggin, Gerard. Cell Phone Culture. New York: Routledge, 2006. Print.
Hearnden, Stephen. "The History of Mobile Communications." The Journal of the Institute of Telecommunications Professionals Volume 6 Part 4 (2012): 42-45. Print.
Lacoheé, H. Wakeford, N. and Pearson, I. "A Social History of the Mobile Telephone witha View of its Future." BT Technology Journal 21.3 (2003): 203-210. Print.
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