The Current

Cellphone inventor Martin Cooper: Smartphones aren't optimal

When Martin Cooper made the first ever call on a mobile phone, he had no idea he was spearheading a cellular revolution. The ripple effects of his invention exceeded his expectations, surprising everyone with the sweeping changes its brought to our lives.
The father of the cellphone, Martin Cooper says cellphones are still very primitive because we are slaves to them, rather than them being slaves to us. (Yorick Jansens/AFP/Getty Images)

Walking down the street, sixth avenue in New York... I said, 'This is Marty Cooper. I'm calling you on a cellphone.'- Martin Cooper making the first ever call on a cellphone 

The race to space may have captured headlines in the 50's and 60's, but by the 70's a new contest had begun -- the one to dominate the world of personal communications. And by the 80's, commercials for "cellular radio telephones" hit the airwaves.

Ads for cellular phones successfully predicting a communication revolution. But even tech pioneers couldn't have predicted the cellphone's far-reaching effects on our lives. 

Today, as part of our project Ripple Effect, we explore the unintended consequences of the cellphone and ask where it's successor the smartphone is headed next.

Martin Cooper is a man known as the "father of the cellphone," He and his team at Motorola are credited with making the first portable cellphone. Martin Cooper was in Del Mar, California.

The Cellphone: 40 years of personal wireless communication

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      Did the cellphone create a ripple effect in your life?  How would you like smartphones to evolve?

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      This segment was produced by The Current's Sarah Grant.