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A mobile phone (cellphone, etc.)[a] is a portable telephone that can make and receive calls over a radio frequency link while the user is moving within a telephone service area, as opposed to a fixed-location phone (landline phone). The radio frequency link establishes a connection to the switching systems of a mobile phone operator, which provides access to the public switched telephone network (PSTN). Modern mobile telephone services use a cellular network architecture and therefore mobile telephones are called cellphones (or "cell phones") in North America. In addition to telephony, digital mobile phones support a variety of other services, such as text messaging, multimedia messagIng, email, Internet access (via LTE, 5G NR or Wi-Fi), short-range wireless communications (infrared, Bluetooth), satellite access (navigation, messaging connectivity), business applications, video games and digital photography. Mobile phones offering only basic capabilities are known as feature phones; mobile phones which offer greatly advanced computing capabilities are referred to as smartphones.[1]


The first handheld mobile phone was demonstrated by Martin Cooper of Motorola in New York City in 1973, using a handset weighing c. 2 kilograms (4.4 lbs).[2] In 1979, Nippon Telegraph and Telephone (NTT) launched the world's first cellular network in Japan.[3] In 1983, the DynaTAC 8000x was the first commercially available handheld mobile phone. From 1983 to 2014, worldwide mobile phone subscriptions grew to over seven billion; enough to provide one for every person on Earth.[4] In the first quarter of 2016, the top smartphone developers worldwide were Samsung, Apple and Huawei; smartphone sales represented 78 percent of total mobile phone sales.[5] For feature phones (slang: "dumbphones") as of 2016[update], the top-selling brands were Samsung, Nokia and Alcatel.[6]

Mobile phones are considered an important human invention as it has been one of the most widely used and sold pieces of consumer technology.[7] The growth in popularity has been rapid in some places, for example in the UK the total number of mobile phones overtook the number of houses in 1999.[8] Today mobile phones are globally ubiquitous,[9] and in almost half the world's countries, over 90% of the population own at least one.[10]

A handheld mobile radio telephone service was envisioned in the early stages of radio engineering. In 1917, Finnish inventor Eric Tigerstedt filed a patent for a "pocket-size folding telephone with a very thin carbon microphone". Early predecessors of cellular phones included analog radio communications from ships and trains. The race to create truly portable telephone devices began after World War II, with developments taking place in many countries. The advances in mobile telephony have been traced in successive "generations", starting with the early zeroth-generation (0G) services, such as Bell System's Mobile Telephone Service and its successor, the Improved Mobile Telephone Service. These 0G systems were not cellular, supported few simultaneous calls, and were very expensive.

The first handheld cellular mobile phone was demonstrated by John F. Mitchell[11][12] and Martin Cooper of Motorola in 1973, using a handset weighing 2 kilograms (4.4 lb).[2] The first commercial automated cellular network (1G) analog was launched in Japan by Nippon Telegraph and Telephone in 1979. This was followed in 1981 by the simultaneous launch of the Nordic Mobile Telephone (NMT) system in Denmark, Finland, Norway, and Sweden.[13] Several other countries then followed in the early to mid-1980s. These first-generation (1G) systems could support far more simultaneous calls but still used analog cellular technology. In 1983, the DynaTAC 8000x was the first commercially available handheld mobile phone.

In 1991, the second-generation (2G) digital cellular technology was launched in Finland by Radiolinja on the GSM standard. This sparked competition in the sector as the new operators challenged the incumbent 1G network operators. The GSM standard is a European initiative expressed at the CEPT ("Conférence Européenne des Postes et Telecommunications", European Postal and Telecommunications conference). The Franco-German R&D cooperation demonstrated the technical feasibility, and in 1987 a Memorandum of Understanding was signed between 13 European countries who agreed to launch a commercial service by 1991. The first version of the GSM (=2G) standard had 6,000 pages. The IEEE and RSE awarded to Thomas Haug and Philippe Dupuis the 2018 James Clerk Maxwell medal for their contributions to the first digital mobile telephone standard.[14] In 2018, the GSM was used by over 5 billion people in over 220 countries. The GSM (2G) has evolved into 3G, 4G and 5G. The standardisation body for GSM started at the CEPT Working Group GSM (Group Special Mobile) in 1982 under the umbrella of CEPT. In 1988, ETSI was established and all CEPT standardization activities were transferred to ETSI. Working Group GSM became Technical Committee GSM. In 1991, it became Technical Committee SMG (Special Mobile Group) when ETSI tasked the committee with UMTS (3G).

Smartphones have a number of distinguishing features. The International Telecommunication Union measures those with Internet connection, which it calls Active Mobile-Broadband subscriptions (which includes tablets, etc.). In the developed world, smartphones have now overtaken the usage of earlier mobile systems. However, in the developing world, they account for around 50% of mobile telephony.

Feature phone is a term typically used as a retronym to describe mobile phones which are limited in capabilities in contrast to a modern smartphone. Feature phones typically provide voice calling and text messaging functionality, in addition to basic multimedia and Internet capabilities, and other services offered by the user's wireless service provider. A feature phone has additional functions over and above a basic mobile phone, which is only capable of voice calling and text messaging.[18][19] Feature phones and basic mobile phones tend to use a proprietary, custom-designed software and user interface. By contrast, smartphones generally use a mobile operating system that often shares common traits across devices.

The critical advantage that modern cellular networks have over predecessor systems is the concept of frequency reuse allowing many simultaneous telephone conversations in a given service area. This allows efficient use of the limited radio spectrum allocated to mobile services, and lets thousands of subscribers converse at the same time within a given geographic area.

A cellular network mobile phone system gets its name from dividing the service area into many small cells, each with a base station with (for example) a useful range on the order of a kilometre (mile). These systems have dozens or hundreds of possible channels allocated to them. When a subscriber is using a given channel for a telephone connection, that frequency is unavailable for other customers in the local cell and in the adjacent cells. However, cells further away can re-use that channel without interference as the subscriber's handset is too far away to be detected. The transmitter power of each base station is coordinated to efficiently service its own cell, but not to interfere with the cells further away.

Automation embedded in the customer's handset and in the base stations control all phases of the call, from detecting the presence of a handset in a service area, temporary assignment of a channel to a handset making a call, interface with the land-line side of the network to connect to other subscribers, and collection of billing information for the service. The automation systems can control the "hand off" of a customer handset moving between one cell and another so that a call in progress continues without interruption, changing channels if required. In the earliest mobile phone systems by contrast, all control was done manually; the customer would search for an unoccupied channel and speak to a mobile operator to request connection of a call to a landline number or another mobile. At the termination of the call the mobile operator would manually record the billing information.

Mobile phones communicate with cell towers that are placed to give coverage across a telephone service area, which is divided up into 'cells'. Each cell uses a different set of frequencies from neighboring cells, and will typically be covered by three towers placed at different locations. The cell towers are usually interconnected to each other and the phone network and the internet by wired connections. Due to bandwidth limitations each cell will have a maximum number of cell phones it can handle at once. The cells are therefore sized depending on the expected usage density, and may be much smaller in cities. In that case much lower transmitter powers are used to avoid broadcasting beyond the cell.

Low-end mobile phones are often referred to as feature phones and offer basic telephony. Handsets with more advanced computing ability through the use of native software applications are known as smartphones.

One of the main characteristics of phones is the screen. Depending on the device's type and design, the screen fills most or nearly all of the space on a device's front surface. Many smartphone displays have an aspect ratio of 16:9, but taller aspect ratios became more common in 2017.

Screen sizes are often measured in diagonal inches or millimeters; feature phones generally have screen sizes below 90 millimetres (3.5 in). Phones with screens larger than 130 millimetres (5.2 in) are often called "phablets." Smartphones with screens over 115 millimetres (4.5 in) in size are commonly difficult to use with only a single hand, since most thumbs cannot reach the entire screen surface; they may need to be shifted around in the hand, held in one hand and manipulated by the other, or used in place with both hands. Due to design advances, some modern smartphones with large screen sizes and "edge-to-edge" designs have compact builds that improve their ergonomics, while the shift to taller aspect ratios have resulted in phones that have larger screen sizes whilst maintaining the ergonomics associated with smaller 16:9 displays.[21][22][23] 041b061a72


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