Pop Culture

The man who made the first cell phone call 50 years ago talks about the milestone

The first cell phone call was made in 1973, and now we walk around with tiny computers in our hands.

cell phone; Motorola; cell phone anniversary; Marty Cooper; YouTube

Fifty years after the first cell phone call, the engineer who made it looks back at the milestone.

It's hard to imagine life without a cell phone. Ever since they became small enough to fit into our pockets and hold all of the world's information on a tiny glowing screen, we've kept them glued to us. Not literally, but they may as well be glued to us since they're usually in our hands or within reach at any given moment. Our whole worlds are on our phones—baby pictures, saved voicemails, new ideas, calendars, maps and even our blood type.

We have more information held on our phones than we might have held in a safe, and yet, the cell phone hasn't been around for a full lifetime yet. In fact, former Motorola engineer Marty Cooper recently sat down with the "Today" show to mark the 50th anniversary of the very first cell phone call.

For the milestone occasion, Cooper took "Today" to the spot where he made the first cell phone call on a nearly unrecognizable mobile device. It's certainly a far stretch from what we would recognize as a cell phone now, but the brick-like device is where it all began.

Cooper tells host Joe Fryer that the old phone weighed 2.5 pounds. Who needed dumbbells back then when you could just make a few phone calls on your way home from work? If you're curious about who was the lucky recipient of the very first muscle-building phone call, it wasn't the obvious answer. Cooper called Motorola's rival at the time, Bell Labs.

"I'm calling you on a cell phone. A real cell phone. A handheld personal, portable cell phone," Cooper said, recalling the words he said to his competition.

It took 10 more years for the phone to hit the market and it came at a hefty retail price, even by today's standards. The brick of a phone was selling for around $4,000, so it wasn't something average folks were buying. You were much more likely to see the luxury item on the big screen than in line at the grocery store. The evolution of the phone is truly fascinating.

Watch Cooper talk about the phone below:

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