The mobile phone -- also known as the cellphone -- has infiltrated our daily lives, becoming the quintessential communication device. The mobile phone has developed over time, becoming more useful with every new capability. Most versions today can fit into your back pocket with ease. Much more than a phone, modern-day mobile phones help keep us organized and connected with the many features they offer.
The first mobile phone was utilized by the Swedish police department in 1946. The phone was connected to the police car, and it could only make six calls before running out of power, making it less than ideal. Mobile phone technology took a step forward in 1967. These early prototypes were able to place calls within a single cell area. In 1970, mobile phones could place calls while traveling from one cell area to another. A cell area is the range in which calls could be placed on a mobile phone. In 1983, Motorola released the first mobile phone -- known as the DynaTAC 8000X -- to the general public. The phone weighed 28 oz. and was in the shape of a brick.
The first generation of mobile phones was not as mobile as the phones of today. Known as "car phones," many early models of the mobile phone during the 1980s could only be installed inside your car. Other versions were located inside briefcases and contained large batteries used to charge the phone. During the early 1990s, the second generation of mobile phones were released, also known as the 2G phone. These phones could be carried around and operated on a digital circuit switched transmission, as compared to an analog network frequency. This increased the clarity of the phone calls being placed, and reduced the amount of calls that were dropped, when compared to first-generation mobile phones.
Third and fourth generation mobile phones continue to advance technologically. Mobile phones now boast a wide variety of features outside of simply placing phone calls. These features all depend on the type of phone you own, and the service contract you enter into. Modern day mobile phones can send text messages, surf the Internet, download music, movies, documents, files, and more. Some phones allow you to play video games, while others have built-in GPS devices, allowing you to locate nearby restaurants, attractions, hotels and other points of interest. Mobile phones can also record live video and take photos. In short, the mobile phone has transformed from a simple calling device into a full-blown entertainment and information system.
While mobile phones can be purchased without purchasing a service plan, only the service plan will allow you to benefit from the many features the mobile phone offers. These service plans -- or service contracts -- require the consumer to remain a member of the service provider for a set amount of time. A credit card and credit check are required to activate a service plan. Typically, those who cancel their service contract early will be faced with early termination fees. However, consumers may also purchase prepaid phones. Prepaid phones allow you to purchase minutes in advance. Once these minutes run out, the consumer must purchase more to keep using her phone. Prices can vary depending on the type of prepaid phone you purchase. For example, some prepaid phones contain unlimited text, talk and data. These phones generally cost more than those that only allow you to talk.
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