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From Bricks to Brains: The Evolution of the Cell Phone

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The editors at Computer Science Degree Hub decided to research the topic of:

From Bricks to Brains: The Evolution of the Cell Phone

For years, Nokia and Motorola ruled the cell phone industry. But that all changed with the development of the smartphone. With all of the mobile phone manufacturers still producing today, which are the most successful? Let's take a look at cell phone trends and sales throughout the years, from the very first Motorola in 1983 to the Apple iPhone 5S of 2013.

Price of first cell phone in 1983, the Motorola DynaTAC 8000X
Year first-ever mobile phone call was made, by Motorola's Martin Cooper
1985: 340,213 U.S. mobile subscribers
Today: 300,520,098 U.S. mobile subscribers

Popular Models through the Years

Here is a look at key moments in the history of mobile phones along with some of the most popular models for each year.
Motorola DynaTAC 8000X 1989
Motorola MicroTAC 9800X
Nokia 101
Motorola International 3200

Nokia decides to focus solely on making mobile phones.


Apple releases its first personal digital assistant device.

Nokia 1610
Motorola D160

Samsung enters the mobile phone business.

Nokia 5110

Nokia becomes the leading global mobile phone manufacturer.

Nokia 8210, 7110, 5210, 3210
Nokia 3310

Samsung launches its first PDA phone.

Nokia 8310
Ericsson T68
Siemens S45
Nokia 6100, 6610, 6650, 3510, 7650
Siemens A50
Samsung SGH-T100

Nokia releases its first 3G phone, the 6650.

Nokia 1100, 3100, 3200, 6600
Samsung SGH-E700
BlackBerry Quark 6210, 7210
Motorola Razor V3
Nokia 6630, 7280
Nokia 6680
Motorola Razor Magenta

Samsung outshines Sony as consumers' preferred electronics manufacturer.

BlackBerry Pearl
LG Chocolate KG800
Samsung BlackJack
Apple iPhone
HTC Touch
LG Shine
Nokia 6500 Slide, 6500 Classic

The first iPhone is released, threatening Nokia's reign as most popular manufacturer.

Apple releases its first iPhone as well as iOS 1.1.1.

Apple iPhone 3G
LG Vu, Secret
Nokia N96, E63
BlackBerry Storm, Bold

Apple sells 1 million iPhone 3Gs in its opening weekend.

Apple launches the AppStore with iOS 2.0, introducing third-party applications.

Samsung's chairman Lee Kun-hee steps down after being convicted of tax evasion. In 2010, he is later re-appointed to the position.

Apple 3GS
Motorola Droid
BlackBerry Curve
Sidekick LX 2009
HTC Magic

Nokia experiences its first quarterly loss in more than a decade, just after the Android operating system becomes popular with HTC phones.

Apple sells 1 million 3GSs iPhones in its opening weekend.

Apple iPhone 4
Samsung Galaxy
Nokia N8

Nokia hires Microsoft executive Stephen Elop as its first non-Finnish executive. 1,800 jobs are cut from the company.

Apple iPhone 4S
Samsung Galaxy S II
Motorola Droid 3

Samsung launches a series of TV ads mocking Apple devotees.

Nokia joins with Microsoft, announcing that Nokia smartphones will now sport the Microsoft operating system. 14,000 jobs are cut worldwide.

Steve Jobs resigns as Apple's CEO and is replaced by Tim Cook. Later in the year, Jobs dies of cancer.

Apple iPhone 5
Samsung Galaxy S III
Nokia Lumia 920
LG Nexus 4

Apple introduces the iPhone 5. Five million units are sold in the first weekend.

Samsung overtakes Nokia as the world's leading manufacturer of mobile phones.

Apple iPhone 5S
Samsung Galaxy S4
BlackBerry Z10
Nokia Lumia 520

Nokia agrees to sell its entire mobile phone business to Microsoft for $7.18 billion.

Apple introduces the iPhone 5S (complete with fingerprint authentication technology) and 5C (the company's first so-called "budget device"). A combined 9 million handsets are sold on the first weekend after the phones' launch.

Apple revamps its operating system with the release of iOS7.

Most Profitable Manufacturers

Which manufacturers have sold the most phones and been the most profitable throughout the years?
The years in which Nokia was the top-selling manufacturer
The two years in which Samsung surpassed Nokia as top-selling manufacturer
2012 global sales by manufacturer
Samsung 396.5 million units
Nokia 335.6 million units
Apple 135.8 million units
LG 55.9 million units