The Evolution Of The Telephone

Telephones have revolutionised communications over the last century, as well as facilitating massive social change and making the world a smaller, more closely-knit community. Although the earliest telephones developed by Alexander Graham Bell and his contemporaries in the 1870s are very different from the devices we use today.

Evolution Of The Telephone

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From landlines to mobiles and smartphones, the evolution of the telephone has been significant and at times rapid. This has allowed them to become so ubiquitous that they now outnumber human beings.

Early attempts

Although first patented in the US in 1876 by Bell, the use of electronic signals to communicate over long distances had been developing since the 1830s, with telegraph being the predecessor to the full audio experience.

Within 30 years there were millions of landline phones in operation in America alone, although each relied on a switchboard exchange system to connect users to one another. It was not until the 1930s that phones started to feature built-in ringing devices to alert users to inbound calls and the popularity of the rotary phone design developed in these early days has managed to endure, even with the move to touch tone technology in the 1960s and 70s.

Retro phones which throw back to this era are still widely available, even if the underlying technology has been improved immeasurably thanks to the arrival of digital technology.

Portable ambitions

Wireless communications defined the 20th century, although the mobile phone did not really arrive in a form we would recognise until the 1970s, at which points the handsets were prohibitively expensive and lumbered with very poor battery life. Motorola made its mark with the first mobile phone, although it was not until the 1990s, with the launch of 2G network connectivity and the dawn of SMS texts that things became affordable and convenient enough for mass uptake.

The evolution of mobile phones continued rapidly and by the turn of the new millennium network providers were beginning to work on high speed data connectivity for portable handsets. 3G’s arrival in 2001 paved the way for internet access on the move while also opening up the possibility for more data-intensive communications to be accessible from mobiles, including video calls.

Modern era

Although analogue landline phone services are still in use, digital solutions are growing to replace them. VoIP and video calls are important, while traditional telesales campaigns operated by firms like a valuable asset for any company looking to increase its sales and boost customer engagement.

The introduction of the Apple iPhone in 2007 marked a new era for the telephone. And while it may not have been the first smartphone by a long stretch, it managed to make this advanced type of handset more user friendly and fashionable than any rival device.

Smartphones have been instrumental not only in changing communications habits, but also in perpetuating the e-commerce revolution, enabling social networking sites to flourish and equipping business users and consumers with all-in-one solutions to help tackle everyday life effectively.

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