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A 30 Year History of the Mobile Phone

Posted by Caroline Le Brun | March 13, 2012 4:59 PM

Price ($) VS. Processing Speed (MHz)


The first commercialized mobile phone was introduced to the world 30 years ago in 1982. The Nokia Mobira Senator came in a suitcase, weighed a whopping 21 pounds, and had a hefty price tag, at nearly 6,000 bucks. 

Price Levels

It took approximately 17 years for the average mobile phone to reach a price level just under $1,000 (in 2009). Global adoption has been skyrocketing ever since with a world-wide adoption of more than 80% in 2012. Economies of scale, along with a highly competive market place helped fuel high levels of innovation in this industry.

(Click to Enlarge)

Mobile Phone Infographic


Introduction of the computer chip

With the introduction of the computer chip in 2000, phones like the Kyocera QCP6035 were able to capture web data, access stock ticker information, see movie times, flight information, and could send emails. The computing speed was a measly 16 MHz operating a black and white interface and flip down receiver.

Within only a couple of years, the computing power of common mobile phone was outpacing some of NASA’s orginal supercomputers. As observed in the chart above, the computing power inside a mobile phone has been increasing exponentially (following Moore’s Law) while the price levels remain stable.  

“Scientific” Data Collection method:

All data was collected from a series of Google searches to determine popular phones of that year and to note the introduction of new features in that year. The data was exported into excel and graphed. 

Learn more about telecom expense management

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Topics: Mobile Devices, Price

Written by Caroline Le Brun

Having worked in marketing for 16 years, Caroline has significantly improved Cimpl’s online presence and industry recognition as Marketing Director. Working closely with analysts and highly focused on keeping up with IT industry trends, she is most knowledgeable in the realm of technology and IT expense management best practices. As a passionate, driven marketer, she works side by side with her marketing team to bring Cimpl beyond its greatest achievements.

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