Remembering the first handheld cellular phone call placed 40 years ago today

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Forty years ago today, Motorola engineer Martin Cooper placed the first handheld mobile phone call using cellular hardware installed in downtown New York City. He called fellow engineer and rival Joel Engel of Bell Labs, who was also working on cellular network technology.

According to Cooper, Engel was speechless at first and then courteous to his colleague who beat him in the race for the first handheld mobile call. For trivia buffs, the first mobile phone  was the Motorola Dynatac and weighed 2.5 pounds. It was a brick measuring 9-inches long, 5 inches thick and 1.75-inches wide. It had a battery life of 30 minutes and took 10 hours to fully charge.

You can watch a 60 Minutes interview with Marty Cooper  below. In the 12-minute clip from 2010, Cooper talks about the first phone call and the first 37 years of cellular technology.

[Photo via NY Times Bits Blog and photographer Sandy Huffaker]

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