Saturday, December 02, 2006

Mobile phone

A mobile or cellular telephone is a long-range, portable electronic device for personal telecommunications over long distances.

Most current mobile phones connect to a cellular network of base stations (cell sites), which is in turn interconnected to the public switched telephone network (PSTN) (the exception are satellite phones). Fully automatic cellular networks were first introduced in the early to mid 1980s (the 1G generation). The first fully automatic cell phone system was the Nordic Mobile Telephone (NMT) system, introduced in 1981.

Prior mobile telephones (the so-called 0G generation), such as Mobile Telephone Service, date back to 1945. These were not categorized as cellular phones, since they did not support handover, i.e. automatic change of channel frequency in the middle of a call, when the user moved from one cell (base station coverage area) to another.

Until the mid to late 1980s, most mobile phones were sufficiently large that they were permanently installed in vehicles as car phones. With the advance of miniaturization, currently the vast majority of mobile phones are handheld. In addition to the standard voice function of a telephone, a mobile phone can support many additional services such as SMS for text messaging, email, packet switching for access to the Internet, and MMS for sending and receiving photos and video.

The world's largest mobile phone manufacturers include Audiovox, BenQ-Siemens, High Tech Computer Corporation, Fujitsu, Kyocera, LG, Motorola, NEC, i-mate, Nokia, Panasonic (Matsushita Electric), Pantech Curitel, Philips, Sagem, Samsung, Sanyo, Sharp, Siemens SK Teletech, Sony Ericsson, T&A Alcatel, T-Mobile, and Toshiba.

The world's largest mobile phone operators (based on customer totals) include China Mobile, Vodafone, and China Unicom.

There are also specialist communication systems related to, but distinct from mobile phones, such as Professional Mobile Radio. Mobile phones are also distinct from cordless telephones, which generally operate only within a limited range of a specific base station. Technically, the term mobile phone includes such devices as satellite phones and pre-cellular mobile phones such as those operating via MTS which do not have a cellular network, whereas the related term cell(ular) phone does not. In practice, the two terms are used nearly interchangeably, with the preferred term varying by location. There are lots of different networks on mobile phones. Some are pay as you go, where you can buy top ups and add them to your phone, so there is no monthly bill, and some are pay monthly. This means you get a bill every month for how much calls and texts you make.

Martin Cooper is widely considered to be the inventor of the cell phone. Using a modern, if somewhat heavy portable handset, Cooper made the first call on a cell phone in 1973. At the time he made his call, Cooper was working as Motorola's General Manager of its Communications Division. Motorola had developed the idea of using cellular communications on a portable platform (i.e., a handset)in a non-vehicle setting.

Mock-up of the "portable phone of the future," from a mid-60s Bell System advertisement, shows a device not too different from today's mobile telephones.Radiophones have a long and varied history that stretches back to the 1950s, with hand-held cellular radio devices being available since 1983. Due to their low establishment costs and rapid deployment, mobile phone networks have since spread rapidly throughout the world, outstripping the growth of fixed telephony.

Luxembourg has the highest mobile phone penetration rate in the world, at 164% in December 2005. The total number of mobile phone subscribers in the world was estimated at 2.14 billion in 2005. Around 80% of world's population have mobile phone coverage as of 2006. This figure is expected to increase to 90% by the year 2010.

At present, Africa has the largest growth rate of cellular subscribers in the world. African markets are expanding nearly twice as fast as Asian markets. The availability of Prepaid or pay as you go services, where the subscriber does not have to commit to a long term contract, has helped fuel this growth on a monumental scale, not only in Africa but on other continents as well.

All European nations and most Asian and African nations have adopted GSM. In other countries, such as the United States, Australia, Japan, and South Korea, legislation does not require any particular standard, and GSM coexists with other standards, such as CDMA and iDEN.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

The History of the Telephone

In the 1870s, two inventors Elisha Gray and Alexander Graham Bell both independently designed devices that could transmit speech electrically (the telephone). Both men rushed their respective designs to the patent office within hours of each other, Alexander Graham Bell patented his telephone first. Elisha Gray and Alexander Graham Bell entered into a famous legal battle over the invention of the telephone, which Bell won.

The telegraph and telephone are both wire-based electrical systems, and Alexander Graham Bell's success with the telephone came as a direct result of his attempts to improve the telegraph.

When Bell began experimenting with electrical signals, the telegraph had been an established means of communication for some 30 years. Although a highly successful system, the telegraph, with its dot-and-dash Morse code, was basically limited to receiving and sending one message at a time. Bell's extensive knowledge of the nature of sound and his understanding of music enabled him to conjecture the possibility of transmitting multiple messages over the same wire at the same time. Although the idea of a multiple telegraph had been in existence for some time, Bell offered his own musical or harmonic approach as a possible practical solution. His "harmonic telegraph" was based on the principle that several notes could be sent simultaneously along the same wire if the notes or signals differed in pitch.

By October 1874, Bell's research had progressed to the extent that he could inform his future father-in-law, Boston attorney Gardiner Greene Hubbard, about the possibility of a multiple telegraph. Hubbard, who resented the absolute control then exerted by the Western Union Telegraph Company, instantly saw the potential for breaking such a monopoly and gave Bell the financial backing he needed. Bell proceeded with his work on the multiple telegraph, but he did not tell Hubbard that he and Thomas Watson, a young electrician whose services he had enlisted, were also exploring an idea that had occurred to him that summer - that of developing a device that would transmit speech electrically.

Model of Alexander Graham Bell's Telephone

This model of Bell's first telephone (right) is a duplicate of the instrument through which speech sounds were first transmitted electrically (1875).

While Alexander Graham Bell and Thomas Watson worked on the harmonic telegraph at the insistent urging of Hubbard and other backers, Bell nonetheless met in March 1875 with Joseph Henry, the respected director of the Smithsonian Institution, who listened to Bell's ideas for a telephone and offered encouraging words. Spurred on by Henry's positive opinion, Bell and Watson continued their work. By June 1875 the goal of creating a device that would transmit speech electrically was about to be realized. They had proven that different tones would vary the strength of an electric current in a wire. To achieve success they therefore needed only to build a working transmitter with a membrane capable of varying electronic currents and a receiver that would reproduce these variations in audible frequencies.

On June 2, 1875, Alexander Graham Bell while experimenting with his technique called "harmonic telegraph" discovered he could hear sound over a wire. The sound was that of a twanging clock spring.

Bell's greatest success was achieved on March 10, 1876, marked not only the birth of the telephone but the death of the multiple telegraph as well. The communications potential contained in his demonstration of being able to "talk with electricity" far outweighed anything that simply increasing the capability of a dot-and-dash system could imply.

Alexander Graham Bell's notebook entry of 10 March 1876 describes his successful experiment with the telephone. Speaking through the instrument to his assistant, Thomas A. Watson, in the next room, Bell utters these famous first words, "Mr. Watson -- come here -- I want to see you."

Born on March 3, 1847, in Edinburgh, Scotland, Alexander Graham Bell was the son and grandson of authorities in elocution and the correction of speech. Educated to pursue a career in the same specialty, his knowledge of the nature of sound led him not only to teach the deaf, but also to invent the telephone.

Bell's unceasing scientific curiosity led to invention of the photophone, to significant commercial improvements in Thomas Edison's phonograph, and to development of his own flying machine just six years after the Wright Brothers launched their plane at Kitty Hawk. As President James Garfield lay dying of an assassin's bullet in 1881, Bell hurriedly invented a metal detector in an unsuccessful attempt to locate the fatal slug.

Alexander Graham Bell - Biography
In 1876, at the age of 29, Alexander Graham Bell invented his telephone. Bell might easily have been content with the success of his invention. His many laboratory notebooks demonstrate, however, that he was driven by a genuine and rare intellectual curiosity that kept him regularly searching, striving, and wanting always to learn and to create.