Father of Cell Phones Worried His Kids Are Becoming Too Much To Handle

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In an interview with CNN, Martin Cooper, the man who invented the cell phone for Motorola in 1973, says he knew one day the devices would be ubiquitous. But today's smartphones are more complicated than he ever imagined possible.


Talking to CNN, Cooper says "we knew that someday everybody would have a [cell] phone, but it was hard to imagine that that would happen in my lifetime." But it did happen in his lifetime, and now there are nearly five billion cell phones on the planet.

As the cell phone industry has grown, however, the devices themselves have grown along with it—they've steadily added more features and become more complicated as a result. And in Cooper's opinion, they can often be too complicated:

I must tell you as much as we were dreamers, we never imagined that all these things could be combined into one, and I'm really not so sure that it's a great thing. Phones have gotten so complicated, so hard to use, that you wonder if this is designed for real people or for engineers.

I think what's really going to happen is we're going to have a lot of different kinds of phones when our industry grows up — some that are just plain, simple telephones. In fact, my wife and I started a company, and she designed the Jitterbug, which is just a simple telephone.

Of course, that doesn't mean Cooper doesn't stay up to date with the latest and greatest of the devices he pioneered—he had an iPhone, but gave it to his grandson, and now uses a Motorola Droid. And in case you were wondering how he feels on that matter: "I think that the Android phones are catching up now, the latest version of the Android phones are every bit as good, if not better, than the iPhone." [CNN]



One guy did NOT invent the cell phone. It was a pile of engineers working over a period of years. Edison did NOT invent the light bulb. A bunch of engineers working for him did. Perpetuating the myth of one crackpot inventing major technology merely feeds the fantasies of crackpots everywhere who think they are going to develop the "100 mpg carbureator" or the some other major technological miracle. Crackpots should stick to can openers and other minor household appliances.