Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Peeve: Cell Phones

Let's talk right.

Although not a commercial term, like Band-Aid, or Kleenex, "cell phone" has morphed into a generic term for all forms of mobile, personal, communications devices.

This is inaccurate.
So step right up chimps and get the scoop.

Actual cell phones, using analogue cellular network technology, AMPS (look it up), appeared in the late 1970s.  These are simple analogue devices using basic radio technology.  This system did little more than give walkie-talkies a phone number, and a way to work through "cells" of radio transceiver coverage, so they could move around.

The digital mobile systems we enjoy today have their roots in the late 1990s, but have been through several technical generations.  In general, they use lower power, but more numerous transceivers, and digital switching, rather than the cell technology.  These digital systems were originally referred to as PCS (look it up).

The last cellular system in North America went dark in 2008.  Seriously.