When the world’s first cellular phone call was made in 1973, Martin Cooper, the senior engineer at Motorola who made this all possible, was likely delighted the mobile device actually worked. At that time in history, the cellphone weighed a whopping 1.1 kilograms and charging it for roughly 10 hours gave you 30 minutes of talk time.
Needless to say, when it comes to these nifty hand-held devices we call smartphones, times have definitely changed. While the phone Cooper used was deemed a success because it was able to make a live call, today we take that ability for granted.
In fact, the smartphones of today contain so many trailblazing tech features that we’re starting to redefine what we expect regarding future capabilities. Here are three examples:
This experience may sound familiar: If you’ve ever had to place your smartphone into a bag of rice to dry it out after it took a tumble into water, you frantically hoped it would come back to life operating like normal. Sometimes, however, that wasn’t always the case. But you were probably delighted when you first learned different companies were attempting to devise water-resistant smartphones.
While the first water-resistant phone was released in 2005 when Casio launched its Canu 502S/GZ’One — complete with its rugged look and bulky protective covering — recent models like the iPhone 7 manage to combine water resistance with a light, sleek look. The Apple iPhone 7 is water-resistant and is certified with an IP67 rating, meaning it can withstand being submerged in about three feet of static water for up to 30 minutes.
One side note: If you’re concerned about the iPhone 7’s price and believe it’s too pricey for your current budget, T-Mobile offers an affordable monthly plan that lets you bring home the device for roughly $26 per month.
Despite your smartphone’s ability to take amazing photos and videos, make crystal clear calls, access the internet and more, one drop onto the ground could easily shatter its screen. Some may argue the fragile screen of today’s smartphones has long been its Achilles heel, a super weak point in an otherwise technologically-advanced device.
While Motorola was the first company to manufacture these devices with a shatterproof display — the Motorola X Force featured five layers of materials designed to absorb shock — this technology has advanced even further. As CNN notes, in an effort to make our smartphones withstand falls, scientists at Corning have created a new shatter-resistant glass solution called the Gorilla Glass 5.
Eventually, researchers were able to conclude that the Gorilla Glass 5’s glass protection can withstand face-down drops from someone’s waist and shoulder height roughly 80 percent of the time. Meantime, scratch tests that involved subjecting the glass screen over and over again to sharp objects like coins and keys also helped the Gorilla Glass 5, included on smartphones like the Samsung Galaxy S8, also withstand this brute force.
Smartphones have all but replaced the traditional camera as we know it. With their ability to take crystal clear photos and videos, today’s smartphones can do so much more than, well, make phone calls. In 2000, South Korean engineers developed the first cellphones to feature a camera. As Vision Online notes, the Samsung SCH-V200 was the first flip phone with a built-in camera; this model provided a .35 megapixel photo resolution and the ability to store 20 photos.
Today, the cameras featured on our smartphones rival DSLR cameras in terms of their ability to capture gorgeous images. As Consumer Reports notes, current smartphones feature, on average, 12 megapixel resolution sensors that aim to optimize users’ picture-taking experience, all while reducing blurriness and providing more high-definition clarity.
Some devices, like the LG G6, also feature two rear-mounted cameras, along with a “selfie camera” in front. One of the two rear-mounted cameras takes care of most standard photo taking, while the other is responsible for taking wide-angle photos as well as those requiring zoom functionality.