Martin Cooper changed the world when he made the first cellphone call 40 years ago.
The former Motorola vice president and division manager made the call on the company's DynaTAC phone while standing in front of the New York Hilton on Sixth Avenue. His first call: to the head of research at Bell Labs, which had also been racing to build the first cellphone.
Cooper's call did more than untether people from their traditional fixed phone lines; it opened the door to true mobility and continues to affect virtually every aspect of our lives.
On April 3, 1973 Cooper and Mitchell demonstrated two working phones to the media and to passers-by prior to walking into a scheduled press conference at the New York Hilton in midtown Manhattan. Standing on Sixth avenue near the Hilton, Cooper made the first handheld cellular phone call in public from the prototype DynaTAC. The call connected him to a base station Motorola had installed on the roof of the Burlingame House (now the Alliance Capital Building) and into the AT&T land-line telephone system. Reporters and onlookers watched as Cooper dialed the number of his chief competitor Dr. Joel S. Engel, who was head of Bell Labs. "Joel, this is Marty. I'm calling you from a cell phone, a real handheld portable cell phone."
It would be another ten years before the first cellular phone was available to the public, reasonably priced at just over $3000.