(Pocket-lint) - Connectivity has come along was since the 1970s when people started getting excited about computers. Back then, they didn't have Wi-Fi and 3G and 4G were unheard of.
The first email was sent in 1971 and after 18 years, there were a million email addresses set up worldwide. In those couple of decades, while people were getting to grips with the "@" symbol, many exciting things were happening.
Here we look at the evolution of connecting on the go, from the first mobile phone, introduced by Motorola in 1983, to the launch of the first smartwatch that makes everything from 10 years ago seem like something from the Stone Age.
Phones go mobile
The first mobile phone call in the UK was made in 1985 by Ernest Harrison, but it wasn't until the 1990s where things really started heating up in the mobile phone world.
Technology improved in this decade and saw the introduction of second generation networks, known as 2G. The first SMS message was sent in December 1992 saying "Happy Christmas" and in 1997, the 802.11 standard of Wi-Fi arrived, accellerating the spread of wireless connectivity.
Three launched 3G in the UK on 03 March 2003, but there wasn't an immediate benefit to jumping on faster mobile networks, because devices and services hadn't evolved.
It wasn't until 2012 that 4G services in the UK were established.
Dial-up internet access was first available in the UK in 1992, but in 2000, broadband launched in the UK. It wasn't as we know it now. The maximum speeds offered were 512Kb per second, which is pretty slow compared to EE's 38Mb per second on its fibre broadband packages these days.
Phones get more connected
As the years went on, mobile phones moved forward significantly from the first commercially available mobile phone, which had the catchy name of DynaTAC 8000x. That was immortalised by Gordon Gecko in Wall Street, and became symbolic of the yuppy years of the 1980s.
Nokia had various models, starting with the Nokia Mobira Talkman that pretty much came with a miniature suitcase in order for it to function, to the Nokia 1011 in 1992 that was famous for being the first mass-produced GSM (Global System for Mobile Communications) phone. Nokia was greatly involved with establishing GSM.
Calls and messages were all very well, but the advent of GPRS (General Packet Radio Service), meant that mobile phones could do so much more. They could send an receive data and connectivity on the move took a huge step forward.
Not many mobile phones had a display of any great size, but their ascention was tracked by developments in PDAs (personal digital assistant). From Psion, through Palm Pilots and Apple Newton, to the Nokia N9000 Communicator, the rise of the PDA was critical in enhancing what we could do on a mobile device and where we would go in the future.
Real mobile connectivity in 2003 meant using something like the Sony Ericsson T68i mobile phone and connecting it via Bluetooth to the Compaq iPaq, a Microsoft Pocket PC. This was one of our first experiences of connecting on the go with an experience close to modern smartphones. It was slow, there was little to do, but you could browse the internet on the train.
BlackBerry was the first to offer email on the move in 2003 and mobile phones in general started to become more feature-rich, and we don't mean just offering games like Snake. Feature phones were eclipsed by increasingly sopisticated smartphones. The Nokia N95 appeared in 2007, a great device that pretty much marked the dawn of a new era. It was the same year as the iPhone launched, without 3G. The iPhone was instrumental in increasing the importance of mobile apps and services.
Data cards to Mobile Wi-Fi
Mobile phones weren't the only things that were getting smarter though. Desktop computers became laptops, which then went from having PCMCIA slots using data cards for mobile access to the internet, to having 3G USB dongles and then mobile Wi-Fi emerged, commonly referred to as MiFi.
The first MiFi arrived in 2009, acting as a mobile Wi-Fi hotspot that allowed you to connect multiple devices to it in order for them to access the internet - a dedicated hotspot that was separate from your phone. These devices are still used today of course, but they are now 4G LTE capable, meaning everything is much, much faster.
MiFis are great devices for connecting on the go, although tethering to your laptop or tablet from your phone is just as easy these days. It drains your battery like it's going out of fashion when using your smartphone as a mobile Wi-Fi hotspot, but it was something that was completely alien not too many years ago.
Many are still happy to separate devices and connections, with Wi-Fi only devices still being popular, but with data costs dropping and the connected premium dissolving, more devices are now connected all the time.
Today's connected world
The smartphone is just the beginning when it comes to connecting on the go. We now have tablets with their own 4G connections so you can read the news on the way to work, connected devices like the Kindle so you can buy a book anytime, anywhere, and a growing selection of connected vehicles.
Yes, your car might be the next connected gadget you buy, using 4G data to get real time traffic or stream music services. From your car's connection, you can connect your Wi-Fi only tablet, perhaps to watch Netflix on the move. It doesn't stop there though. We're getting connected on railways, The Underground, we're getting connected on trans-Atlantic flights, to ensure that our thirst for working, sharing, chatting, streaming and shopping is always sated.
Connecting on the go is far simpler, so much so that it is taken for granted. The abundance of information you can access at any point has changed how we order taxis, how we shop for food and how we control our heating. It's a world of instant entertainment, impulse shopping on the move, and how we follow the lives of friends and families. A good strong connection is now seen as a necessity, a core element of modern life. And when it isn't there, people aren't happy.
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