This is Dr. Martin Cooper holding a Motorola DynaTAC 8000X. DynaTAC stands for Dynamic Adaptive Total Area Coverage, and it was the first mobile phone to become commercially available, being released in 1983-84. Of course, we might then wonder what phone was used in the phone call he made 10 years before this. It is generally believed to be a prototype of the DynaTAC.

The DynaTAC had only one function—to call. Operating it was relatively simple, but it had a bulky design and a battery life of only eight hours. It was definitely something you could not fit into your pocket.





CRAZY! According to one article I read, it cost about $4,000 to get one! Talk about overpriced goods!


But yes, this was the first mobile phone to become commercially available. It was a huge leap in technology because prior to the DynaTEC, any phone that was considered ‘portable’ or ‘mobile’ just looked like large boxes with a cord connecting to the headset, much like the radio packs used in the military. Culturally, as seen in advertisements from that period, it gave people a sense of freedom as they could now get things done outside of the office, home, or even the car.


Here are some of the DynaTEC’s competitors released soon after and throughout the 1980’s:


(L-R): Motorola DynaTEC 8000S; Mitsubishi Roamer; Technophone PC135


(L-R): NEC 9A; Motorola 8500X; Nokia Cityman 1320; Philips PRC30E; British Telecom Coral


(L-R): Motorola MicroTAC 9800X; British Telecom Ivory; NEC P3




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