From first call to changing commerce in 40 years

40 years ago the first cell phone call was placed.

It may seem hard to believe, but 40 years ago today, the first cell phone call was officially made in midtown Manhattan. Motorola engineer Marty Cooper used the 2.5 pound brick of a phone - think any late 1980s early 90s cell phone from the movies -  to call the head of rival research department Bell Labs' Joel Engel. The conversation was short.

"Joel, this is Marty. I'm calling you from a cell phone, a real handheld portable cell phone."

Cooper told that to The Verge last year in a lengthy interview about the cell phone, how the technology started, where it is and where it can go.

When you look at the last four decades, there have been several changes to the technology that have taken it in completely different directions. These include things like the the addition of the text message in the 1990s of the introduction of the smartphone in the mid 2000s. Then Apple changed the came in 2007 with the introduction of the iPhone and everything we thought we could do with the cell phone changed.

Nearly every market has been impacted by this change. The payment industry, for instance, is slowly being turned on its head because of mobile commerce. A recent Associated Press article interviewed several merchants in New York City and they all said the same thing - the cash register is dying because of the smartphone.

"The traditional cash register is heading toward obsolescence," Danielle Vitale, the chief operating officer of Barneys New York, told the news source.

What started as a simple phone call 40 years ago is now a device that is changing the world. Retailers need to be aware of this change or risk falling behind the competition.

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