Going Cordless: The Evolution of Wireless Computing


Wireless computing has come a long way in just a few decades. From rotary phones to cordless phones to totally wireless devices that allow you to connect to the Internet from practically anywhere, corded technology is practically a thing of the past. Here’s a look at the evolution of wireless computing through the years.

Cordless Phones Start the Wireless Movement

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The first touch-tone phone was actually introduced back in 1941, but it wasn’t until the 1970s that the first cordless phone made its way to the market. The cordless phone was just the beginning of the wireless trend as consumers readily adopted the value of being able to walk and talk freely without being tied down by a cord. Even the corded models still widely used in offices today have far greater functionality than the first touch-tone phones.

Cell Phones Add Greater Range and Convenience

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The concept of cell phones has been around since 1947, but it wasn’t until a few decades later that functional devices were actually on the market. Once they were introduced, consumer use grew rapidly thanks to the ability to talk not just from your home, but on the road and in other locations. By 1992, there were more than 10 million cell phone users.

Smartphones Take Talking to the Next Level

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It wasn’t long until advances in technology made it possible to do more than just talk by building on the concept of the cell phone to incorporate more functionality. Enter smartphones, which were introduced in the late 1990s. These smarter cell phones were initially used primarily by corporations to allow employees to check emails and other information on the go. Today, smartphones comprise at least 50 percent of the mobile phones on the market.

Tablets Take Functional Computing on the Road


Even smartphones had limitations, which led to the rise of tablet computing. Most people think of tablets as a recent invention, but they’ve actually been around about as long as smartphones—since the late 1990s. The first tablet was introduced in 1988 and was based on pen-input, but this early effort never gained consumer attention.

Tablets are larger than smartphones and offer improved functionality, such as better web browsing and email. Easier-to-use keyboards combined with improved computing functions make tablets more usable for taking notes and working on presentations.

Wi-Fi Makes Constant Connectivity a Reality

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Wi-Fi makes it possible to connect to the web from anywhere and to create wireless networks for homes, schools, and businesses. Consumers buy Internet plans to implement Wi-Fi in a specific location or as a mobile hotspot through their devices. Apple was the first to incorporate Wi-Fi ports in devices in 1999 and by 2001, the technology gained consumer attention.

Advances in wireless technology don’t appear to be slowing anytime soon. Today’s consumers are hungry for the latest inventions and capabilities. It no longer takes a few decades for a new technology to gain widespread consumer adoption. Price is also less of an issue today, as consumers are less reluctant to shell out hundreds of dollars just to have the latest tech devices.

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