The Mobile Revolution


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This is the story of how the mobile phone entered our lives and changed everything. The move into the completely mobile and constantly connected world that we all take for granted happened at breakneck speed. But no one has explained how this transformation came about. This is the inside story of how mobile telephony was developed and how such a small device could change the world so radically.
Video Segments

Mobile Technology Overview (02:33)

Cellular telephones have helped remove dictators from power, transformed developing nations, and become a corporate battle ground—but they have also changed our social behavior. (Credits)

National Radio Quiet Zone (03:38)

Greenbank, West Virginia created a mobile free area to avoid interference with a radio telescope. Residents discuss advantages and disadvantages of living without cell phone service.

Cellular Phone Cultural Shifts (02:19)

The mobile phone provides communication freedom—but it also increased work expectations and affects social interactions. Young people average 7.5 hours of daily media use.

Mobile Telecommunication History (03:07)

Telephones were installed on trains in Germany in the 1920s and in cars in the U.S. in the 1940s; size and capacity were limiting factors. The development of cellular networks allowed users to share channels.

Historical Mobile Phone Moment (02:38)

AT&T worked on infrastructure and Motorola focused on developing handsets. Executive Martin Cooper made the first cellular telephone call in New York 1973—revolutionizing telecommunication.

European Cellular Breakthrough (02:56)

Mobile technology demand extended from car phones to personal use but regulations restricted development in the U.S. Scandinavian countries agreed on network standards and established the first functional roaming system.

Nokia Innovation (03:40)

The Scandinavian cellular system paved the way for the industry giant. Former CEO Jorma Ollila led the way from analog to digital mobile phones; the Nokia 2110 introduced text messaging in 1994.

Texting Revolution (02:09)

In mid 1990s, young people started using mobile phones as a private communication channel. Radiation risk and incorrect grammar use became a concern.

Camera and Video Functions (01:47)

Camera phones emerged in Japan in 2000, paving the way for social media. Citizens began recording news events such as the 2005 London Underground bombings.

Citizen Journalism (03:41)

Police and BBC employees recall the 2005 London Underground bombings. Camera phones allowed bystanders to contribute content to news reports. View user generated footage of the aftermath.

Smartphone Innovation (03:47)

Steve Jobs assembled workers for a classified project in the mid-2000s; learn about Apple's secrecy during the iPhone development. An employee describes how competition was used to produce multiple design options.

"Golden Path" (02:35)

Jobs unveiled the iPhone in 2007—but the model wasn't ready. He had to use a specific demonstration order to avoid a software crash; engineers in the audience drank to calm their nerves.

Disruptive Technology (02:00)

The iPhone introduced innovations that set industry standards, including touch screens. Many competitors dismissed it as a novelty but Jobs' design prevailed on the market.

Smartphone Dating Tools (03:44)

Localization and meetup apps such as Grinder allow users to find dates in real time and space. They reduced the stigma of online dating, but created a "shopping" mentality.

Privacy Concerns (03:11)

Mobile devices yield physical location data. The WiFi function can be illegally intercepted and mined, if left on in public. Businesses use WiFi sensors to collect statistical customer information.

Government Spying (02:31)

Hackers can target WiFi functions for data mining and identity theft. The Ukrainian government used mobile technology to identify Maidan Square protesters.

Mobile Device Addiction (03:11)

Screen time erodes social interaction; studies show we spend 119 minutes on our phones daily. A Seattle "detox" facility helps users learn to function without communication technology.

Social Media Validation (04:02)

Internet "detox" program participants discuss technology abuse. Mobile device addiction develops from over stimulation of brain pleasure centers. Many young people seek approval by posting selfies—a strategy that can backfire.

Telecommunication Debate (04:02)

Mobile device addicts prepare to limit use. Some experts believe social interaction is compromised, but others believe internet technology benefits outweigh drawbacks. Greenbank residents believe their community is healthier without cell phone reception.


Grade: 9-12

The Mobile Revolution (DVD)
© 2014
Time: 58 Minutes

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