Cutting the Cord
By Martin Cooper
A Story of Innovation
Since the early 1970s, a technology visionary, Martin Cooper, inventor of the first personal cell phone , and Arlene Harris, innovator and successful entrepreneur, have created many first-time products, services, and technologies enabling an impressive number of new global industries. Cooper and Harris independently, and later in 1986, founded Dyna LLC., where they incubate and commercialize consumer and enterprise innovations. Whether through their own companies or because of the businesses they spearheaded, billions of consumers have been served and untold fortunes made. Cooper’s portable cellphone work at Motorola led to the fastest global adoption of consumer technology in history. Built on the capabilities that Cooper brought to market, Arlene’s passion to innovate technology for underserved markets led to SOS Wireless and the first portable cellular handset and service for seniors’ safety. SOS was rolled into her successive company, GreatCall, to build a new generation Jitterbug Phone in partnership with Samsung, resulting in an all-around simpler cellular phone service for seniors. GreatCall Inc. was sold to a private equity company in 2017, then sold to Best Buy in 2018 enabling Best Buy’s current Connected Health” initiatives.
Martin Cooper and Arlene Harris each hold several patents. They are both Consumer Technology Hall of Fame and Wireless Hall of Fame awardees; and are often referred to as the “Father of the Wireless Industry” and the “First Lady of Wireless, respectively.” In 2008, Cooper and Harris were two of the ten identified as the “Top U.S. Wireless Innovators of All Time” list documented by Fierce Wireless. Each has been recognized with numerous industry, leadership, and global awards. Their insightful advice is often sought by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), the Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA), and the Wireless Infrastructure Association (WIA) (formally known as PCIA). Their leadership and contributions to the wireless industry continue to innovate and enable technology solutions that make a difference in many lives throughout the world.
The First Portable Cellular Phone
Martin Cooper invented the first handheld cellular phone, growing to serve 2/3 of the global market (5 billion people)
Cooper led the movement at Motorola to make cellular communications personal and mobile. Thanks to the efforts he championed in the 1970s and 1980s—culminating in the world’s first commercial handheld cell phone—an entire industry emerged and billions of people are connected today.
In the 1970s, Marty Cooper headed Motorola’s communications systems division where he conceived of the first portable cellular phone and led the 10-year process of bringing it to market. He believed the cellular phone should be “…a personal telephone – something that would represent an individual so you could assign a number; not to a place, not to a desk, not to a home, but to a person.”
What's Up Now
The cell phone, as a platform, led to the creation and growth of new industries and companies. It has helped reduce poverty and is beginning to impact health care and education.
Yet the story of its creation has not properly been told, till now.