Cell Phone Safety – How to Be a Responsible Driver


Studies have shown that using a cell phone while driving does increase the risk of a crash, but the amount of increased risk is still difficult to be known. It is agreed, however, that talking on a cell phone while operating a vehicle is a distraction that may impair driving ability, especially teenagers who are sometime easily occupied by other things. The aim of this paper is to present available data concerning the impact that cell phone use has on driving ability and increasing crash risk. In November 1, 2001, the State of New York enacted a law banning all drivers regardless of age from talking on a handheld cell phone while driving the vehicles. The move was later followed by the state of North Carolina, who on December 1, 2006, although the programs were not relatively same in term of who they were trying to reach, began prohibiting use of any cell phone communication device by drivers younger than 18 years old.

These studies were done to reduce risks to teenagers drivers and people of all ages by reducing highway deaths and injuries, reducing higher crash risk for teenagers due to their greater difficulty handling distractions and their high use rates of cell phone and other communication devices and to add restriction on graduated driver’s license along with the expectation that it would be viewed, accepted and enforced in the same way as is the case for the other protective elements of the graduated licensing system. In the North Carolina’s teenager drivers’ cell phone restriction, there were two or more exceptions for teenagers drivers to use cell phones while on public roads. These exceptions include talking to a teenager’s parent or legal guardian or talking to emergency response operator, hospital, physician’s office or health clinic, a private or privately owned ambulance company or service, fire department or law enforcement agency regarding an emergency situation. In New York, the exceptions were limited only to placing an emergency phone call to 911, calling or using a hands-free device, manual dialing or using a handheld phone when the vehicle is stopped.

Goals of the studies

The goal of the studies is to see whether the ban on cell phones use in two states, New York and North Carolina has led to reduction in car related deaths and injuries on public roads.

Aim and Objectives

The aim of these studies is to undertake an evaluation of the longer term effects of New York State’s law on drivers’ handheld cell phone use and the short term effects of a teenage drivers cell phone restriction in the state of North Carolina to determine the impact on all stakeholders and assess the effects on any issues relating to the quality and effectiveness of the cell phones use. The objectives of these studies are to:
• Determine whether cell phone users see the ways in which the states operate as useful, appropriate and effective way to reduce highway related deaths and injuries.
• Determine whether substantial short term declines in drivers’ use of cell phones and other communication devices after a ban, were sustained one or more years later
• Assess the implementation of the program and the extent to which they meet their goals
• Assess the impact of the cell phones use on the cell phone users/ other key stakeholders
• Assess planning and monitoring mechanisms used by each state at its local level


To ensure a comprehensive evaluation design, the qualitative arm of the studies included focus groups, observation surveys to measure the extent to which the new restriction affected teenagers’ cell phone use while driving, telephone interviews by professional telephone interview organizations with the focus to sampled randomly households using a list of households in North Carolina believed to have one or more teenagers ages 16 or 17. Pilot testing with the focus on observing drivers in the morning and pre-law observation which was conducted five months after the law went into effect were also used. In North Carolina observers attempted to gather information on how a cell phone was used, for example, held to ear, visual evidence of dialing, text messaging or game playing or evidence of hands free use. Information on type of phone use was not recorded in New York State. In New York, daytime observations of drivers were conducted at controlled intersections on geographically dispersed, heavily traveled roads in four small to medium sized upstate communities such as Albany, Binghamton, Kingston and the village of Spring Valley. Observations were conducted on Thursday and Friday in seven observation period throughout the day. Approaching vehicles in the closest two lanes were observed by a person positioned at the roadside at or near the intersection. Excluded in the observations process in the New York State were emergency vehicles, tractor-trailer trucks and buses. In state of North Carolina, no particular groups were excluded in the observations process.

The pre-law interviews were conducted on November 2006 in North Carolina with 400 groups of parents and teenagers and post-law interviews on April 2007 with relatively same groups of parents (401). Interview completion rates, those who complete interview with both parents and teenager from the same household, were 72% and 67% in the pre-law and post-law surveys while in New York State (based on December 2001 pre-law and march 2002 post-law surveys combined) use rates by driver characteristics were calculated and differences were judged only if the 95% confidence intervals of the estimated use rates did no overlap. In North Carolina cell phone use rates were similar for males and females while cell phone use rates were higher for drivers younger than 25 than for drivers ages 26-60 in New York. However, the differences were not significant. Five counties were identified in North Carolina for study (Buncombe, Guilford, Mecklenburg, Orange, and Wake County). The counties selected represented the most populous areas in the state and ranged in population from 120,000 to 825,000 each according to U.S. Census Department’s 2007 North Carolina statistics. Within each county, schools were selected for observation based on the sufficiently large number of teenager drivers (approximately 100 or more and the approach roadways and parking configurations at schools that allowed for observation of most teenage drivers when departing. Separate focus groups in both states involving parents, school staff and external stakeholders were held in each state. A total of 27 focus groups were conducted across the North Carolina. All regional line managers of Telephone Interview, a professional organization contracted by state’s mobile phone health program were also involved in individual interviews.

Studies examining the effects of age on crash rates among drivers with limited experience also were not considered. Although these studies have found clear age effects, they failed to address the effects of experience. Similarly excluded were studies examining the effects of experience on crash among drivers of a limited age ranges. These studies demonstrated that 16 and 17 years old beginners had high crash risk because of driving inexperience but did not address the effects of age. Finally, the review excluded three studies of the effects of age and experience on motorcycle crashes because it was not clear the findings could be generalized to other crash types. Motorcycle travel is inherently more hazardous than travel by other types of vehicles, and crash-involved motorcyclists differ from other crash-involved drivers in important respects.

Measurement issues

In terms of variables, the studies were using pre-law observations, drivers’ handheld cell use rate, drivers characteristics, phone us/ nonuse, driver gender, belt use, number and gender of passenger such as all male, all female or mixed and vehicle type, for example, car, SUV, pickup truck or ban. In the state of New York, the measurement was on cell phone use rates by driver gender, age and which type of vehicle. Use rates by driver characteristics were calculated for the pre-law survey (December 2001, March 2002 and March 2003 surveys combined). Differences were judged significant if 95% interval of the estimated use rates did not change. For all survey in New York and North Carolina, cell phone rates were similar for males and females regardless of age. Use rate were higher for drivers younger than 25 than for drivers ages 25 to 59 in New York, but the differences were not significant. Use among drivers ages 60 and older was negligible across all surveys in New York. With regard to which vehicle type, drivers of cars had the lowest use rate, but only the difference between drivers of cars and drivers of SUV was significant in all New York surveys, but remain unknown in the North Carolina surveys.

Data to develop different measures, for example, crash and exposure measures sometimes were collected at different times and or pertained to different time periods. Injury crash rates for drivers licensed 12 months versus 1+ years computed by age and gender. Multiple regression models were also developed. Some relative risks calculations provided for experience effects among younger drivers. Overall positive age effects for males were similar but weaker effect for females. Among novice males, crash rates similar for ages 16 and 17, and 18 but much lower at age 17; among novice females, rates higher at 16 than 17 to 19. Crash risk lower among male or female novice versus experienced drivers for ages 16 to 25. No marked experience effects among older females or males. Since none of these studies has talk about it, in the future we might need to look into the annual miles driven, miles driven during previous year, and miles driven during previous week by drivers regardless of ages to come up with outcomes.


• More drivers, both teenagers in North Carolina and all drivers in New York, stops driving while talking on handheld cell phones due to threat of ticket.
• More cell phone use while driving has resulted in citations being issued to increase public perception that state government is serious about the cell phones use while driving on public roads.
• Increases in hand-free device technologies due to pressure from the state government
• Reduction in number of deaths and injuries sustained by drivers driving while on handheld cell phone in New York and North Carolina
To achieve these outcomes the followings have to happens based on the studies’ conclusions
• Threat of imprisonment- which the two states have not yet adopted
• Parental involvement- which north Carolina state has already adopted
• Parental supervision- none of the states is in position to adopt the strategy
• Law enforcement agencies taking tough stands against those who disobey the laws

Statistical Analysis

Estimates were derived of the proportion of drivers in qualifying vehicles who were using handheld cell phones in New York and of teenagers’ drivers who were talking on handheld cell phones while driving in North Carolina. Ironically, changes in phone use rates between the post-law and pre-law surveys in each state were examined, with 95% confidence interval for relative rates obtained in North Carolina. In New York, rates were compared between the pre-law and post-law and short term post-law surveys with associated 95% confidence intervals. Assuming that patterns cell phone use among teenagers’ drivers in North Carolina would have followed situations observed among drivers in New York, absent North Carolina’s restriction on teenagers’ drivers cell phones use, logic regression analysis made a direct statistical comparison between the changes observed in cell phone use rates in New York relative to the observed change in a teenagers’ drivers cell phones use in North Carolina. The estimated percentage change in use rates in New York relative to those percentage changes in North Carolina based on the ratio of “after” and “before” odds ratios, car type, driver gender and passenger presence were a functions of the model coefficient for the interaction variable. Differences in survey responses between teenagers and their parents were tested for statistical significance using chi-square tests of independence while cell phones use were observed using drivers characteristics observed during the 10 minute observations of passing traffic and applied to the total vehicles counted during the 35 minute cell phone observation periods.

The methods and findings of the two studies are summarized in and grouped according to whether driving exposure was considered in addition to age and years of driving experience. Data were obtained from self-reported driver surveys or from government records such as driver’s license records, police crash reports, or insurance claims files. The lower age limit ranged from 16 to 18, and the upper age limit ranged from 25 to 70 and older. The lower bound for years of driving experience generally was 1 year or less, and the upper bound ranged from 2 years to 38 years or more. The primary measures of exposure were cell phone citations issued during the first 15 months, gender drivers’ ages and the vehicle type (Car, SUVs or van). During the 2006, actually two to eight weeks before the implementation of the cell phones ban, phone use was observed for 6,164 teenage drivers in North Carolina and 1,257 in New York for all drivers. In the beginning of the following year, approximately 5 months after the ban implementation, phone use was observed for 6,401 teenage drivers in North Carolina and 25,694 in New York. Characteristics of the samples observed were similar in both New York and North Carolina. In the pre-law survey approximately half of observed teenage drivers were male in North Carolina (47%) while both male and female were observed in New York (2.3% to 1.1% immediately after the law took effect). There was not significant change in observations during the post-law in both states. About half of teenage drivers were observed driving alone (without passengers) in North Carolina (52%) and none was reported for the New York.

Traveling in Italy and Using Your Cell Phone

You do need a cell phone when you visit Italy. Italy is a GSM country and the networks operate on 900 MHz and 1800 MHz bandwidth, where you will need a GSM handset to make and receive calls. You could take your US cell phone on roaming to Italy through your home service provider, but the outgoing and incoming calls are not cheap and you are bound to run up an outrageous monthly bill. The best way is to rent Italy cell phone from http://www.italysimcards.com and pay a low weekly or monthly rate at a fraction of cost to any other, renting out such phones. Italy cell phone rentals from http://www.italysimcards.com are not only affordable but provide you with the advantage of the cheapest of all rates available, and make your money take you further in your trip to Italy. The rates offered by http://www.italysimcards.com are just fractions of what it would cost you to rent Italy cell phone through conventional sources or roam with your own US cell phone through your home service provider.

To take full advantage of a comprehensive cost saving, a pre-paid Italy SIM card along with your rented Italy cell phone could save you over 80% of your call expenses. When you purchase a pre-paid Italy SIM card, you get a local cell phone number, and all your outgoing calls are charged at local rates. The calls that you receive are all FREE of any charge, no matter where they generate from. Compare this to the fact that when you take your US cell phone on roaming to Italy, you will not only pay for your outgoing call but also for your incoming calls. Since your US cell phone is on roaming through your home service provider, a business agreement has been entered into between your home service provider and the Italian network that you are using while on roaming in Italy. Through this agreement the Italian network provides a US cell phone user. like you, the necessary mobile services and each time you make or receive a call, your home service provider is charged for such service. Not only is that, with you being on roaming, there other charges that your home service provider has to pay to the Italian network provider. This is the reason why you have to pay high charges for your outgoing and incoming calls when you are roaming with your US phone in Italy.

When you rent Italy cell phone, you do not have to pay any roaming charges and with a pre-paid Italy SIM card, you pay for the calls that you make as the locals do and all your incoming calls are absolutely free. At a glance you can appreciate the savings that you have, with Italy cell phone rentals and pre-paid Italy SIM card, which can run up to more than 80% of your communication expenses which you would spend otherwise.

When you purchase a pre-paid Italy SIM card, you get an initial talk time credit. This helps you to use your Italy cell phone right away as soon as you reach Italy. For topping up your talk time credit, you can purchase a recharge voucher, which is available in any of the convenience stores in Italy. You get a choice of values for the amount of credit that you would want. These recharge vouchers are available in many denominations and you have the option to purchase the right amount of credit. You need simply to scratch off the hidden PIN in that voucher and then key in that number to have your credit topped up.

Your pre-paid SIM card for Italy is a small printed circuit board, a little smaller than a postage stamp. It goes into a slot at the back of your rented Italy cell phone and forma the main intelligent module, letting you make and receive calls. SIM stands for Subscriber Identity Module, which has an embedded microprocessor with memories. Your pre-paid SIM card holds your unique information, such as, your phone number, your service plan details, the International Mobile Subscriber Identity (IMSI) of your cell phone SIM card, and more security related details, which are transmitted to the nearest tower as soon as you switch on your Italy cell phone. This information is then matched with the database of the network that you are visiting in Italy. On matching the details, your cell phone is ready to make and receive calls.

Your pre-paid Italy SIM card also has an address book, which holds the name and numbers of the people you call frequently. The SIM card also logs your outgoing and incoming calls, including the ones which you fail to respond. These are all logged along with the relevant time and date of the calls made or received.

The number of mobile subscriptions in Italy has surpassed landline installations. As a result, the network coverage is one of the best in the world, where you will not have any ‘dropped calls’ or have difficult to connect. With your pre-paid Italy SIM card your calls will not be hopping from network to network, since you will be calling through one of the Italian networks. When you but a pre-paid Italy SIM card, you pre-pay for your calls and nothing more is charged to you. With all your incoming calls being FREE and your outgoing calls being charged at local rates, your savings, compared to any other option, are very high. You do not pay for roaming charges and you do not receive any bill at the end of the month. There is no contract for you to sign.

If you wish to take your US phone to Italy, there are three considerations to be made. One is that your cell phone needs to be GSM. Two, even if you have a GSM US cell phone it is unlikely that it will work in Italy. Networks in North America. Canada and a few other neighbouring countries work on different GSM frequency bands than that of the Italian networks. US GSM networks operate on 850 MHz and 1900 MHz frequency bands while Italy operates on 900 MHz and 1800 MHz bands. Unless you have a multi-frequency handset, could be a quad band or tri-band cell GSM phone, you will need a compatible cell phone for your trip to Italy. Italy cell phone rentals from http://www.italysimcards.com are all Italy network compatible and provides you the cheapest solution for your right cell phone in Italy. Third, if you plan to take your US cell phone and carry your number on roaming to Italy through your home service provider, you will need to pay high roaming charges for your outgoing and incoming calls.

You are now already convinced about the fact that Italy cell phone rentals with pre-paid Italy SIM card can save you unbelievable amounts with respect to your communication expenses. When you rent Italy cell phone and purchase a pre-paid Italy SIM card from http://www.italysimcards.com you get a full 24 hour support for the package, for 7 days a week, 365 days a year. What better could be the deal with http://www.italysimcards.com offering Italy cell phone rental at a fraction of a cost than what others offer and a pre-paid Italy SIM card, providing you with an individual saving of up to 80% of your communication costs. You do not pay anything else and since you pre-pay your call charges, you are in absolute control of your expenses.

If you are visiting Italy for the first time, you would perhaps like to know about the country. Italy is a bit larger than the Arizona. It is a long peninsula, shaping like a boat. To its west it has the Tyrrhenian Sea and on the east the Adriatic. The country is encircled by France, Switzerland, Austria, and Slovenia to the north. While the Apennine Mountains forms the backbone of the country, the Alps form the northern border. Italy is a country of beautiful lakes and the largest one is Garda, with Po being its principle river flowing from the Alps, lining the country’s western border and the river crosses Lombard plain to the Adriatic Sea. There are lots of islands which form a part of Italy, the largest being Sicily.
When you are in Italy you will be visiting, Florence, Venice, Rome and the other attractions in the country. You will be taking the Gondola down the Grand Canal, planning to visit one of the finest restaurants in Venice for a delicious Italian preparation. You would perhaps think of watching a show before that. In Rome you will visit the great Colosseum and its mammoth size will make you wonder of the ancient display of strength that went on inside, watched by 50,000 spectators around a central elliptical arena.. It is an amphitheatre, and when you stand in the middle of that great arena, you can almost hear the cheer of that crowd. You would need Italy cell phone to book your seats at the theatre and for table reservations in the restaurant that you want to have your dinner.

Where-ever you are in Italy, you cannot be without your cell phone. You have to be in touch with your associates, friends and family back home and need to be available to those who want to get in touch with you, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. You need to have a cell phone which is compatible to Italy network conditions with a calling plan which will provide you with a maximum monitory savings. What more could you expect when you go for Italy cell phone rental and a pre-paid Italy SIM card from http://www.italysimcards.com providing you with optimum savings on your outgoing calls, charged at local rates.

Networks in Italy operate on Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM) technology and all Italy SIM cards are compatible with GSM frequency bands. The cell phone that you are taking to Italy needs to be GSM compatible, operating on the Italian network frequencies. GSM is the second (2G) generation mobile telephony technology and is the first digital system. It replaces the old first generation (1G) analog technology. GSM is used over more than 214 countries and has more than 80% of subscribers out of the total number of mobile users in the world. GSM has a set of four frequency bands, 850 MHz, 900 MHz, 1800 MHz and 1900 MHz, which are distributed to the different regions in the world. The GSM frequency bands used by the networks in Northern America, Canada and few other countries in the Americas are quite exclusive to the rest of the world and this sets US apart from the rest of the world regions. It is for this reason that US GSM cell phones are unlikely to work in Italy, unless the cell phone is a multi-frequency handset.
For convenience of travellers, cell phones now come with the features to respond to multiple bandwidths. The quad band phone responds to all the GSM frequencies and can be taken to any part of the world. The tri-band covers three of the four GSM frequency bandwidths, which are 800MHz, 900MHz and 1800MHz. The dual band on the other hand operates on just two frequency bands – 800MHz and 1900MHz.

Your GSM cell phone must be SIM unlocked before any SIM card can be used with it. SIM locked cell phones can only operate with the SIM card that it is meant for and therefore, your handset has to be SIM unlocked for you to use the pre-paid Italy SIM card. When you enter into a contact with your service provider, there may be a clause that might stipulate that you need to be in service with the provider for a specific period of time. In exchange, the service provider offers a cell phone, absolutely free of any cost and this phone is necessarily SIM locked. This is done to ensure that you use the SIM card that you received from the service provider and none else. At the end of the contract period, your cell phone becomes your property and your service provider assists you to SIM unlock your phone. It is then that you may opt for any other SIM card that you may like to use.

Whether you are taking your own US GSM cell phone, buying one or renting, it is imperative that the cell phone that you are taking with you to Italy is SIM unlocked. All Italy cell phone rentals from http://www.italysimcards.com are not only SIM unlocked but are also compatible with the network frequency bands in Italy.

Cell Phones – Some Considerations of the Cell Phone of the Future

Cell phone technology has been moving forward at break neck speed, and sometimes we may not notice it, but think back to just a few years ago and you can see all the new feature integration and race in the marketplace – a race to “wow” consumers and get them to choose a specific device. But before we talk about the current trends in cell phones and smart phones, let’s discuss the past evolution of these devices.

Since, I had one of the first mobile “cell” phones – I’d like to tell you a quick story to start out this discussion.

My first cell phones were state-of-the-art at the time, but if you saw them today, you’d laugh. One of them I actually kept; a Mitsubishi Transportable. This phone is about the size of a six pack cooler that you might take to your child’s soccer game, and it was quite heavy, as I recall it is well over 10 pounds. This of course included the battery pack to power up to 3 Watt phone.

Remember that Ion-lithium batteries at the time were just coming off the assembly lines and were quite expensive – they did not exist in this size for anything but NASA and military usage. These original cell phones I had were nickel hydride powered, quite an inferior battery technology for modern cell phones.

The Mitsubishi Cell Phone has a strap on it so you can carry it like a purse, and I often felt really stupid carrying it, until of course it rang, and I unzipped the top, pulled out the handset on the phone and began talking. I can recall that everyone stared as if I was a secret CIA agent, was working for MI6, and my name wasn’t Lance, it was really James Bond. You see, at that time not very many people had the cell phones and they were very expensive.

Another one of my first phones was a Audiovox 1000 model, which was quite large and it was mounted in my car, a car phone – cell phone. The box that ran the Cell Phone was mounted under the seat, and there was a cradle that held the headset. The headset had a cord on it just like a phone at home, before the cordless phones that is. Under the seat the box was about 3 1/2 inches high and the size of a laptop with a 17.1 inch screen.

This Cell Phone or car cell phone was wired directly to the battery with a couple of fuses. When I turned on the vehicle, the Cell Phone would automatically turn on. If I turned off the vehicle, I had to leave it on accessory with the key in the right position, unless I left the phone on which by-passed the ignition. When the phone rang and actually honked the horn, which got me into trouble a couple of times when the horn went off while I was driving behind a police car stopped at an intersection. I have a lot of stories to tell you about all those early days with the first cell phones, and you may e-mail me if you are ever interested in such experiences.

Folks today take all this for granted, as they don’t realize how cumbersome the original cell phones were, or how stupid they were compared to modern day smart cell phones. Today they give you a free cell phone when you sign up for service – back then you had to pay $1000 for a car cell phone, and as much as a couple hundred dollars to have it installed. It was quite a procedure, if you have a stereo system, and an XM radio put in your car at the same time, that is about how much work it took to do this. Therefore, at today’s labor rates you could easily pay three or $400. That’s definitely something to think about.

If I was talking to someone on the phone while the engine was running, if I turned off the car and moved the key to the accessory position I would dump the phone call, as I cut it out during that transition. However, having a cell phone in my car helped me increase my business. At the time I was only 17 years old – I had an aircraft brokerage firm and aircraft finder’s service and I would work off of fees whenever an aircraft that I represented sold. I also had a small aircraft cleaning service and was able to contact customers from my vehicle on the flight line, and my crews could call me when they were done with the job as they would use the local payphone to call me.

Thus, this mobile technology allowed me to make more money, and remain more efficient than the competition. Remember at the time this was leading edge technology, it was state-of-the-art, and I had it – the competition did not. No longer was I stuck in an office, I could run my business from anywhere and it allowed me much freedom. Often people today do not realize what it was like before mobile cell phones. Anyone who is in business now over the age of 50 certainly realizes, because they remember a time when there were no cell phones.

This was a period in our nation’s history where there were pay phones in every shopping center, every gas station, outside of every fast food restaurant, and people used them all the time. Business People who didn’t smoke filled their ashtrays with coins so they can stop and use the pay phone. Thus, allowing them to call clients, customers, vendors, and maintain their operations in the office. When cell phones first came into play they displaced the old Motorola technology of push to talk phones, which worked off a mountaintop repeaters, these phones were very big in the military, construction industry, and all the executives with large corporations had them.

Since this was radio technology, they worked farther than the first cell phones which had to be within 10 to 15 miles of a cell tower. Today, the cell phones are less wattage than they were back then, so the average cell tower is 6 miles or less apart. Back then the cell phones worked off three Watts, and now with 3G technology the wattage is under 1 W. This is probably good for the human biosystem, as it is putting less microwave frequency radiation into your brain, there will be fewer brain tumors, brain cancer, and other issues. There have been many studies including several with the Swiss researchers which seemed to indicate that the 3 W phones were quite unacceptable for human health, and they would slowly cook your brain as one researcher said.

Luckily, for the cell phone industry they were able to bury most of these problems and objections, as well as the studies that the Swiss did. Although, there were studies here in the United States, you would be hard-pressed to find those research studies and data on brain tumors, brain cancer, and their relation to the cell phones that people used. In fact, if you go to Google Scholar today you will be hard-pressed to find anything that would suggest that the cell phones could cause such horrible conditions. This of course is all still up for debate, but we try not to talk about it.

Perhaps, by going to 3G wireless, and lower wattage the mobile cell phone industry dodged a bullet of huge class-action lawsuits, and we may never know the damage we had caused. Nevertheless, as we talk about Six Sigma efficiency in corporations, or using modern management techniques in small businesses, no one can deny that increasing communication speed and reliability is by far a factor in the increase productivity in the 80s and 90s due to cell phones.

At the time I was literally running 1000 to 1200 minutes per month and although that service was much cheaper than the other choices such as the Iridium Satellite Phones, non-cell phone mobile units, as they did not use cell towers, rather satellites – you can imagine the costs of the original cells. They did not have an unlimited plan and once over your minutes, you paid the premium for each minute on that cell phone, my bill was usually $500 to 800 or more.

The other mobile phones at the time were not cell tower-based phones, they were push-to-talk and came in a brief case – it was considered quite James Bond at the time. And this was back in the 1970s, and I remember this, because I started my business when I was 12 years old washing airplanes at the local airport. Many of the businessmen who owned corporate jets had these types of phones. They were basically for the rich and famous, and business person. They didn’t work everywhere and you had to have pretty much line of sight to the nearest tall mountain, and that mountain had to have a repeater on top of it, which was hardwired into telephone lines, and the rest of the system worked with ground lines.

All this is very interesting, and we must consider that many folks today have never been alive when there were no cell phones. They have no clue how hard it was to run a business back in the days when there really was no mobile communication. The same repeater systems on top of the mountains that Motorola owned or which used Motorola hardware, also controlled the pagers. These pager systems were quite popular with people on call, such as doctors, and service personnel. Two-way radios, which work basically the same as the two-way push to talk briefcase phones, were used through a dispatcher for companies very often.

Later, just as cell phones came into play, someone came up with the idea of 1.5 way and two-way pagers. Instead of a one-way pager, someone who had what they call an “alpha mate” device could page someone and ask them a question (using a text message) on that page and the recipient could press a button for yes or no, Y. or N. and that information would be relayed to the dispatcher. People actually got pretty good at communicating this way. And you could send text type messages for the user of the pager to read. In reality these were the first text type messages, so the concept of having a mobile device and using text messaging is not all that new.

Two-way text messaging via cell phones is merely a re-introduction of that similar technology. Once people had cell phones they didn’t need to use the text pagers anymore, and that technology was leapfrogged as the price of the cell phone services was lower, as competition increased between companies like Sprint and AT&T. There were many other regional smaller players, but they eventually got bought up by the big boys.

The cell phone industry grew so fast in the late 80s and early 90s, that eventually there was coverage everywhere. Then something really weird happened, the promise of 3G wireless came into play, and folks started switching to that new system. I can tell you this – my first cell phones were much more powerful and worked much better than the cell phones of today.

Occasionally, I had a call dropped and there were not as many service areas, yes there were more dead zones, but the signal was much more powerful because it was 3 W, and since it ran off my car battery or a large battery pack in a small carry case, it had ample power to maintain that strong signal.

Today, when I use my AT&T cell phone, I am often cursing because the service is so bad, I wonder why I am even paying for it. In fact, the loss of productivity from dead zones, and the cell phone calls dropping, I feel as if AT&T should be paying me. Apparently, I am not alone many people feel the same way. Nevertheless, the 4G wireless is on the way and everyone will be switching to that so that they will have Internet access allowing them to do e-mails, twitter, video, and real-time text messaging without the use of ground lines

A good many folks do not know of a time when there was no email or internet. And most people who are in business today, who are under 50 years old do not remember a time when we didn’t have fax machines, the reality is that fax machines came into play about the time of the first cell phones. Mind you, there was still no Internet, no e-mail, and although ARPANET was being used by the military, and by think tanks, research centers, and top universities, it wasn’t really available to the public in the way we have it now.

Fast forward to today and now no one goes anywhere without a cell phone. Social researchers have noted fewer people wearing wrist watches. They don’t need a wristwatch because that is a standard feature on all cell phones now. Of course, this doesn’t help companies like Rolex who are catering to the young up-and-coming BMW crowd, if you look around you will see that most young executives don’t even wear a watch and most of our younger generation doesn’t wear a watch either.

It seems that the wrist-watch replaced the pocket watch, and the cell phones seem to be replacing just about everything. These days people use their cell phone or smart phones to do their e-mails, and these same phones act like a PDA, no one carries day planners anymore, although a few people do, myself included perhaps out of habit from using a day planner from the time I was 12 years old in my business until I was in my mid-40s. Perhaps, I am giving away my age, but sometimes old habits die hard.

Today with many laptop notebooks, PDAs, and smart phones, it seems none of that other stuff is needed. Including your human memory say many psychologists, who argue that this technology is causing the human brain to rewire itself differently because there are different needs to get along in the world. After all, all your best friends are on the speed dial and you don’t have to remember phone numbers anymore. And all your contacts and information is on your smart phone, in your e-mail program, or on your laptop.

Cyber security analysts worry that if the system crashes or God forbid an electro-magnetic pulse, neutron bomb, or nuclear device is set off high in the atmosphere it could destroy all the electronic equipment, including all the cell towers, your laptop, your television, your refrigerator, and your smart phone. Where will you be then, and can you rely on your memory and the brain you are born with to carry on your daily endeavors – scary thinking, but perhaps we need to address this as we consider the evolution of cell phones.

Today, our cell phones have changed the entire dynamics of our society. There are unspoken etiquette issues of cell phone use in public. There are rules when we can use our cell phones and when we can’t. Issues such as driving with a cell phone and the number of auto deaths which occur while people are driving and talking on the phone at the same time. There have been major disasters caused by texting while driving a bus or conducting a train.

The reality is that as our technology has evolved, it is evolving much faster than the human brain can to take it all in. Due to the multitasking required in our society to get along and the high pace and productivity that jobs require, many brains cannot cope or adapt fast enough. And this seems to be a problem, if some people are not able to make the switch, but they attempt to, sometimes while driving with disastrous results.

Our smart phones are becoming super cell phones that have more and more features, such as the ability to store music like the iPod, and vast amounts of data like our electronic PDAs. These devices are getting more high-tech each and every year and they are feature rich. Many have five to ten gigabytes of information storage now. One recent study in the cell phone industry noted that 90% of the people who own cell phones have never used all the features, and do not know how to program them, or even that they exist on their cell phone. Most people don’t even care, they use the features they want and none of the others.

This is a common problem with new technologies, and it is something that happened with that Beta and VHS recorders. What’s that old joke, there are tons of features on your video recorder at home, but no one knows how to use them, and before we all learned that we need to learn to use these features, the VHS video recorder is out in the new DVDs are here. Now cable companies offer boxes which can record multiple shows so you can watch later or pause a live TV program while you go to the bathroom, or go to the kitchen to get something to eat. Some allow you to use your cell phone to do remote programming too.

These are all things common challenges which are encountered and similar problems with any new personal tech devices which become mass consumer products. Cell phones and our current smart phones are no exception. It’s hard to say the future what types of new features in our cell phones will have. The sky is the limit, and the imagination and demand for more features and greater technology is readily apparent. The early adopters of such cell phone and smart phone technologies are willing to spend big bucks to have all-in-one devices. Therefore, these trends will continue.

Just to give you an example of some of the crazy ideas people come up with for future smart phones let me tell you a little quick story.

Our on-line Think Tank came up with a plan to produce a PhD or Personal Health Device, which tracks your diet – on your cell phone. How it worked was quite simple, when you are at the grocery store, you would scan all the items that you bought, and they would go into storage inside your smart phone. Each time you ate one of those items you would simply select what you ate, and punch in the number of servings and you would calculate and keep track of your calories, fat content, and recommended daily allowances in the major five food groups.

The smart phone would have a scanner system on it, later subsequent versions of this smart phone and personal health device would be able to scan products via RFID tags. Your phone could tabulate and even recommend what you should eat, how many more miles you should jog, and what you would need to maintain your diet to meet your personal health goals, and weight loss program. Sounds crazy doesn’t it, yes, it does, but the venture capitalists like the idea. So too, do companies that produce high tech smart phones today, as everyone is looking to get a jump on the competition.

GPS systems by way of smart phones or cellular high-tech phones is quite possible (now available), and you don’t even need satellites to do it. If you are within the realm of several cell towers your location can be triangulated quite quickly, which pinpoints your exact location within 10 feet. Ah ha, you see the problem in this too; What about privacy you ask? That’s a good point and that is another issue that people are quite concerned about with all this new high-tech personal smart phone innovations.

Google Phone and social networking connections appear to be on horizon. That is to say, linking your smart phone with all of your social networking friends, but apparently Google got into a little bit of a problem and noted that many people are not ready for that just yet. In fact, many people who are friends on social networks and make connections, have no intention of ever meeting these people in real life, and therefore they aren’t really friends. And since you don’t really know anything about those connections or friends on your social networking site, the last thing you want them to do is know exactly where you are within 10 feet.

That should appear to be obvious, and in the future it may not be such a big deal, but people are still a little paranoid and they like to have their privacy. Meanwhile, we read more and more articles about social networking gone bad. That is to say people using social networks to stalk other people, and this also concerns parents who have teenagers, who use social networks on a daily basis, and some that use them on an hourly basis, and a good many who seem to be texting every few minutes.

One recent study of cell phone users was able to have a 93% predictability of where a person might be based on the patterns determined by their cell phone, and when it was connected to any given local cell tower. The study found that most people stay within 6 miles of their homes. These patterns of predictability are a reality in our society and how we operate as individuals – nevertheless this brings up all types of issues that have attracted the attention of the Electronic Freedom Foundation, and it also touches on the issue of privacy and paranoia, it catches people off guard.

Then there is the new trend with smart mobs using their smart phones, and having fun with and meeting up in various places all at the same time. Although these schemes are used for fun, entertainment, and socializing, these same types of smart mobs have the power to destabilize a society or civilization. Consider if you will the use of technology in Tiananmen Square – should governments be worried about your smart phone technology, or the future of 4G wireless cell phones? They probably should be concerned with it, especially if it is used by a foreign government to provide mass protests against what would be a normal stabile government.

In other words it has uses in warfare, the CIA, in bringing down corrupt regimes which are enemies to United States. But rest assured – the same thing could happen in the United States where perhaps a communist rogue nation state decided to have protests in the United States in our major cities on Mayday. It could easily happen especially with our own technology being used against us, due to all the interconnectivity that it offers.

  1. Does this mean that our government has to find a way to turn off all the cell phones in case of something like this happening?
  2. Do they need a device to turn off certain cell phones from the system, while leaving first responders cell phones activated for communication?
  3. And what about hackers, which might be able to send out tens of thousands of bogus text messages, or call masses of people into a trap, or stage a riot?

These are all questions we need to answer and we need to understand that the same technology we create to improve our productivity, our society, and help us in our daily lives with our families and friends can also be used against us.

And what happens when our smart phones become smarter than us? Some believe, as I do, that they already have. Most of the smart phones today have artificial intelligence systems within them, for instance a text messaging program which guesstimates which keys you are going to press next or what you are trying to say and it offers you suggest is so you can fill in the blank. Making your texting very quick. This is very similar technology that Google uses when doing a search and offer suggestions as you are typing to save you time. This is just one form of artificial intelligence in our smart phones and cell phones today.

There are many cell phones that allow you to use speech recognition to dial phone numbers, search your databases, or navigate the screens on your cell phone. The newest smart phones will be able to tell you when you are in proximity to a Starbucks and then give you GPS directions to find that location. This has big implications for retailers, advertisers, and consumers alike. They will begin to know your patterns and habits. All these technologies are available now and we will see them in the near future. Your cell phone will even become a payment device, hooked to your credit card information. All this technology exists today.

But what about the technologies which are just over the horizon?

We’ve recently seen at Comdex and CES shows the first generations of projection cell phones, that is to say video conference enabled cell phones which allow you to project to the other party onto the nearest wall or onto a table so you can watch. This will obviously be followed by the Holographic cell phones, which were similar to those that we saw in the Star Wars trilogy.

All these things will be available in the next five years, and you will most likely have them if you buy one of the high-tech cell phones in the near future. At first these technologies will cost a lot extra, but those prices will come down as the number of units built goes up and as more Chinese also purchase their first cell phone, adding another billion people who own such devices, therefore bringing the cost down for everyone – significantly!

By the year 2025 your cell phone will be a brain chip inside of your head, and you can think that you’d like to contact someone and it will dial the number and contact them. By 2050 you will be able to do thought transfer via the small devices, brain implant – perhaps smaller than a dime. And people born after that will never know what time were “thought transfer” did not exist, just like right now there are many people who have never known a time when mobile phones didn’t exist. And since Moore’s law also seems to apply to the cell phone and smart phone industries we can expect a size reduction as well as a power reduction to run this technology.

In other words, your biosystem will be able to power up your brain cell phone chip, just as it does your current human brain which works on about a maximum of 20 W. of energy, and you will be able to have an eyelid screen, so you can close one eye, and surf the Internet. It’s hard to say what the Comdex and CES Show in Las Vegas in the year 2025 will look like, it is probably impossible to pinpoint what these shows will look like in the year 2050. In fact, there may not be shows at all, you may be able to experience these trade shows in your holographic living room, video gaming center.

Walking the virtual halls of the trade show using your avatar and talking to other avatars explaining all the new technologies that are available for you might be the new reality albeit an Augmented or fully Virtual Reality. That appears to be where we are going, although it’s hard to imagine considering where we are today. Nevertheless, I can assure you people in the 1950s could not really have imagined the way in which our smart cell phones have evolved in the present period.

Currently, there seems to be a very big push in the larger cities like Atlanta and Dallas, Los Angeles and Seattle, Boston and New York, Miami and Houston towards the 4G wireless, obviously this will continue. That is the full broadband Internet surfing on your smart phone, the ability to watch TV while driving in a car on your cell phone. And next comes the ability to project that TV onto any screen or flat surface that is nearby or available. The technology is getting more robust, it’s getting smaller, it’s getting smarter, and you have to decide how far you want to go with it.

Perhaps, I should write a quick eBook on this topic and explain chapter by chapter, the evolution of this ominous communication technology, and the future of smart phone personal tech devices. Let me know if you know any interested potential co-authors.

At the current pace we are moving, and at the speed in which we are interfacing with the Internet, social networks, e-mail, and television, it’s hard to say exactly what you will be carrying around in the future in your purse or pocket, but I daresay it will be something that is truly incredible, and in the next 10 years it will be hardly imaginable from this point in time to know exactly what it will be, or what it might be able to do. I hope you will please consider all this. And contact me if you’d like to discuss this further at the Online Think Tank.