BARCELONA—Robert Redford drew a crowd at the Mobile World Congress on Wednesday, but several halls away, a wireless industry star was busy talking about the future of the mobile space.
Marty Cooper, often referred to as the father of the mobile phone, addressed a small group as part of the LiMo Foundation´s press event. Cooper, a former Motorola engineer, recalled making the first mobile phone call on a New York City street 35 years ago this April to rival Joel Engel at Bell Labs. The phone, once used to call a place, changed immensely over the years. Now, “the next revolution is just starting,” Cooper said.
That revolution involves mobile phones and the Internet, finding ways to deliver exactly what consumers want at a personal level and keeping costs down, according to Cooper, now executive chairman of smart antenna firm ArrayComm.
Cooper said the term “handset” should no longer be used. “It´s not a handset. It´s a device that does what it´s supposed to do naturally.” Instead, the phone – which is more than a “phone” – should be identified by what it does, whether it be a music player, wireless camera or a life-saving device, he said.
The best technology is totally transparent to the end-user, he said. When you get off a plane and get into a car, the transmission works similarly. The same is not the case with mobile phones, where the instruction manual may be bigger than the phone itself. Therefore, the industry still has a ways to go to improve the end-user experience.
This week marks the 1-year anniversary of the LiMo Foundation, whose mission is to create an open Linux-based software platform for manufacturers to use. A global consortium, the foundation this week unveiled the first wave of handsets using the LiMo platform, with initial “handsets” coming from LG Electronics, Motorola, NEC, Panasonic Mobile Communications and Samsung.