The Telephones Portal

A rotary dial telephone, c. 1940s

A telephone is a telecommunications device that permits two or more users to conduct a conversation when they are too far apart to be easily heard directly. A telephone converts sound, typically and most efficiently the human voice, into electronic signals that are transmitted via cables and other communication channels to another telephone which reproduces the sound to the receiving user. The term is derived from Greek: τῆλε (tēle, far) and φωνή (phōnē, voice), together meaning distant voice. A common short form of the term is phone, which came into use early in the telephone's history.

In 1876, Alexander Graham Bell was the first to be granted a United States patent for a device that produced clearly intelligible replication of the human voice at a second device. This instrument was further developed by many others, and became rapidly indispensable in business, government, and in households. (Full article...)

The Samsung Galaxy Z series are foldable smartphones

A mobile phone (or cellphone) is a portable telephone that can make and receive calls over a radio frequency link while the user is moving within a telephone service area, as opposed to a fixed-location phone (landline phone). The radio frequency link establishes a connection to the switching systems of a mobile phone operator, which provides access to the public switched telephone network (PSTN). Modern mobile telephone services use a cellular network architecture and therefore mobile telephones are called cellphones (or "cell phones") in North America. In addition to telephony, digital mobile phones support a variety of other services, such as text messaging, multimedia messaging, email, Internet access (via LTE, 5G NR or Wi-Fi), short-range wireless communications (infrared, Bluetooth), satellite access (navigation, messaging connectivity), business applications, video games and digital photography. Mobile phones offering only basic capabilities are known as feature phones; mobile phones which offer greatly advanced computing capabilities are referred to as smartphones. (Full article...)

A smartphone (often simply called a phone) is a mobile device that combines the functionality of a traditional mobile phone with advanced computing capabilities. It typically has a touchscreen interface, allowing users to access a wide range of applications and services, such as web browsing, email, social media, and multimedia playback. Smartphones also have built-in cameras, GPS navigation, and support for various communication methods, including voice calls, text messaging, and internet-based messaging apps. (Full article...)

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Premium-rate telephone numbers are telephone numbers that charge callers higher price rates for select services, including information and entertainment. A portion of the call fees is paid to the service provider, allowing premium calls to be an additional source of revenue for businesses. Tech support, psychic hotlines, and adult chat lines (e.g. dating and phone sex) are among the most popular kinds of premium-rate phone services. Other services include directory enquiries, weather forecasts, competitions and ratings televoting (especially relating to television shows). Some businesses, e.g. low-cost airlines, and diplomatic missions, such as the US Embassy in London or the UK Embassy in Washington, have also used premium-rate phone numbers for calls from the general public.

Premium calls are typically independent of the caller's area code. These telephone numbers are usually allocated based on a national telephone numbering plan that makes them easily distinguishable from non-premium numbers; telephone companies often offer their customers the option to block calls from these number ranges, and in some jurisdictions, are required by law to offer blocking services.

SMS (texting) also has a feature for premium rate services, however instead of standard telephone numbers, premium-rate texting uses so-called shortcodes, which are 4–6 digit numbers that work only for SMS. (Full article...)
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Grillo telephone designed by Richard Sapper and Marco Zanuso
The Grillo telephone was manufactured in Italy by Italtel, a subsidiary former state-owned telecommunications company SIP (which is now Telecom Italia). The "Grillo" was designed by Richard Sapper and Marco Zanuso, and introduced in 1967. It was a popular and iconic symbol of 1960s Italian design, and remained in production until 1979. (Full article...)

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The TeleZapper is a device designed to reduce the number of telemarketing-related phone calls a household receives by imitating the tone signal normally played by a phone company to indicate a line has been disconnected. The Telezapper was created by Privacy Technologies, Inc, a wholly owned subsidiary of Royal Appliance Mfg. Co. (Full article...)

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Cooper in 2007

Martin Cooper (born December 26, 1928) is an American engineer. He is a pioneer in the wireless communications industry, especially in radio spectrum management, with eleven patents in the field.

On April 3, 1973, he placed the first public call from a handheld portable cell phone while working at Motorola, from a Manhattan sidewalk to his counterpart at competitor Bell Labs. Cooper reprised the first handheld cellular mobile phone (distinct from the car phone) in 1973 and led the team that re-developed it and brought it to market in 1983. He is considered the "father of the (handheld) cell phone".

Cooper is co-founder of numerous communications companies with his wife and business partner Arlene Harris; He is co-founder and current Chairman of Dyna LLC, in Del Mar, California. Cooper also sits on committees supporting the U.S. Federal Communications Commission and the United States Department of Commerce. (Full article...)

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Telephones in the news

19 January 2024 –
Four people are found dead at a residential property in Costessey, Norfolk, United Kingdom. Norfolk Constabulary confirms they received an emergency call from the property, which they ignored, and has referred itself to the Independent Office for Police Conduct. (BBC News)

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