A Vital Part of Daily Life: Mobile Phones - Важная часть повседневной жизни: Мобильные телефоны
Mobile phones have changed people's lives. They give us an opportunity to stay in touch and to be reachable everywhere. If you are going to be late, you can just call your relatives, friends or colleagues or send them a text message. It is very easy and comfortable, especially for the busy modern lifestyle. So a mobile phone has become a vital part of our daily lives and it is difficult to imagine how people lived without mobile phones in the past.
The modern mobile phone is a more complex version of the two-way radio which was a very limited means of communication. As soon as the callers moved out of range of each other's broadcast area, the signal was lost. In the 1940s, scientists began using a number of radio masts located around the countryside to pick up signals from two-way radios. A user would always be within range of one of the masts. If he moved too far away from one mast, the next mast would pick up the signal. Scientists called each mast's reception area a separate 'cell'; this is why mobile phones are also called 'cell phones'.
However, 1940s technology was still quite primitive, and the 'telephones' were enormous boxes which had to be transported by car. In 1973 Dr Martin Cooper invented the first practical mobile phone for handheld use in a non-vehicle setting. Using a modern, if somewhat heavy portable handset, Cooper called his rival, Dr. Joel S. Engel, to announce his success.
Until the early 1990s, most mobile phones were too large to be carried in a pocket, so they were typically installed in vehicles as car phones. Since digital components became miniature and more sophisticated batteries were developed, mobile phones have become smaller and lighter. So the large plastic bricks of the 80s turned into smooth little objects that could be put into pockets and bags. In the mid-90s almost everyone had a mobile phone.
Over the last few years mobiles have become more and more advanced. Modern mobile phones may support many additional services, and accessories, such as SMS, email, packet switching for access to the Internet, gaming, Bluetooth, personal organiser, camera with video recorder, MMS for sending and receiving photos and video, MP3 player, radio, GPS navigation, etc.
Nowadays the mobile phone is often called the Fourth Screen (after cinema, TV and PC screens as the first three). It is also called the Seventh of the Mass Media (with Print, Recordings, Cinema, Radio, TV and Internet as the first six).
The most commonly used data application on mobile phones is Short message service (SMS). It is a wireless service that enables to send and receive short messages to and from mobile telephones. It is interesting to know that the first SMS text message was sent from a computer to a mobile phone in 1992 in the UK, while the first person-to-person SMS from phone to phone was sent in Finland in 1993. SMS messages have a number of advantages. Firstly, SMS is a rather cheap and quick method of communication. Secondly, SMS messages are non-intrusive. In comparison with a call they do not interrupt a person if he or she is in the middle of a meeting and can't answer you right now.
The 160-character limit on text messages has led to a new, abbreviated version of English similar to a rebus. There are no standard rules for writing SMS messages, and a lot of words can be shortened. Sending SMS messages can be time consuming. The objective of SMS is to convey a comprehensible message as quickly as possible. That is why traditional rules of grammar, spelling and punctuation are largely ignored when you are hurriedly typing to your friend that you are going to be late.
Some people say that mobile phones deprive them of privacy and it is almost impossible to have a rest with your mobile phone on. Many people are also worried about the harmful influence of mobile phones on their health. Mobile phones use electromagnetic radiation in the microwave range. Scientists persuade that there is no significant health effect from mobile phone radiation. But still it is better not to use your mobile phone too often.
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