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Inside the high-stakes tech rivalry that would change our lives forever

Martin Cooper stood in front of the Hilton on Sixth Avenue, clutching an unwieldy hunk of beige plastic that weighed almost three pounds. He punched in a nine-digit number, then waited for a telephone 30 miles away — in Murray Hill, NJ — to ring. The date was April 3, 1973, and the Motorola engineer and his hastily cobbled together team had just spent five months building a handheld cellular phone. Forty-five years later, the device that changed the history of technology by making communication as mobile as it had ever been seems like a given; after all, today there are more cellphones on Earth than people. But at the time, Cooper and his colleagues were nervous. “Here we were, doing what has turned out to be a historical event ...