Science fiction writers have a pretty good track record of prognostication when it comes to future technology. But the utter ubiquity of the mobile phone is a development that slipped under everyone's radar. Estimates suggest there are more than 4 billion mobile phones in use and the average device, circa 2016, is millions of times more powerful than the computers NASA used to send astronauts to the moon.
While there were no earthshaking innovations with new mobile phone models in 2016, technical specs on storage and battery life continued to rise steadily, and Samsung's Galaxy Note 7 phones introduced exciting new detonation options. (For a taste of the future, how about a cell phone that talks to your contact lenses?) Yes, phones have come a long way.
It turns out that phones were making big news in 1916, too. Long-distance telephone networks had already connected big cities like Boston and Chicago, but the first official transcontinental telephone call was placed just a year earlier, in 1915. Alexander Graham Bell, in New York City, dialed up his assistant Thomas Watson, 2,500 miles away in San Francisco.
According to lore, Bell repeated the words from his famous first phone call by saying, "Mr. Watson, come here, I want you," Bell said. Watson's reply: "It will take me five days to get there now!" Always with the funny, those guys. By the end of 1916, AT&T has established full transcontinental telephone service.
Punch Card to Supercomputer