Today marks the 40th anniversary of the first successful cell phone call.  On April 3, 1973, Motorola’s Martin Cooper stood on a street corner in Manhattan and called… his competition at Bell Labs.

It’s impossible not to consider how far mobile device technology has come in forty years and the impact on our work and lives. These little devices have become our de facto external memory storage units.  They help us stay in contact with clients, coworkers and kids.  We keep our calendars in sync, message, video chat, and fling birds across the landscape.  Some have argued that mobile devices are making us dumber. I suggest they are freeing up our mental computing space for more complex thought processes.  Today, on April 3, I don’t think you’d find a tax accountant (bless their hearts) who would say the calculator has made people less smart.  The same logic should be applied to smart phones.

Another fun consideration—because of Motorola’s technology, kids these days (under 20 years old) won’t be familiar with a dial tone. Or know the annoying sound a phone makes when it’s left off the hook. Or why a phone is left “off the hook”. Or know why the voice mail icon is a tape reel.

Like they did for the 20th anniversary of the text-message, Mashable has a cool graphic about the history of the cell phone. So the next time your phone dings, rings, or sings take a second to appreciate Mr. Cooper, Motorola, and the fact that we no longer have a good excuse for forgetting to stop by the grocery store on our way home.