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What You Don't Know About Cell Phones

A huge number of people use cell phones, yet most of them have very little idea of how they work or much about them. In a way, that isn’t surprising, since a lot of people drive or ride in cars and have no idea how the engine works.

However, take a look at these cell phone facts:

* Even when a cell phone powers itself off because of low power, it still continues to send a periodic pulse or ‘ping’ to satellites a couple of times per minute.

* When a cell phone powers itself down because of low power, it actually still has about 40% of its power left in the battery.

* Using triangulation, it is possible to pinpoint the location of a cell phone to within about a meter. This includes altitude, so if a person is inside of a skyscraper, the location of the exact room they are in can be tracked, regardless of which floor they are on.

* No cell phone providers in the US have their own satellites. They pay the US government for the use of communication satellites, but the US government owns and controls those satellites.

* As of 2018, there were a little more than 350 million active cell phones in use in the United States. What makes this amazing is that as of the same year, the population of the US was about 329 million. This means that there are more cell phones being used in the US than there are men, women, and children.

* The average age of people in the US when they get their first cell phone is 11.5 years of age. However, 10% of 5-year-olds in the US have a cell phone.

* 81% of people with cell phones in the US send and receive text messages.

* The US has several hundred communications satellites in orbit.

* The first practical cell phone was produced in 1983, ten years after cell phones were invented. The cost of that phone was $4,000.

* The average smartphone has more computing power than Apollo 11 had when it landed on the moon.

  • Be honest, of the above 10 facts, how many of them did you NOT know?

    • 1-3 facts
    • 4-6 facts
    • 7-10 facts
    • I knew all of these facts

What do you think?

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Written by Rex Trulove

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19 Comments

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    • That is true of other countries as well. Even the largest cell phone company doesn’t have the means to get a satellite into orbit. The government does. However, the services that they lease are amazing in regard to how many customers they can service.

      The last I heard, Google was also looking into the possibility of launching their own satellite, though the government would still be heavily involved.

      • No, really?! That is so ridiculous! I am guessing they are quite young people, who have grown up with mobile phones? My generation (I am 52) didn’t have them when we were young – they didn’t come into common use until I was in my thirties, so I am used to getting by perfectly well without one. We always managed to keep in touch with family, friends, etc, without having to be contactable all the time! In fact, I often think life was lot better then. I am no fan of the Smartphone Age, I must admit.

        • “Young” is a relative term, but it includes my kids, aged 37 and 40. I didn’t have any concept of cell phones when I was growing up, either. But then, I also remember, as an adult, spending $1,000 for my first computer…a TRS-80 that I had to program myself. My last two real computers haven’t cost that much, combined. We won’t even get into the video game craze.

    • Although many of these things have positive practical applications, the scary part is that people often use the technology without knowing much about it. That can be dangerous, particularly if people value their privacy. (It isn’t just smartphones that send a ping to the satellites a couple of times a minute. All cell phones do, even if they are turned off.)

  1. Very interesting facts. I am of the old school I do not own a smartphone. I have a regular cell just for calling and receiving calls and I would still prefer having a good ole regular phone but the cell will do.

  2. Every call you ever made, every text you ever sent is on record. I was involved in law case in which they used a defendant’s phone to connect him to a murder. I spoke with the technician after and he said to me; “You lucky no Mexicans were killed,” and laughed. I had sent a text; “We are going to kill the Mexicans.” I was talking about a Football match.

    • Yes, and the same is true of anything that is posted online. People often post things that are quite foolish because they don’t realize that it is recorded and even if they use an alias, it can be tracked easily.

  3. This is very good to know, in case of an emergency….

    Even when a cell phone powers itself off because of low power, it still continues to send a periodic pulse or ‘ping’ to satellites a couple of times per minute.

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