Tag Archives: Cellphone

Jew of the Week: Philippe Kahn

Inventor of the Camera Phone

Philippe Kahn (b. 1952) was born in Paris, France to Jewish immigrants from Eastern Europe. His mother fought alongside the French in World War II (with the rank of lieutenant), and went on to survive Auschwitz. Kahn studied in Zurich and Nice, attaining master’s degrees in both mathematics and music. During his studies, he wrote software for the world’s first modern personal computer, the French-made MICRAL of 1973. In 1982, he started his own company in California called Borland. It was one of the first start-ups to create software development tools, and stood out from other companies as it offered incredibly cheap products. (Its Turbo Pascal, for example, cost only $50 compared to the thousands of dollars that similar tools cost.) Over the next ten years, Kahn transformed Borland into a computer powerhouse with $500 million in revenue. However, a number of disagreements led to the board squeezing him out of his own company. Kahn took his severance pay and started a new company, Starfish. Just a few years later, he sold it to Motorola for a whopping $325 million. Around this time, Kahn’s daughter was born, and he got frustrated at his inability to quickly send baby photos to friends and family. He fiddled with his camera and his phone until he managed to link the two. He then sent history’s first photograph through a cellphone. This inspired him to develop the camera-phone, making it the focus of his new startup, LightSurf Technologies. This company, too, was bought out for $300 million. Since then, Kahn has started yet another company that designs and develops wearable technology. He is also an avid sailor, holding the world record for fastest San Francisco to Hawaii trip, and recently winning the Transpacific Yacht Race from LA to Hawaii. Kahn is credited with inventing the now-ubiquitous camera phone, and TIME Magazine included his first phone photograph in its 2016 list of the 100 Most Influential Photos of All Time.

The Mysterious Jewish Custom of Upsherin

Words of the Week

The day science begins to study non-physical phenomena, it will make more progress in one decade than in all the previous centuries of its existence.
– Nikola Tesla

First photo taken and sent by a cellphone – June 11, 1997. TIME Magazine ranked it among the 100 Most Influential Photos of All Time.

Check Out Our New Video!

Some Jew of the Week highlights in honour of our recent 5th Birthday!

Jews of the Week: Martin Cooper and Joel Engel

Inventing the Cellphone

Cellphone Inventor

Martin Cooper & DynaTAC

Though many people were involved in the production of the cellphone, credit is given to Martin Cooper (b. 1928), nicknamed the “father of the cellphone”, who made the first cellular phone call in New York on April 3, 1973. Cooper was the executive of Motorola, and placed the first-ever cellphone call to his major competitor Joel S. Engel (b. 1936), a fellow Jew who was also working on cellphone technology. Engel participated in the Apollo space program and worked for AT&T before becoming the research head at Bell Labs, where he had previously co-led the team that developed “the architecture of the cellular network and its parameterization”. Meanwhile, Martin Cooper was born in Chicago to Ukranian-Jewish immigrants. Besides the cellphone, he had many more contributions to radio and communications technology, including “Cooper’s Law”, named in his honour. He went on to become Vice-President and Corporate Director at Motorola, which opened its first branch outside the U.S. in Israel. Their first phone was the DynaTAC, which weighed 1 kilogram and cost $9,000 (adjusting for inflation). Cooper described it as such: “The battery lifetime was 20 minutes, but that wasn’t really a big problem because you couldn’t hold that phone up for that long.” He said that his inspiration for the cellphone came from Captain Kirk’s Communicator device on Star Trek!

Words of the Week

Joel Engel

We have discovered how to hit the Jews where they are the most vulnerable. The Jews love life, so that is what we shall take away from them. We are going to win, because they love life and we love death.

– Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah