Photo of Motorola, Inc.

Motorola, Inc.

  • National Medal of Technology and Innovation
  • Communications

For over 75 years of achievement and leadership in mobile communications, and for the development of innovative technologies that allow people to seamlessly connect with their world.

Ed Zanders on the future of cell phones

The Motorola Razr mobile phone is an icon of the late 2000s. It’s difficult to find any major film or television show of the time where a character does not make a call on the sleek, thin flip-phone. But Motorola’s history and reach go far beyond the Razr.

The company began as Galvin Manufacturing Corporation in 1928, but changed its name in the 1930s after its Motorola car radio became a signature product. A decade later, Motorola created the first hand-held walkie talkie. This was the beginning of the company’s many brushes with some of history’s most iconic moments, including later creating the world’s first handheld mobile phone.

In the 1940s, Motorola’s SCR-536 walkie-talkie was a vital part of the Allied forces’ communication during World War II. The handheld radio was carried among the first waves of soldiers to land at Omaha Beach at Normandy in 1944. After the war, the company began providing radio equipment for NASA’s spaceflights.

In 1969, astronaut Neil Armstrong exited Apollo 11 and set his left boot on the surface of the moon. “That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind,” Armstrong said — delivering his famous words on a Motorola transceiver.

By Jake New