What caused the rise and virtual ubiquity of the cell (mobile) phone in the United States?
Over the past 25 years (+/-) in the United States, the mobile phone has morphed from being a novelty or extravagant luxury of the rich and powerful, into a commonplace 'every-day' accessory, perhaps as common as a ball point pen or a wristwatch - something no one thinks about twice. (This assertion is readily observable to anyone over the age of 20 or 25, so I don't believe it requires documentation)
How and when did this great change come about? Was it simply a gradual evolutionary process: As technology incrementally improved and facilitated the manufacture of cheaper, easier to use and more portable phones, market forces kicked in, causing these devices to become ever increasingly popular, until we reached today's state of affairs?
But sometimes, certain particular inventions and advances cause a sudden spurt of change in a relatively short period of time. For a recent historical example, consider the development of the transistor: Following its development in the early 1950s, the transistor revolutionized the field of electronics
Were there certain technological innovations that jump-started the mobile phone revolution and caused sudden, rapid increases in their distribution and use at certain points in time? If so, what were they? How and when did they come about? Was this a case of Evolution or Revolution?
Edits in response to some comments:
Although this question might appear to be asking for a general history of recent electronic innovations, that is not the case: Certain specific technologies are particularly relevant to certain specific devices. The development of certain types of antennas or microphones, for example, could be very important for phones, but not particularly relevant to personal computers or mp3 players.
This is not an opinion based question: Comparing the timing of the introduction of certain technological and commercial innovations to possible 'spikes' in cell phone use (or the lack thereof) can certainly yield an empirically based answer, similar to any sort of statistically based historical analysis. For starters, see Cell Phone Subscribers in the U.S., 1985–2010. In 1990, the figure given is 5,283,055, in 2000, 109,478,031: i.e. in ten years, a twenty-fold increase. Now: Graph the curve of usage, and compare it to significant developments in cell phone related technology, for example: Hide the Antenna Inside the Cell Phone and Cell Phone Antenna Design All that's required is some good statistical analysis and research. Someone's inability to understand how to approach and answer a question does not make it opinion based or impossible to answer. It simply means that not everyone has the knowledge and skills to answer it.
(Perhaps this question, or its answer, could be subdivided, to distinguish between 'plain vanilla' cell phones and 'smart phones', a more recent, sophisticated and now exceedingly popular version of this technology)