Chicago – Cellular pioneer Robert
W. Galvin, former Motorola chairman and CEO, died at age 89.
Galvin took the reins at Motorola
in 1959 from his father, Paul, and turned the company into a major cellular player
that was instrumental in the creation of the nation’s cellular phone system. Under
his tenure, Motorola sales grew from $290 million to $10.8 billion by the time
he retired as chairman in 1990, Motorola Mobility said.
He was inducted into the Consumer
Electronics Association Hall of Fame in 2006.
Under Galvin, Motorola built the
first prototype cellular demonstration system in Washington D.C. in 1971 and
demonstrated the first hand-held cell phone prototype, the DynaTAC, in 1973,
his family said. The DynaTAC demonstration helped convince the federal
government to include portable cellphones in the as-yet unfinished standards
for the nation’s first cellular systems.
Also during Galvin’s 29-year
tenure, Motorola in 1983 enabled the first commercial cell phone call, which
was made on a portable Motorola DynaTAC phone over the Ameritech network in
Chicago. In 1996, the company introduced the MicroTAC, the industry’s first
compact cell phone. And in 1996, when Galvin was on Motorola’s board, the
company manufactured the first pocket-sized “flip phone,” the StarTAC, his
Motorola Mobility, the cellphone
company that Galvin left behind, said Galvin’s “commitment to innovation has
remained a core value at Motorola Mobility, and his contributions have left a
lasting mark on both the Motorola Mobility portfolio and the entire cell phone
Added Motorola Mobility
chairman/CEO Sanjay Jha, “On October 11, we lost a transformative leader and
visionary. We will continue to honor Bob Galvin’s legacy here at Motorola
Mobility. He was committed to innovation, and was responsible for guiding
Motorola through the creation of the global cellular telephone industry.”
Galvin was CEO from 1959 to 1988
and was chairman through 1990. He retired from the board of directors in 2001.
Under Galvin, Motorola became a
major player in semiconductor, paging, two-way radio, space and military
communication, and automotive embedded control technologies. The company also
sold TVs for a time.
Motorola’s first hit product was
the first practical mass-produced car radio in 1930. The radio carried the
Motorola brand, but the company’s name at the time was the Galvin Manufacturing
Co. The model 5T71 radio sold for between $110 and $130 and could be installed
in most popular automobiles. It was designed to withstand the vibrations and
bumps encountered when a car is driven and eliminate interference from a car’s
engine and electrical system.
One of Motorola’s successor
companies, publicly owned Motorola Mobility, will become a part of Google under
a proposed acquisition. A separate publicly owned Motorola Solutions sells
two-way radios and other commercial and business equipment.