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Motorola Solutions: A Legacy of Innovation


15 December 2021

Motorola Solutions, Inc., a US data communications and telecommunications company, designs and develops devices including radios and the infrastructure that supports them. The company produces two-way radios and public radio systems for first responders and law enforcement. It also provides software packages for command centres, mapping and drone surveillance. As well as radios, it manufactures body cameras and security surveillance.

The headquarters of the company is in Chicago, Illinois with operations worldwide, maintaining manufacturing, sales and administrative facilities in many locations.

Motorola Solutions reaches an extensive customer base, from small businesses to Fortune 500 companies, and serves more than 100,000 public safety and commercial customers in over 100 countries.

Motorola Solutions has revolutionised communications since 1928 by creating innovative communication solutions and services that help public safety and commercial customers build safer cities and thriving communities. In its 85-year history, the company has achieved several milestones and pioneered mobile communications with car radios and public safety networks. It also created the equipment that carried the first words from the moon in 1969.

History of Motorola Solutions

Paul V. Galvin and his brother Joseph, incorporated Galvin Manaufacturing (Motorola’s founding company) in Chicago in 1928. The company’s first products were battery eliminators which enabled battery-powered radios to operate on household electricity.

The first Motorola brand car radio

The Motorola brand was created when it launched one of the world’s first commercially successful car radios in 1930. The Great Depression could not hold Paul Galvin back. When he heard about technicians fitting home radios into cars, he realised the potential of the new technology and employed a team of talented engineers to build and install the first car radios in the world. Motorola established a new market and became a global leader in communications technologies.

Galvin Manufacturing Corporation introduced its Motorola brand car radio in June 1930. The radio was designed for the general public, but police departments and city governments across the Chicago area and United States ordered radios for public safety use. This was only the beginning for Motorola in mobile communications and long customer relationships.

The Handie-Talkie Radio

Motorola’s Handie-Talkie Portable Radio changed the way World War II was fought. Prior to the U.S. entry into World War II, Galvin Manufacturing Corporation forecast the need for a handheld portable two-way radio that would “follow man in combat.” When the U.S. Army Signal Corps required a longer-range radio for front-line troops, Galvin Manufacturing Corporation created the SCR300 model, the world’s first FM portable two-way radio.

The radio, the first and only portable FM radio used by infantry soldiers, was used extensively throughout Europe and the Pacific. The walkie-talkie provided critical radio links at Anzio, Guadalcanal, Iwo Jima and Normandy.

It began production in 1943 with Galvin Manufacturing Corporation making more than 45,000 units before the end of the war in 1945.

Handie-Talkie paging system

Motorola’s Handie-Talkie paging system brought new possibilities to the healthcare industry. In 1955, it transformed communication with personal pagers by installing systems using this emerging technology. Before paging systems were developed, communications within large buildings such as hotels or hospitals used a public address system. The purpose of radio paging systems was to replace noisy public address systems inside buildings.

Motorola set up a radio paging system in the Mount Sinai Hospital complex in New York City in 1955. The installation required 30,000 feet of antenna wire that connected 20 buildings and provided 100% coverage within the buildings.

Motorola equipment relayed first words from the moon

In 1969, a Motorola radio transponder relayed the first words from the moon to Earth. S-band transponders on the Apollo 11 lunar module and command module transmitted telemetry, voice communications, biomedical data and television signals between Earth and the moon. Motorola provided the specially developed backpack antenna that astronaut Neil Armstrong wore, including equipment to process TV signals on Earth, and equipment needed for range safety functions on all 3 stages of the Saturn V rocket and precision tracking during the launch phase.

In 1958, when the U.S. government established NASA, Motorola became one of the first providers of space communications.

Transponders provided radio communication between space vehicles and Earth, transmitting voice, messages, video signals and data.

The company led the communications revolution with the first cell phone

Many years of experience in engineering portable two-way radio systems brought about Motorola’s vision of personal, portable communications. In 1983, Motorola made history when the Federal Communications Commission approved the world’s first commercial handheld cellular phone, the Motorola DynaTAC phone. The phone became available to consumers in 1984.

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