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Old 04-10-2005, 09:04 AM   #1
Alexander Turcic
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Motorola DynaTAC 8000X - the world's 1st cell phone

Did you know that 20 years ago it was Motorola who introduced the world's first available mobile phone? On 6 March, 1983 the Motorola DynaTAC 8000X phone became the first commercial portable cellular telephone; the company had invested fifteen years of research and $100 million in the advancement of cellular technology. The "brick", as it was also called, weighed 28-ounces, had an LED display, memory to store thirty "dialing locations," and enough battery life for 30 minutes of talk time and eight hours of standby. Retail price - a mere trifle: $3,995.

ABC News (via AP) has a write-up on its lead designer, the now 74 years old Rudy Krolopp.

"Marty [former general manager for the systems division at Motorola] called me to his office one day in December 1972 and said, 'We've got to build a portable cell phone,'" Krolopp recalled. "And I said 'What the hell's a portable cell phone?'"

Even 30 years later, this is an intesting question. What exactly is a cell phone to you? Simply a type of wireless communication device? How does it differ from a WiFi-enabled PDA? We all know that PDAs are not just for list making, but also for sending email, getting stock quotes or checking baseball scores, and even for wireless communication. Do you consider the BlackBerry and the Treo cell phones?
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Old 04-10-2005, 11:03 AM   #2
Bob Russell
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I still remember the first time I saw someone with a cell phone. It was a big one. Sometime around 1988, I thought. I'm pretty sure we already had commonplace cordless phones, and car phones had been around for a while. But there was this guy outside a store at a strip mall. It blew my mind when I realized it was a cell phone and he wasn't attached to a car, and it wasn't a cordless phone with a nearby base unit. It was such a big deal to me that I'll never forget that moment!

And even now, I still frequently call all the mobile phones "cell phones" (like most of us, I suspect) even though people keep correcting me to say that's no longer what they are. But it's still the best name for them. Sort of like Xerox (copies) or (Kleenex) tissues or Tivo (recording) are so easy to use even when it's not always really very accurate for Kodac copiers or Puffs tissues or Motorola VCRs!

As far as me, a "cell" phone is great for emergencies, for avoiding long distance charges from my home phone, and for any time I need to coordinate with people away from home. When you need it, you really appreciate it. But other than that, I'd just call it a nuisance, so I don't use it or even keep it turned on very much! I'm sure my carrier loves me as a customer.
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Old 04-10-2005, 10:52 PM   #3
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The biggest mindblower for me is that now it's difficult to find someone who doesn't have a mobile phone. (And not the über-geek who rails against the whole purpose, but someone who can afford one but doesn't want one.) It's just so ubiquitous. Didn't they have a model where you carried the battery like a briefcase and the phone was coiled to the battery? (I seem to remember one from an old "Rob Base/EZ Rock video.)

I love my phones. I love knowing that anywhere I have a signal, I have a line to my friends and family and work. I don't like when people want to abuse my line of communication, but I don't always have to answer the phone. "Leave a message and I'll get back to you when I'm ready." (That's what I'm thinking, not what's on my outgoing voicemail message.)

The brand-identity examples you bring up, BobR, are slightly different in this case because there never was a mobile phone brand called "Cell" like there are tissue companies like "Kleenex" and cotton swab companies like "Q-Tip" and photocopy companies like "Xerox." I do understand your point, however, but here there is no company trying to get people to stop calling "cell phones" "Cell phones."

I'm not aware of the argument of cell phones are no longer what they are. Isn't "cell" short for "cellular" (and not that stupid movie!) which refers to the transceiver towers?

A cell phone is different than a WiFi PDA because you get to hear the other party's voice (and by extension, their timbre and emotions) and you get instant communication.

I'm more inclined to consider the Treo a cell phone over the Blackberry, but I'm not sure if that's because the Treo looks more like a phone or if it's because of my Palm OS bias over the RIM OS (or whatever it's called, Symbian or something?)

Either way, our way of life is irrevocably changed from when I was a kid, and my children's life is bound to be even more techy. Sounds silly, right, but the growth curve is climbing ever steeper that I'm starting to worry if I'll be able to help my kids with their 3rd grade homework where they'll be asked to write a program that graphs the state capitals over distance from the Equator.

And I don't even have kids yet.
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Old 06-14-2005, 11:02 AM   #4
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The first mobile to stick in my mind is the Sony Mars bar
what an amazing phone extortionate pricing useless battery life but what a hell of a phone back in the day.
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Old 07-08-2010, 03:15 AM   #5
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I really appreciate the "cell" phone I should say. The first time I saw a cellphone, I said to my self that one day I''ll have one for myself. It is a great help for emergencies, and whenever I am, I can get the information from the people whoever I want to obtain. Since the first time I have began to use a cellphone, Motoral always around me.
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