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First time I saw one of those, a big shot consultant had it while we were grinding out details of a large software contract. I was a minor underling, in a room with probably 15 or 20 pretty heavy hitting execs and software guys.
When that phone rang, the entire meeting stopped, everyone was just entranced by the power it symbolized. Shoot, the guy could have been ordering a pizza, but we were just starry eyed.
Now every 8 year old has one. Sigh.
40 weeks ago
40 weeks ago Link To Comment
I know what you mean. I installed my first phone in May of 1984, about a month and a half before the Los Angeles network went live. At first, it was pretty much all Mercedes, BMWs, and, a Rolls or two, and well, occasionally a Cadillac. High rollers.

But even before the hand-helds took over, I was installing car phones in vehicles that could only be called junkers, including one that was on blocks with no engine!

As a status symbol, I guess it has lost some of it's caché!

40 weeks ago
40 weeks ago Link To Comment
My dad had an early cell phone (sold as a "car phone"): had a cord that lead to a pack you had to carry around with it with the battery and radio. Had a plan with a grand total of 30 free minutes (free nights and weekend though - they knew the primary owners of these phones were business people and primarily used them during business hours).
40 weeks ago
40 weeks ago Link To Comment
"After all, in 1984, the terms "cellphone" and "mobile phone" didn't refer to handheld phones; those terms referred to car phones, which had been around since the mid-1940s. "

No, the term, "cellular phones" refers to cellular phones, and that has nothing to do with hand-held vs. car mounted. (Or ship mounted, for that matter. I've installed them in multi-million dollar yachts, and I serviced one that was installed on an ocean-going freighter.) "Cellular" refers to the network architecture, not the style of phone. What makes a network "cellular" is two things: 1.) multiple transmitter sites, linked together, and 2.) the ability to hand off a call between sites without having to stop and restart the call. The older MTS and IMTS systems had neither feature, but they had both car mounted and hand-held phones. (The hand-helds were extremely rare. And huge.)

The author of the piece linked above has a LOT of incorrect information, probably taken from Marty Cooper's many press releases. He keeps running around claiming to have invented the cell phone. Not even close. What he invented was the first HAND HELD cellular phone. It was an amazing piece of equipment (probably the best cellphone ever made, in my book), and a noteworthy achievement, but it was not the first cellphone.

Ma Bell actual had a working commercial cellular network up and running on a train line in New York in 49. Zero portability, but it was a true cellular network.

Bell Labs had working prototypes years before Martin Cooper made what he claims was the first cellular phone call. Granted, they filled the trunk of a car (and they were big trunks in those days!), but they were still cellular phones, and they made calls.

Oh, and the date is wrong. As the article notes, Ameritech had a working network up and running in Chicago in '83, and it went commercial late that year. All of the pre-launch test user were given, then allowed to buy, car mounted cellular phones made by Oki Data. Great phones, too! It is Oki Data who deserves the credit for building the first commercial cell phone, not Motorola.



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40 weeks ago
40 weeks ago Link To Comment
I can see myself on a beach somewhere with one of those babies plotting the takeover of some innocent company.
40 weeks ago
40 weeks ago Link To Comment
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