It's now so easy to complain that our smartphone battery won't make it past 5pm, or that it drops a call once or twice a week. We tend to forget that there was a time where we had to plug in a phone to get past the 20 minute talk time mark, and often had to stand in-place in one corner of our favorite store to avoid dropping the call.. We're feeling nostalgic today, so we've opened up the PhoneArena vault to bring you some memories of mobile phone past.
Mobile Phone Historical Vault
Mobile Phone Historical Vault
1. Motorola Dynatac
The Motorola Dynatac was actually an entire series of phones manufactured from the mid 80s well into the 90s. It was really the first handheld mobile phone. When released in 1983, it came with a $3,995 price tag, and offered 30 minutes of talk time per battery charge. It weighed in at a whopping 2.5 pounds. The phone became very popular among celebrities and businesspeople, but it's most famous user was Saved By The Bell character Zack Morris
2. Motorola Bag Phone
It was called a Motorola Bag Phone because it was just that, a cellular phone in a bag. Motorola released the first phone of the bag phone series in 1992, and they put out more power than any consumer cell phone previously. It quickly became popular among people in rural areas, or drivers who didn't mind the weight and size. Its battery provided 2 hours talk time, and the phone weighed in at a back-breaking 10 pounds, so you really did need a bag to sling it over your shoulder and carry it with you.
3. Motorola StarTac
The first of many Motorola StarTac phones was released in January of 1996. It brought consumers a shockingly portable mobile phone at a fantastic price at the time. It was introduced at $1,000, however with its introduction, carriers in the US began to offer subsidies as a common practice, thus reducing the price to someone subscribing to service with it. The StarTac became a huge success for Motorola in the late 1990s and early 2000s, as they evolved from analog to digital, while maintaining the StarTac's slim, sexy styling. Many attribute the StarTac to the movement that led mobile phones to compete to be smaller, thinner, and lighter.
4. Nokia 5180
Released in 2003, the Nokia 5100 series launched the cellular phone into commonplace in the US market. Several US carriers released the Nokia 5180 (the GSM derivative), and it became a huge success. It was one of the first mainstream GSM phones that carriers would offer free to customers with a service commitment, catapulting it into the hands and pockets of millions of new mobile users. Many of us had a Nokia 5100 series phone as our first mobile phone. It also brought the first popular mobile phone game, Snake.
5. Sprint Samsung N200
The Samsung N200 was Sprint's most successful launch at that time. The N200 was for many of us our first PCS phone experience using the CDMA network Sprint PCS (now Sprint) had then just built out. The phone had modern styling with an amazing color screen, fantastic battery life, and abundant accessory availability. The most common complaint from owners was that the Sprint PCS network was so new that they were not yet built out enough to meet the customer demand.
It's amazing to look back at how quickly mobile phones have evolved. Compared to any other consumer products sector, the mobile industry has made rapid progress. While there are still dropped calls, dead spots, and phones with battery life less than we'd like, we have to admit the technology has come a long way from these museum artifacts.