Did you know: first cell phone went on sale in the United States in 1983

Did you know: first cell phone went on sale in the United States in 1983
Cell phones! It seems that they have always been around, but a quick look back in time and you’d see that just 30 years or so ago, there were practically no mobile phones in use. How did people even get in touch back then?

Come to think about it, there is a reason why there are still thousands of phone booths across the United States, and back then it cost just a few pennies to make a phone call, so it was not impossible to make a call when you really needed it. 

Car phones have also been around since around the mid-1940’s, but those were reserved for the more wealthy parts of the population.

Interestingly, the first commercially available cell phone made a debut only 32 years ago on March 13, 1984. The device was the Motorola DynaTAC 8000X, a handheld phone with a whopping $3,995 price tag ($9,000 inflation-adjusted dollars in 2014).


If you're wondering why the spread of cell phones took quite a while since then, the price is your first reason, as those devices were prohibitively expensive. The DynaTAC 8000X was also not exactly light weight - it tipped the scales at nearly 30 ounces (1.875lbs). In fact, the 8000X was so big and heavy that even its creators had given it the nickname "The Brick."

Another interesting fact about the first commercially available mobile phone is that it came some 10 years after phone inventor Martin Cooper made the first phone call in 1973. Take a look at the ads about it and let us know how would you feel if you still had to use such phones today.

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12 Comments

1. jaytai0106

Posts: 1888; Member since: Mar 30, 2011

I still remember a lady in my tutor center had one of those cell phone when I was in middle school.

2. Scott93274

Posts: 6040; Member since: Aug 06, 2013

Thank you Motorola for your innovation.

5. datagrab

Posts: 50; Member since: Feb 13, 2015

Thank you Motorola for sharing. Shame Lenovo had to buy your mobile department just because you didn't do the same thing apple did.

3. wando77

Posts: 1169; Member since: Aug 23, 2012

I thought apple invented EVERYTHING?

6. corporateJP

Posts: 2458; Member since: Nov 28, 2009

LOL. That's comedy...

4. Slammer

Posts: 1515; Member since: Jun 03, 2010

Bought my first one in '86 because I couldn't afford one in '83. Gave it to my dad many years ago. He still has it somewhere in his house and still powered on. Obviously analog is gone and it won't work with today's technology. One of these days I will get motivated, look for it and then donate it to Phonearena so it can see that plastic is not that bad. It stood the test of time with no protective case. :) John B.

7. darkkjedii

Posts: 31744; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

Glad these devices came into existence, makes everyday life a lot easier.

8. Scott93274

Posts: 6040; Member since: Aug 06, 2013

Can't wait for the next big thing. Not a reference to Apple or Samsung products. Just excited about mind blowing tech.

11. VZWuser76

Posts: 4974; Member since: Mar 04, 2010

Agreed. I remember when I got my first cell phone. When I was an electronics tech, things like finding parts to take on a job could be a nightmare. The place where we kept our gear was around 5 miles from our office, and the nearest accessible landline was about 3 miles away, so if you couldn't find the part, you might as well drive all the way back to the office. Picked up a cell phone and no more issues with that. Plus things like calling the manufacturer for specs or just keeping in touch while you're on a job site hours away from home made things much easier as well. While I could get by without a smartphone, I couldn't do without a cell phone.

12. darkkjedii

Posts: 31744; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

These things are sooo necessary bro. 100% agreed, gotta have mobile communication these days. What I'd like to see, is all carriers and OEM's come together on a single global standard video chat service. That would be nice to be able to vid chat, as easy as we call. Fingers crossed.

9. Totse2k15

Posts: 479; Member since: Feb 11, 2014

Motorola & tha 80's rule!

10. Bedz81

Posts: 84; Member since: Dec 30, 2012

The mobile industry should bow down to the true OG Motorola

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