Step into the Wayback Machine and set the dial for 1984.
“Sometime early next year, a new technology known as cellular will be available in the area.”
That quote came from a November 26, 1984, San Francisco Chronicle story titled “Cellular Phones Ready for Bay Area Debut.”
Back then, cellular technology was nascent and available to only the wealthy. That was partly because of the price. Cellular phones in late 1984 cost between $1,900 and $4,100 to install in a car, with a $39 per month base price, plus up to 50¢ per minute between seven in the morning and seven in the evening and 20¢ per minute the rest of the time.
Most early cellular phones were car phones.I remember when we got our first cellphone. It was a Motorola like the one pictured above. We mostly kept it in the car for “emergencies,” which typically consisted of me calling my wife on my drive home from work to tell her how cool it was for me to be calling her from my car.
The Chronicle reported, “Some units, weighing about seven pounds each, can be removed from the vehicles and carried in briefcases.” By the end of 1985, the article pointed out, Motorola had created a 3-pound phone. Is it any wonder that early, large, thick, and rectangular cellphones were often referred to as “bricks”?Cellphones today are tiny, handheld computers and super communications devices that are virtually ubiquitous. It’s hard to remember that just 34 years ago cellphones were heavy, expensive, and rare. Today, most people can’t imagine not having their smartphones with them at all times.
Think about that, millennials. And try to image how we will be communicating and interacting with each other 34 years from now. Assuming that the human race is still around in 34 years.