Cellular: A New Technology

DE89AFD5-5EAB-4D1B-9A7F-39E70114A02BStep 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.6ECEBA9C-347B-4420-9FCA-0D7E5706CEB7I 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”?E03CCB48-AC16-4923-95A9-E980C769F257Cellphones 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.


28 thoughts on “Cellular: A New Technology

  1. JT Twissel September 8, 2018 / 10:10 am

    I can remember when people used pagers to contact each other. You’d get a page and then have to find a phone to make a call back. Now you text. God knows what will happen in the future.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Fandango September 8, 2018 / 12:28 pm

      We gave our teenage daughter a pager and instructed her to find a phone and call us within 5 minutes of our page “or else.” Fortunately she never tested the “or else.”

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Marleen September 8, 2018 / 11:30 am

    I lived in the Bay Area back then. And my husband got a car phone due to his working for a technology company (as a programmer then, although he was educated in hardware and all aspects of mainframes). [Actually, that far back, he had a pager first.]

    I never used the company car phone… except when one was a cast off and I inherited it (so it wasn’t a company phone any more). I think I first had a cell phone in 2002, maybe 2001. There is an extra company phone sitting around now, but the policy is different.

    My mom bought me the first cell (flip phone) that was originally intended for me upon purchase. Interesting, I’m just thinking of that now. I bought my first smart phone, myself, on Inauguration Day of Barak Obama, January 20th 2009. Forgot to watch the festivities.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Fandango September 8, 2018 / 1:13 pm

      Me too, but I certainly won’t be around 34 years from now.


  3. itseemedimportantatthetime September 8, 2018 / 12:44 pm

    And the advent of smartphones seemed just as monumental. Somebody would show off their fancy new iPhone, and you’d look at your Razr and wonder what ever made it so cool in the first place lol

    Liked by 1 person

    • Fandango September 8, 2018 / 1:15 pm

      Because it was thin and sleek…for its time?


  4. Marleen September 8, 2018 / 1:04 pm

    Obama said, today, that he was “dating” himself by sharing he came to Anaheim (decades ago) to see Kool and the Gang.


    Liked by 1 person

  5. pgraysurvival September 8, 2018 / 1:44 pm

    1986, I was fixing those bricks to component level for Motorola and Racal and was getting to grips with Nokia, the new kid on the block.
    Heady times and fun too when installing them on cross channel ferries.
    I loved taking my time and finishing the installation just after the boat sailed to secure a day trip to France.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Marleen September 8, 2018 / 2:34 pm

      One of my sons worked for a mobile phone refurbishing company for a couple years. He liked it. Not in the eighties, though; a few years ago. He didn’t get to take trips to France.

      Liked by 2 people

      • pgraysurvival September 8, 2018 / 10:58 pm

        Today’s phones are light years ahead of what I worked on so good for him.
        As for France? I thought of it as a ‘company perk’ which they didn’t mind after a while as I’d bring back a shopping list of goodies they ordered.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Marilyn Armstrong September 8, 2018 / 2:42 pm

    Garry had one of those bricks. But the thing is, he could get a signal out from ANYWHERE to anywhere else. That’s this was STRONG. Probably pickled his brain.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. atticsister September 8, 2018 / 5:45 pm

    In the late 1970’s a bunch of my friends got a hold of some telephones. We placed them in our cars and pretended to talk to people whenever we came to a stop; looking over at the car next to us to gauge their reaction. What a hoot! We had so much fun…..way before cell phones.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Fandango September 8, 2018 / 6:33 pm

      What a great prank. I wish I’d have thought about doing that.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Sight11 September 8, 2018 / 7:45 pm

    Since I assume I’m the only Millennial in this comment section I’ll say I don’t know what future holds, cause I don’t want to live that long…

    Liked by 1 person

  9. dswauncy September 19, 2018 / 7:17 am

    what is the exact purpose of the video


    • Fandango September 19, 2018 / 7:29 am

      What is the exact purpose of what video?


      • Marleen September 24, 2018 / 8:10 pm

        Maybe the video I posted: it was in response to someone saying he hoped the humans survive (not only technology and ‘bots maybe). It was from the timeframe and hopeful/human.

        Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.