Vintage Era of Mobile Phones

The iPhone did not just magically appear in the hands of Jonathan Ive – the path was first forged by far uglier, bulkier and more expensive phones.
Lets take a step back in time to look at the vintage designs that paved the way clear for today’s modern handsets:

1920 – Payphone

Here’s the founding father of telecommunication which for many of us was the only way we could keep in touch whilst on the move until the mid 1990′s, however that familiar figure in the distance kept us mobile rather than the other way round.

More information: Wikipedia

What else was released this year? – The tea bag is invented by Joseph Kriege

1964 – Motorola: Motorola H12-16 ‘Handie-Talkie’

Now this is a true work of art. Forget the immense weight and dangerously dangling cord, this phone should have ‘timeless classic’ etched into the side. This 2 way radio was key in pushing the communication industry forward towards true mobility. However it might have taken a while to perfect the art of hanging up whilst walking.

More information: Samhallas.co.uk

What else was released this year? – The Movie Mary Poppins

1982 – Mobira Senator

Hardly pocket sized, this chunky beast would most definitely weigh you down at a whopping 21 pounds and that aerial looks like it could do serious damage if brought too close to the nostrils.

More information: Wikipedia

What else was released this year? -The first Macintosh computer is released

1983 – Motorola 8000

This was the world’s first actual hand-held phone, launched in 1983. It was a staggering $3,995 and realistically required two hands to hold. Well worth the money then…especially considering it charged longer than the time it had available on standby.

More information: retrobrick.com

What else was released this year? – The Movie WarGames is released

1984 – Nokia’s Mobira Talkman

Weighing just under 5 kg and one of the world’s first transportable phones (even if it you needed a car to carry and charge it) this model caused quite a stir. Many were skeptical, but sales boomed and the cynics were silenced.

More information: Nokia.com

What else was released this year? – The Movie Karate Kid is released

1985 – Siemens Oxford C1

Introduced in 1985 and closely resembling a car battery, this Siemens’ offering came with a handy suitcase attachment for the more image-conscious consumer.

An entire suitcase for your phone was an attempt at a more discreet form of portable communication. That is of course unless you needed another suitcase for everything else in your life and then you’d just have looked suspicious with two cases swinging by your side. Hitman alert.

More information: Samhallas.co.uk

What else was released this year? – The first version of Windows 1.0 operating system

1987 – Mobira Cityman

The slicker cousin of the Talkman, the Cityman was helped along into the world by a clever marketing ploy-arranging for the then Russian President, Mikhail Gorbachev, to answer a call on the handset. The message beamed out to the world- If a world leader isn’t a ‘city man’ then who is? But, $ 6,662 was one hell of a price for the look.

More information: Nokia.com

What else was released this year? – The Simpsons cartoon is aired for the first time

1988 – Ericsson Hotline

Pure 80s brilliance, everything from the neon orange details down to the font screams “I wear shoulder pads and of this I’m proud”. With a weight of 4 kg this is exactly the type of phone that would have been used by executive types to shout down “Get it on my desk by Monday!”.

More information: Rigpix.com

What else was released this year? – The first transatlantic fiber optic cable went into operation.

1989 – Rabbit Phone

Customers could carry a Rabbit phone around with them wherever they went but could only make calls when they were within 100m of a Rabbit phone point. A Rabbit phone user probably attracted their fair share of odd glances as they loitered anxiously around a sign with a bunny on it, no doubt hopping from foot to foot in anticipation of their next phone call.

More Information: bbc.co.uk

What else was released this year? – The first Nintendo Game Boy is sold

1989 – Motorola Micro tac

This Motorola’s features and look was the start of our craze; you could actually speak and listen at the same time, store numbers in a phone book and have a little style when you flip it to answer a call. However, the price tag at $3,000 meant the pleasure was restricted to a limited few.

More Information: Wikipedia

1992 – Nokia 101

Branded the ‘candy bar’ for its innovative slender shape, this phone paved the way for the classic Nokia designs of today. It was considerably more affordable at around $300.

More Information: Retrobrick.com

What else was released this year? – Quentin Taratino’s film – Reservoir Dogs

1993 – Communicator – BellSouth Simon

We are getting closer to a “modern” mobile phone as this just about fitted into one hand… granted, you needed particularly large hands. This was the first phone with PDA features which included a pager, calculator, address book, fax machine and email and weighed in at a slightly more manageable 20 ounces.

More Information: cdecas.free.fr

What else was released this year? – World Wide Web was born at CERN

The Vintage Era of Mobile phones led to some chunky, expensive and even a little embarrassing handsets. However we must remember that these “antique ancestors” triggered an evolution that led to the age of modern mobile communication.

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