In 1966 I was in the AT&T pavilion at Disney Land where the demonstrator lady held up "the phone of the future" and asked, "see anything unusual about it?" It had NO WIRES! Whoa!
Fast forward to April 3, 1973. One Mr. Marty Cooper, a techie at Motorola, called his buddy Joel Engle, another techie working for AT&T, and said, "Suck it Engle. I'm calling from the world's first completely portable mobile phone. It's gonna be a real chick magnet. I win."
And that's where it all began.
As I recall the first dilemma was whether to get a bag phone with more power and better range....
....or a less powerful but much cooler looking brick phone.
I remember my friend Jim Williams had a very early mobile phone installed in his truck. It had a box the size of a computer tower (remember computer towers?) behind the seat, an antennae on top of the cab, and a handset....with a cord. He was considered a complete nerd in his day. And a rich nerd because it cost over 2 Grand.
I was a late bloomer. I didn't get my first cell phone until the early 90's as best I can remember. It looked something like this:
I remember I had it about a week before I ever talked on it because I was afraid of going over my minutes. I would pull it out and show friends, flip it open and show off the lighted keypad, then very carefully replace it in it's belt-mounted case. Smokin' hot!
I especially liked it when my wife called me when I was at the grocery store and told me to get such-and-such while I was there. This was significant because she once called the office at Tom Thumb (the grocery store) and asked them to get word to me to pick up something she remembered she needed.
They fired up their PA system and announced, "Customer Scott Park....customer Scott Park....your wife wants you to get some butter and some cream cheese, too." (True story!) I couldn't find a hole deep enough to crawl into and hide.
Here it is today 40 years (this week) after Marty called his buddy and razzed him, and now there are six billion cell phones in the world. I was wondering how that could be as there are only six billion people in the world, but then I saw this....
....so I guess it's possible.
Then came the smart phone duel between Steve Jobs and Kimchee Samsung*. I have an ancient iPhone4, while K has a Samsung Galaxy #?. She says hers is better, but I'm used to Apple and afraid of change. The new Samsung is out now and Apple's next new version is expected to be out as soon as June. And I'm due an upgrade. Decisions, decisions.
See what you've done Marty?
*Not his real first name, but it was the only other Korean word I knew.