Cell Phone Nostalgia


Can you remember the very first cell phone you ever had? I remember mine – I was about 17 when I got my first phone, around the time that I started driving. It was a Nokia; I’m thinking (based on the Google search I just did) it was a 5110. I found out something else during that Google search… that the Nokia 5110 was one of the first phones to feature the game “Snake.” Please tell me you remember the hours you spent chasing that little dot around until your thumbs were aching or your phone battery died! Now, do yourself a favor and check out this article. Seriously. Maybe I’m behind the times and you already knew this great news, but I was shocked and so excited to find out!

My first phone was also one of the first phones with a removable face plate, so that users could put different covers on the fronts of their phones. I wish I had a picture of mine! It had a bright green Goofy cover on it – like this one:

The history of cell phones is a long and interesting one. Martin “Marty” Cooper is considered the “father of the cell phone” and also made the first handheld cellular phone call in public. In the early 1970’s, inspired by Captain Kirk’s Communicator in the TV show Star Trek, Cooper (who worked for Motorola at the time) claimed that people needed the freedom that comes from being able to be connected anytime, anywhere. He wanted telephones to be a part of the person, not the home or the desk or the place of work. The original handset, the DynaTAC 8000x, weighed two and a half pounds and you could only talk on it for 20 minutes before it needed a 10-hour recharge. Can you imagine? (By 1983 when the DynaTAC started being sold for $3995 in the U.S., it was down to roughly half of its original weight.)

On April 3, 1973, Cooper made that famous first cell phone call, to his chief competitor at Bell Labs, Joel Engel.Bell Labs had introduced the cellular communications idea back in the late 1940s, but it was limited to heavy, expensive car phones. Cooper’s focus on the phone being with the person at all times is what got the DynaTAC onto the cover of Popular Science Magazine in July of 1973. It was revolutionary and unheard of and shaped the future of cell technology.

It’s hard for me to imagine a time (and it really wasn’t that long ago!) when being able to call or send a message at the touch of a button didn’t exist. And now we have the entire internet at the tip of our fingers!

Do you remember your first cell phone? Did you or anyone you know own a DynaTAC 8000x? Did you have an 80-pound car phone in your trunk, or a bag phone in the front seat? Did/do you have a favorite cell phone game? We’d love to hear about it, so tell us in the comments section! In the meantime, I’m going to go download Snake ’97 on my iPhone… so don’t expect to hear anything from me for the next few hours at least…


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