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Flashback Friday: How The Cell Phone Has Evolved

by Sean P. Aune | January 14, 2011January 14, 2011 2:21 pm PDT

And Flashback Friday has returned from its holiday/CES hiatus.

Now, I know you all want to applaud the return of the weekly column where I mock old technology, but this week I’ve really brought the pain: Brick phones.

As the TechnoBuffalo team walked the floor at CES, checking out all of the latest wizardry in cell phones, what with their multi-tasking, dual-core processors and so on, and I thought back to the old days where cell phones were the size of your forearm.  They had no apps.  No GPS.  There was no e-mail for the masses per se, so no need to get mail on your phone.  No, these gigantic phones did one thing, and one thing only … they made calls.

Considering how dropped calls have become a way of life, making calls with your cell phone almost seems like a novelty, but these also had their issues.  My family adopted cell phones very early on as my father was a traveling salesman for a golf club company, and his job took him out to very rural parts of Kansas and Missouri where it was rare if we heard from him except at night in his room.  The cell phone was a great addition to his mobile office, but there was a drawback that back in those days we had to call the tower he was closest to first, and then call his phone.  He made up a map in his home office that showed us each route he took, so if we had to call him in an emergency we had to run to his office, take a guess where he might be and then start calling each tower along his path for the day until we finally found him.  It was always a good time.

So, yes, as you complain about your phone not having a dual-core processor, or that your a generation behind on Android, remember, there was a time where even making a call with a brick phone was a tedious process.

What say you?  What was your first cell phone like?


Sean P. Aune

Sean P. Aune has been a professional technology blogger since July 2007, but his love of tech dates back to at least 1976 when his parents bought...

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