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Flashback Friday: Mobile Phones of the 1980s

by Sean P. Aune | January 27, 2012January 27, 2012 11:00 pm PDT

Flashback FridayIt’s always so much fun to take a look at videos from the infancy of a technology revolution. Whether it be the first “portable computer” that clocked in at a whopping 50 lbs, or some of the first mobile phones, it’s always good for a chuckle or two.

In this installment of Flashback Friday we’re taking a look at an early 1980’s commercial for the coming “cellular revolution” where cell phone use would grow from a few thousand users.  Can you even imagine that?  A day where seeing someone walking down the street with a cell phone was considered a novelty?  (Not only can I imagine it, I can remember it!)

There were two parts of this video that really stood out to me, however: The weight of the phone and the overuse of the word “electronic.”

The portable phone showed in this video weighed in at 30 ounces.  For those who need the conversion, that translates to a whopping 1.875 lbs.  Do enough curls with that thing and you might even work up a sweat and be able to skip the gym.

And why in the world did they feel the need to say “electronic wristwatch,” “electronic calculator” and “electronic computer?”  I can somewhat understand on the first two, but to the best of my knowledge there’s never been a computer that didn’t require electricity.  Whatever their reasoning, I thank them as it gave me a good laugh.

Sure, we may take the use of cell phones for granted these days, but remember next time you’re trying to pick a cell phone and complaining about how there are too many different models on the market, at least you know that whatever you choose won’t weigh 1.875 lbs.

Do any of you remember when cell phones were still a novelty to see in use?


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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