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View Full Version : Was this really how it was? (Cell phones)



tuiruru
18-09-2011, 01:17 PM
Here (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=694TX2lQ7Uo)

Maybe Surfer Joe can shed some light?

Bobh
18-09-2011, 02:02 PM
My first cellphone, in 1987, was half the size of that phone in the clip. We now call them bricks because of their size. Cost me almost $1000. I used to carry it around in a bag. My cat used to sleep on it.

WalOne
18-09-2011, 02:08 PM
Yes it was. I recall using one in Wellington, in 1987, of a similar battery size. It may have been using VHF frequencies, as using it on the Cook Strait ferry, you needed to be within 10km of Sinclair Head to get reception. Any further out, there was nothing.

A few people on the ferry wanted to make phone calls, and were paying me $2 a call for the experience ... :D

Down memory lane, Here's (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JcnXOhrmDB8&feature=related) a collage of cell phones from about 1990, starting with my first Nokia brick :thumbs:

Jester
18-09-2011, 03:07 PM
I used to work for a company that leased cellphones to businesses, those were what was termed transportables, and they were better than the hand-held (I has an Oki brick) as they put out more power (5 watts if I recall rightly). The monthly lease payments were incredibly high, PLUS the high per minute rates and Teelcom access fees. Lugging those things around though seemed to be somewhat of a status symbol lol.

paulw
18-09-2011, 05:18 PM
These fones were common rite up until the Telecom AMPS network was shut down. They were great for construction sites and areas that had bad reception.

kahawai chaser
18-09-2011, 05:24 PM
My mate had access to one like that when working at a construction site in Auckland around mid 80's. My first phone handset was almost the same size around 1986, with Telecom's Independence plan.

SP8's
18-09-2011, 05:49 PM
And what will the future bring us ....

http://www.trademe.co.nz/Browse/Listing.aspx?id=407157608

Might have to make one of those myself so I can upgrade ... :D

Trev
18-09-2011, 06:40 PM
I remember using one of those around 1995.
:)

BBCmicro
18-09-2011, 08:13 PM
One of our daughters with "brick" cellphone 1990 April:

tuiruru
19-09-2011, 09:46 AM
One of our daughters with "brick" cellphone 1990 April:

Looks like a transistor radio with a coat hanger stuffed into it (the brick - not your daughter).

dugimodo
19-09-2011, 10:27 AM
I can't follow the link from here but I remember what is probably a similar phone from earlier in my career, we had our own work cellphones but for remote areas with poor reception we would borrow one from the design office. It was a large unit with a shoulder strap and a handset attached with a curly cord. It used a large lead acid gel cell battery that by itself was about 4 times the size of a modern cellphone. The thing weighed several kilograms. Like Jester said these were much more powerful than the handheld units at about 5 Watts.

We also used to have similar units installed into vehicles.

tuiruru
19-09-2011, 11:14 AM
I can't follow the link from here but I remember what is probably a similar phone from earlier in my career, we had our own work cellphones but for remote areas with poor reception we would borrow one from the design office. It was a large unit with a shoulder strap and a handset attached with a curly cord. It used a large lead acid gel cell battery that by itself was about 4 times the size of a modern cellphone. The thing weighed several kilograms. Like Jester said these were much more powerful than the handheld units at about 5 Watts.

We also used to have similar units installed into vehicles.

That's the one.

Looks as if it could jump start a ute if you needed it to and had the right cables! :)

gary67
19-09-2011, 11:44 AM
Yep I remember truckies in the UK going into cafes and asking for a table for two, a seat for them and a seat for the house phone attached to a car battery

PaulD
19-09-2011, 01:36 PM
The mobile phone market started with car phones and those handset and a battery models show those origins.

pctek
19-09-2011, 01:57 PM
One of our daughters with "brick" cellphone 1990 April:
Yes husband had one. It's still in a drawer somewhere, never died, just lost a network it could work on.
You could drop them from Skyscrapers and they'd still work, they had a range of probably from another solar system too.

BBCmicro
19-09-2011, 02:05 PM
Looks like a transistor radio with a coat hanger stuffed into it
Ha ha yes. I also remember the separate handset unit with the curly cord. I had arranged to go on holiday with the family when I was told I might be needed to give an expert opinion on something or other. There was a standoff, resolved by the company giving me one those "mobile" units. I remember us in the Copper Kettle(?) in Taupo with this thing sitting on the floor under the table (it didn't ring :()

QW.
19-09-2011, 02:20 PM
That phone must have been heavy compared with today's cellphones.

Beemer
19-09-2011, 02:51 PM
My work 'mobile' was a unit that plugged into the car's lighter socket. Huge thing, weighed heaps and was bigger than the standard house phones people had at that time. I used to think I was so cool sitting in the car and calling my mum while I was away!

Funnily enough, the first mobile phone I owned myself was quite small, smaller than the one I own now. A lovely little Nokia with a chameleon finish.

gary67
19-09-2011, 03:06 PM
My first mobile phone was also quite small especially compared to the current smart phones. Although all it could do was make and receive calls (much like my current phone can and text but nothing else) it was a Panasonic J

tuiruru
19-09-2011, 05:39 PM
A lovely little Nokia with a chameleon finish.

Does that mean it changed colour with each network, or the sex of the person you were calling?

tuiruru
19-09-2011, 05:40 PM
My first mobile phone was also quite small especially compared to the current smart phones. Although all it could do was make and receive calls (much like my current phone can and text but nothing else) it was a Panasonic J

I actually only bouught my first mobile phone last year!!

ubergeek85
20-09-2011, 02:34 PM
Yikes, it's almost scary how far we've come. My first phone was an Alcatel one touch easy, it had an orange backlight and a two-line display, also had the option of swapping the included NiMH battery for a "spacer case" that took AAA's. Moved up to a Nokia 6210, that phone was what hooked me on Nokia (still love my N85, even though it runs Symbian) although I think my next one will have to be a nice Android. Death to WP7.

Kyle90
20-09-2011, 05:33 PM
Your information is really interesting for me. I have learned many new things to read your post. Hope I will learn more to my stay here.

SurferJoe46
21-09-2011, 03:05 AM
Here (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=694TX2lQ7Uo)

Maybe Surfer Joe can shed some light?

Awww ---- that was one of the later versions and much smaller than what I remember. I worked for a Mr. Paul Duron, who was the President of a major cryogenics company (we didn't have 'CEOs in those days). I kept his vehicle ready for any and all situations since the company was a major supplier of cryogenic pumps for NASA.

Anyway, his 'portable' phone was in a very thick briefcase that totally weighed about 45 lbs. I think it had tubes in it (NZ = valves) and required a power plug that ran to the battery of his limousine all the time unless it was being carried from place to place.

But - I can still find an occasional brick in a yard sale and I grab them for myself. Many times the person with it for sale will toss it at you if you promise to not bring it back so they have to pay a recycling fee on electronic devices.

Not that I don't have those tiny (and very losable - ask me later on about that) modern cells, but I keep one in each of my vehicles, powered up but not on a cell service.

Why? Because by federal law in the US, ALL cell phones are to be able to call 911 or Operator, even if they don't have a current contract in effect. This is for reasons of emergencies to life and property.

Besides - and here's the real kicker - those old 'bricks' are analog. The new phones are digital and that signal gets angry going through a sheet of paper, but an analog signal can go over or through many more obstacles than a digital signal can and it won't drop out if it hears some static or loses a percentage of the call quality. Non-relayed signals go farther too in analog mode than a non-repeated digital.

Yup - analog is a great way to communicate but it sure eats the radio band in huge bites and gobbles.