First cell phone call kicks off an amazing journey (photos)

First cell phone call kicks off an amazing journey (photos)

Summary: When Marty Cooper called his rival 40-years ago, he knew he had something good, but no clue aout how good. Here's the good, the bad and the ugly models in cell phone history.

TOPICS: Mobility

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  • "I know kung-fu." So said Keanu Reeves' Matrix character Neo. As well as showcasing his acting and martial arts skills in the sci-fi blockbuster, Reeves introduced the world to the Nokia 8110 'banana phone', which allowed him to jump between worlds as well as providing voice calls and text messaging.

    The Matrix-inspired device with talk-of-the-town side-release button hit the market in 1998 and inaugurated the age of the hidden-button slider phone. It also inspired the 7110, Nokia's first WAP phone. While WAP back then turned out to be the mobile equivalent of coal in your Christmas stocking, the 7110 did cement the craze for the annoyingly addictive Snakes game.

    Photo credit: Nokia

  • When the 7600 hit the market, the device got as many cheers as it did jeers. The 7600 was Nokia's attempt to step into 3G with something a little bit different. Different it certainly was and with the number keys split to the left and right of the screen, heavy texters were often left tearing their hair out by the device. However, 3G devices had previously been ugly and clunky - charges that couldn't be levelled at the 7600.

    The 7600 was also a significant indication that Nokia had begun to wake up to the fact that phones were becoming more than just candybars for talking and texting. This device also packed in an MP3 player, a camera with video capture and PIM features.

    Photo credit: Nokia

  • Like the 7600, the Xelibri was its maker's attempt to take the phone into new realms of fashion. Siemens envisaged the Xelibri as the height of consumer must-have, with a spring and autumn 'collection' schedule encouraging consumers to update their phones as often as possible.

    While the Xelibri brand only lasted some 18 months, its legacy is still oddly present. As well as ushering in the era of phones as design icons, the Xelibri also marked the start of a return to back-to-basics devices, where talking and texting were uppermost. It's a trend that's still hot in advanced markets such as Japan, where stripped-down phones like the RakuRaku concentrate on the simplest of features.

    Photo credit: Siemens

Topic: Mobility

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  • Wow, 2 pretty stunning omissions

    Palm and Pocket PC / Windows Mobile. These were what apple put into their Xerox machine (the one they stole from Parc) in order to create the iphone.

    Kudos to Palm and Microsoft.
  • How convenient to forget about Newton...

    the progenitor of both Palm and Windows mobile. Your hate know no bounds...oh...and you know nothing you grade-school drop out!
    The Danger is Microsoft
  • Blackberry 7290...

    I've used one with GoAmerica with a data-only service and I liked it a lot. I also liked Windows Mobile 5.0 back around 2005 and two years later after my contract is up my UT-StarCom PPC-6700's resistive touch screen broke down on me (no, the glass wasn't broken, but the resistive touch screen got mis-calibrated like 10 pixels down when I tap with a stylus and it can't be fixed). I am cheap and I needed a way to get in contact using e-mail, Internet relay service (711), and instant messenger and be able to surf the web.

    By 2009, I've once got Samsung Ace with Windows Mobile 6.1 Smartphone Edition as it has a keyboard and no touchscreen. I've had to establish my credit with Sprint and I've never miss a payment. These days, I've pretty much only cared for data as I don't see myself using 200+ minutes of voice per month -- much less 100 or 50 as I don't talk a lot in the phone due to not having something like "HD Voice." I'm hearing impaired. But now, I have T-Mobile with $30/month 100 voice minutes, unlimited texting, and 5GB of 4G data/unlimited 2G data. And with what I'm paying for, that is the perfect solution I need.
    Grayson Peddie
  • Trivia Question

    Why was it called a "shoe phone"?
    • Shoe Phone

      In the 1960's spy sitcom Get Smart, agent 86, Maxwell Smart, played by Don Adams, had a phone in one of his shoes (or maybe both? only one at a time ever rang), which rang with a standard landline bell sound when a call came in. To answer it, or make a call, he had to take his shoe off, slide the heel to one side to reveal a dial (yep, rotary dial), listen to the heel, and talk into the sole near the toe.

      As a father whose son was growing up in the 1980's, I was amused to note that Don Adams also did the voice for the kiddie police character Inspector Gadget, and basically, Gadget was the SAME CHARACTER as Maxwell Smart with a different job, and doing it the same humorously incompetent way. One thing that was creepier was that the animated character had telescoping metal prosthetic limbs, though. But Gadgets little niece Penny and her dog (both smarter than her uncle) had the first laptop with universally available wi-fi, usually using it to hack the bad guy's machines and save her uncle. So Adams was connected indirectly with two "tech predictions" on television.
  • Xelibri by Siemens (9 of 13 above)

    I never saw one of those in real life, but with the pink trim, it must have been marketed to young ladies. It even opens like a package of birth control pills with buttons where the pills would be (but the wrong spacing). That would have made it scary to PARENTS of American teenage girls, but since it was sold in Japan, that would not be a problem.