Friday, April 5, 2013

In Case You Missed It: Cell Phone Turns 40

If there was a phone in one of these, they've obviously
 been around a while!
Last week, Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito lamented that same-sex marriage as a concept is very new and ooga-booga scary because it is a new concept, younger than the internet and cell phones! Well, news flash to Mr. Alito, but the internet was born (with Al Gore's help, natch) in the late 1970s, and the cell phone has just turned forty.

I remember watching Charlie's Angels in 1976, and marveling that the Angels had phones in their cars. Of course they looked like the handsets to an old fashioned desk phone, coiled cord and all, and they were rooted to the cars. Kate Jackson may have had the only Ford Pinto with a car phone in it! But by the early eighties you started to see mobile phones pop up here and there, outside of television. My step dad had a "phone in a bag" some time in the late 80s or so. it basically resided in a duffel bag, and the whole works weighed as much as a bowling ball bag.

All of the phones I've owned. So far.
I still never had my own until early 1995. And it was kind of funny, because at the time I was still a skinny little dude, and they gave me an 80s-style Motorola Dyna-Tek brick phone. It was as large as a telephone lineman's handset, and looked ridiculous hanging off of my belt. They were so heavy and clunky, you always wanted to set them down. My boss did--on the hood of his car--and it went flying off on the freeway!

After that job went away, I didn't have a phone again for another seven or eight years. When we finally decided to enter the info age, we opted for early 2000s silver Samsung flip phones. This was 2004, so there really wasn't such a thing as "smart phones." There were PDA phones, like BlackBerry, but that just seemed like overkill. The flip phones had rudimentary cameras, and some limited apps, so it was a nice introduction. We replaced them two years later with (slightly) more advanced black flip phones. The cameras were (slightly) better, and already the design had changed pretty dramatically. But they were still dumb phones.

We dipped our toes into more advanced tech with the Samsung Rant, with a slider keyboard (for much easier texting), but we were already falling way behind the curve. This was 2008, and the iPhone's first models were already out, and its competitors were coming online. So, when our contracts were up, we went for actual smart phones. The first try lasted three weeks: a low-to-medium end Samsung Transform, a decision that turned out to be obviously a mistake. So, we replaced that with the Samsung Epic 4G, which was awesome. For a little while! Though it was a flagship, it was toward the end of its life cycle at the time, and was quickly surpassed by newer models. My phone got crushed though (oops), and after much back-and-forth, it was ultimately replaced with an HTC Evo 4G, equally old, no keyboard, and seemingly better.
The future! Eenie, meenie, miney, moe!
mid-range Samsung Transform. It was good enough to spark our interest, but slow enough to be

But, ah, it's re-up time again. I'm eligible, and The Other Half will be soon. His phone had to be replaced with a used one, due to a nasty fall on the tile, but with another Epic. And lately, both of our replacement phones have been restarting themselves, and getting twitchy. So, we wait breathlessly (I do, anyway) to get our hands on the Samsung Galaxy S4 or the HTC One, to see which one we like. And all of this is so goofy when you consider how long we went without mobile phones. Funny thing though, those 11 days when my phone was out of commission were torture. And I don't even like to talk on the phone! Such first-world problems, eh?


Can you hear me now? Cellphone turns 40

Forty years ago, Martin Cooper, a VP at Motorola, made history by placing the very first cellphone call. Appropriately enough, he called his rival at AT&T's Bell Labs. . .

Read more at: NBC News

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