Cell phone technology has been moving forward at break neck speed, and sometimes we may not notice it, but think back to just a few years ago and you can see all the new feature integration and race in the marketplace – a race to “wow” consumers and get them to choose a specific device. But before we talk about the current trends in cell phones and smart phones, let’s discuss the past evolution of these devices.
My first cell phones were state-of-the-art at the hypebeast iPhone cases time, but if you saw them today, you’d laugh. One of them I actually kept; a Mitsubishi Transportable. This phone is about the size of a six pack cooler that you might take to your child’s soccer game, and it was quite heavy, as i recall it is well over 10 pounds. This of course included the battery pack to power up to 3 Watt phone.
Remember that Ion-lithium batteries at the time were just coming off the assembly lines and were quite expensive – they did not exist in this size for anything but NASA and military usage. These original cell phones I had were nickel hydride powered, quite an inferior battery technology for modern cell phones.
The Mitsubishi Cell phone has a strap on it so you can carry it like a purse, and I often felt really stupid carrying it, until of course it rang, and I unzipped the top, pulled out the handset on the phone and began talking. I can recall that everyone stared as if I was a secret CIA agent, was working for MI6, and my name wasn’t Lance, it was really James Bond. You see, at that time not very many people had the cell phones and they were very expensive.
Another one of my first phones was a Audiovox 1000 model, which was quite large and it was mounted in my car, a car phone – cell phone. The box that ran the Cell phone was mounted under the seat, and there was a cradle that held the headset. The headset had a cord on it just like a phone at home, before the cordless phones that is. Under the seat the box was about 3 1/2 inches high and the size of a laptop with a 17. 1 inch screen.
This Cell phone or car cell phone was wired directly to the battery with a couple of fuses. When i turned on the vehicle, the Cell phone would automatically turn on. If i turned off the vehicle, I had to leave it on accessory with the key in the right position, unless I left the phone on which by-passed the ignition. When the phone rang and actually honked the horn, which got me into trouble a couple of times when the horn went off while I was driving behind a police car stopped at an intersection. I have a lot of stories to tell you about all those early days with the first cell phones, and you may e-mail me if you are ever interested in such experiences.
Folks today take all this for granted, as they don’t realize how cumbersome the original cell phones were, or how stupid they were compared to modern day smart cell phones. Today they give you a free cell phone when you sign up for service – back then you had to pay $1000 for a car cell phone, and as much as a couple hundred dollars to have it installed. It was quite a procedure, if you have a stereo system, and an XM radio put in your car at the same time, that is about how much work it took to do this. Therefore, at today’s labor rates you could easily pay three or $400. That’s definitely something to think about.
If i was talking to someone on the phone while the engine was running, if i turned off the car and moved the key to the accessory position I would dump the phone call, as i cut it out during that transition. However, having a cell phone in my car helped me increase my business. At the time I was only 17 years old – I had an aircraft brokerage firm and aircraft finder’s service and I would work off of fees whenever an aircraft that i represented sold. I also had a small aircraft cleaning service and was able to contact customers from my vehicle on the flight line, and my crews could call me when they were done with the job as they would use the local payphone to call me.
Thus, this mobile technology allowed me to make more money, and remain more efficient than the competition. Remember at the time this was leading edge technology, it was state-of-the-art, and I had it – the competition did not. No longer was I stuck in an office, I could run my business from anywhere and it allowed me much freedom. Often people today do not realize what it was like before mobile cell phones. Anyone who is in business now over the age of 50 certainly realizes, because they remember a time when there were no cell phones.
This was a period in our nation’s history where there were pay phones in every shopping center, every gas station, outside of every fast food restaurant, and people used them all the time. Business people who didn’t smoke filled their ashtrays with coins so they can stop and use the pay phone. Thus, allowing them to call clients, customers, vendors, and maintain their operations in the office. When cell phones first came into play they displaced the old Motorola technology of push to talk phones, which worked off a mountaintop repeaters, these phones were very big in the military, construction industry, and all the executives with large corporations had them.
Since this was radio technology, they worked farther than the first cell phones which had to be within 10 to 15 miles of a cell tower. Today, the cell phones are less wattage than they were back then, so the average cell tower is 6 miles or less apart. Back then the cell phones worked off three Watts, and now with 3G technology the wattage is under 1 W. This is probably good for the human biosystem, as it is putting less microwave frequency radiation into your brain, there will be fewer brain tumors, brain cancer, and other issues. There have been many studies including several with the Swiss researchers which seemed to indicate that the 3 W phones were quite unacceptable for human health, and they would slowly cook your brain as one researcher said.
Luckily, for the cell phone industry they were able to bury most of these problems and objections, as well as the studies that the Swiss did. Although, there were studies here in the united states, you would be hard-pressed to find those research studies and data on brain tumors, brain cancer, and their relation to the cell phones that people used. In fact, if you go to Google Scholar today you will be hard-pressed to find anything that would suggest that the cell phones could cause such horrible conditions. This of course is all still up for debate, but we try not to talk about it.
Perhaps, by going to 3G wireless, and lower wattage the mobile cell phone industry dodged a bullet of huge class-action lawsuits, and we may never know the damage we had caused. Nevertheless, as we talk about Six Sigma efficiency in corporations, or using modern management techniques in small businesses, no one can deny that increasing communication speed and reliability is by far a factor in the increase productivity in the 80s and 90s due to cell phones.
At the time I was literally running 1000 to 1200 minutes per month and although that service was much cheaper than the other choices such as the Iridium Satellite Phones, non-cell phone mobile units, as they did not use cell towers, rather satellites – you can imagine the costs of the original cells. They did not have an unlimited plan and once over your minutes, you paid the premium for each minute on that cell phone, my bill was usually $500 to 800 or more.
The other mobile phones at the time were not cell tower-based phones, they were push-to-talk and came in a brief case – it was considered quite James Bond at the time. And this was back in the 1970s, and I remember this, because I started my business when i was 12 years old washing airplanes at the local airport. Many of the businessmen who owned corporate jets had these types of phones. They were basically for the rich and famous, and business person. They didn’t work everywhere and you had to have pretty much line of sight to the nearest tall mountain, and that mountain had to have a repeater on top of it, which was hardwired into telephone lines, and the rest of the system worked with ground lines.
All this is very interesting, and we must consider that many folks today have never been alive when there were no cell phones. They have no clue how hard it was to run a business back in the days when there really was no mobile communication. The same repeater systems on top of the mountains that Motorola owned or which used Motorola hardware, also controlled the pagers. These pager systems were quite popular with people on call, such as doctors, and service personnel. Two-way radios, which work basically the same as the two-way push to talk briefcase phones, were used through a dispatcher for companies very often.