Next time you “Twitter” from your iPhone or some other portable communications device, think for just a moment how none of this would be possible without the development of cellular technology. Twenty-five years ago today, Laurent Belsie wrote an article for the Christian Science Monitor newspaper entitled “High-tech (and high-cost) car phones roll today in Chicago.” Here are some excerpts:
“Today, Chicago leaps to the forefront of a technological revolution in the United States.
“From street level, the change will be barely noticeable. More busy executives will whiz about town with a telephone in their car. And they’ll probably complain less about busy signals.
“But today’s landmark – the start-up of the nation’s first commercial mobile phone service using cellular radio technology – means much more than that, experts say. It heralds innovations that will reach into corporations and households.
“Cellular is the first type of a new technology – called telephone without wires – that will eventually replace the wireline[traditional telephone] network,” says Stuart Crump, Jr., editor of Cellular Radio News. As technological improvements come along, these telephones will become increasingly smaller. Ultimately, they may end up in consumers’ shirt pockets or on their wrists, Mr. Crump adds.
“We need some sort of breakthrough to make that possible, cautions John S. Bain, a vice-president of research at Lehman Brothers Kuhn Loeb. But if the technology keeps improving the way it has, people may look back at current telephones “the same way we look back at the pocket calculator.”
For those who remember, can it actually be twenty-five years since the dreaded “bag phone” appeared on the scene?? I remember those devices so well. Big, clunky, and really not at all that portable – they were connected to the cigarette lighter a the car, and had both a receiver and console connected by a cord. Nothing like today’s little flip phones. Texting and surfing had completely different meanings, and the concept of taking photos or videos with a phone was as alien as Star Trek.
– Christopher Hartman