Cell Phones then and now or My history with Cellphones
Always answer your phone!
Cell Phones I have known
The first Phones
The first time I saw or heard about cell phones was around twenty odd years ago. This does not count Dick Tracey comics where he had a wrist Radio. (Perhaps this was the forerunner of the modern cell phone). Of course Captain Kirk and the Star trek crew’s communicators also did not count either. The breast badge click thingy is remarkably like the blue tooth earpiece too. Also as an aside I believe that the fip open phone from Motorola was the single most popular cell phone model because it so much resembled the Star Trek communicators!
However I digress. About twenty years ago the first experimental and tril phones were placed on the market. I remember once I was in a Hot Rock Café and saw this young Yuppie with this huge brick in his hand jabbering away to his mate at the top of his voice. Everyone in the pub stopped what they were doing, gaping at this fello in awe talking on a mobile phone!. Then… the phone rang loudly in mid-conversation. I wish you could have seen his face, shock , amazement and embarrassment, in that order as his face got redder and redder and he scrambled out of the joint, phone ringing merrily on as he exited stage left.
The experimental phase lasted a few months, calls were pretty expensive and the choice of phones limited to Hagenuk, Eriksson and Motorola only. All of these were large, heavy, and unwieldy phones. Car phones existed at that time but they were expensive and few and far between. I got my first phone just after the trial ended. It was a Hagenuk. The battery life was 3 hours on standby. The battery was large and heavy and I had to buy two additional battery to keep the phone alive for an 8 hour working day. Calls were expensive and nobody would phone you back or call you for that matter as the calls were substantially higher tariffs than conventional land line calls. SMS (texting) did not exist and functionality was limited to sending and receiving calls. The ability to leave a message or to pick messages, missed calls etc was added later.
I got a pretty good deal, free phone momthly contract of about R150 per month (about a hundred dollars.
New phones and upgrades.
Every two years I would renew my contract, get a new better and smaller phone (these were always Nokia’s). The old phone would then be passed on to the next in line family member. In first case my ex got my old phone and two years later my ex passed her phone on to my daughter and my last new phone went to my ex and so and so forth. Somewhat like the begats in the bible ad infinitum. These subsequent phones would always be on Pay as you go schemes with airtime top ups. Only I had the privilege of a contract being the head of the household and sole breadwinner.
The death of my first phone
The Hagenuk survived for more than 6 years and met its demise while we were away at the coast on holiday. My younger daughter now had the Hagenuk and we had a family row about who knows what. She phoned her older brother to commiserate and I ended upberating her for wasting money on an expensive cell phone call. She was angry and in tears and hurled the phone down on the floor in a tantrum. Hagenuk threw out some internal pieces and expired. You should know this phone was hardy. It had survived a dunking in a swimming pool. It expired briefly while wet and once it had dried out and a charged battery put in place, it came back to life. It had survived numerous falls, even one from the car roof (forgotten there temporarily until pulling away ..clunk)! But the hurling on the ground was too much for the grand old lady. So the brick was finally laid to rest.
My see how they have grown.
As the years and new phones riolled by every two years (contract renewal time) The facilities inmproved too and included texting (SMS in our parlance) and numerous other functions such as call back, call on hold, dual calls, call holding, call forwarding. Who would have dreamt how these phones would grow smaller in size but more powerful in features. Email, web browsing, GPS facilities are now the order of the day, not to mention a camera, video or music station are part of the deal these days. You can do downloading and playing your favorite music. Getting a text message every time you use your credit card or move money electronically is quite normal. The ability to use your phone anywhere in the world is also amazing.
Who could survive today without a cell phone. Pardon me my phone is ringing!