Mobile Phones

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The history of mobile communications technology goes back a long way, but the day in 1973 when Motorola tested their first prototype hand-held mobile, the DynaTAC, was something of a milestone. Motorola had been developing cellular technology since the late 1960s.

Fast forward to 1983 and another milestone - Motorola unveiled the first consumer model. Slightly smaller and lighter than the prototype, the DynaTAC 8000x was, of course, a brick!

Motorola had invested fifteen years of research and 100 million dollars in the advancement of cellular technology.

In Britain, the first mobile phone call was made on 1 January, 1985 - by the popular television comedian Ernie Wise. Standing in St Katherine's Dock, London, England, he phoned Vodafone's headquarters in Newbury, and a little bit of history was made.

The phones were at first hugely expensive, earning themselves the nickname "yuppie toys", but came down in price dramatically in the 1990s.

Nokia had been producing mobile communications equipment for years, including field radios from the 1960s onwards, but in 1982 they released their first car phone - the Mobira Senator. In 1987 came another milestone - the arrival of Nokia's first hand-held, the Nokia Mobira Cityman 1320. This was the first hand-held mobile phone to allow NMT international roaming. This model is the parent of every Nokia hand-held today and is increasingly collectable.

Technological developments meant that Motorola could produce a much smaller and lighter mobile, the MicroTAC, which was far more like today's models, in 1989.

Sometimes mobiles are auctioned on eBay as being "1970s". It is wise to remember that there were no consumer hand-held mobile phones in the 1970s and, unless you are auctioning a rare prototype, the phones will date from 1983 onwards.

More and more information on mobile phones is now available on the web and early models are becoming increasingly sought after.

The old analogue bricks seem incredibly quaint and fascinating in these days of tiny, all-singing, all-dancing digital mobiles.

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