oh, you kids today just don’t KNOW!

i realized something earlier…

…it’s been about twenty years since i got my first mobile phone.

oh, how time flies.

i got it because at the time i was working in college radio which technically made me an employee of the university, and therefore eligible for their “discount” plan as cellular one was using a university warehouse to store a bunch of shit. the plan? no monthly fee (which used to be pretty stout) just pay for the time you use, at a quarter a minute…

…yes, this was THE hook-up back then.

it was a motorola flip phone, which was tiny for the time:


i remember the guy who sold me the phone picked one up and started smacking it into the counter to show me how tough it was…

“made from the same plastic as nfl helmets!!!”, he shouted over the noise of the phone coliding with the formica counter.

“that’s not the one i’m getting, is it?!?!”, was my reply.

and there we were.

a lot has gone down in the twenty years since, and a lot of phones as well. from the motorola i went to a little sony that was SUPER tiny by comparison, with a little flip out wand for a mic…

sony 1

…that was the shit!

but it was still just a cooler phone with the same, call only, features…but then came:

digital cellular: second sony phone (slightly larger, actually) had a bigger screen but the same “box with a wand” set-up. the bigger screen was because cellular technology had gone digital, meaning that we now had CALLER I.D.!

sony 2

picture that – my first two phones just would say, “incoming call” but not what number it was. can you picture living in that world? this was as good as it got, through cell phone number three (the second sony) and four (a motorola star-tac). i had paid for the star-tac, but star tickets paid for the plan…and when it wore out? i bought the latest motorola, which was a bit bigger, but that was okay ’cause it added the latest and greatest:

samsung early

a color screen – yes, believe it or not it used to be black on orange or blue, or green on black. those were your display options – and pixelated? shit, pixels were so big you could count them! but with this motorola? color screen? polyhonic ring tones of popular songs? i was stylish as fuck…for about three weeks. why so short? because while i had paid for the phone, star tickets paid for my plan…but not overages. i had hundreds of dollars per month of those thanks to ME, which prompted me to jump verizon, return the phone, and get on sprint because they didn’t count minutes against you if you were calling another sprint customer, so that worked well. so well in fact that i got their coolest samsung phone with the coolest feature EVER…

say cheese! we got a camera now… – this was TOO fucking cool. the downside? it was an extra hundred bucks – and not like they sold one with or without a camera…the camera was extra. as in not on the phone. but it plugged IN to the phone, so you had to carry two things. but you could take pics on a phone? that some future shit back then! then came the real gateway to hell…

you’ve got mail! – you got online with phones quicker than i could blink. you could go on the internet and check your mail…it wasn’t a separate function. but you could go ONLINE! from your phone! now you take this kind of shit for granted, but then? this was killer…even though most web pages weren’t formatted for it and you had to squint like a motherfucker to see images on your tiny ass phone, you HAD something to squint at! wanted to stop squinting? once you went black you wouldn’t go back, i was told…

the blacker the berry the higher the bill – this was the first time phones started to grow…before they kept making them smaller, thinner, trying to shake the brick stereotype of the motorolas in the 1990’s. but they had to grow them to go from a t9 keyboard (i.e. hitting “3” three times to make an “F”, then “8” twice to make a “U”, etc) to a full QWERTY keyboard so you could type like you did on your computer. y’all realize where that name came from, right? it’s the first five keys on the top row of your keyboard! i tried one blackberry, which sucked, so i stuck with my tried and true flip, but with a keyboard:


apparently square keys were for squares, ’cause a couple years later apple dropped the bomb that was…

iEverything – QWERTY keyboards gave way to touchscreen keyboards, the first of which (in the phone world) was the iPhone. and that’s where we’re at…all the shit above (caller id, color screens, cameras, etc) are just taken for granted. what’s funny is mobile providers still charge you a ten dollar per month smart phone fee, but just TRY to find a phone that won’t do all this shit these days…it simply doesn’t happen.

see how far we’ve come?

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