The 90’s were the time when the mobile phone turned from a toy for the rich and successful people to common accessory. This transition was the beginning of the process that gave us some the most renowned consumer electronic devices like the iPhone, and many other portable smart phone devices.
1. In Europe it all started from the old NMT (analogue) network. If you remember the handsets from this time, they were big, bulky things. Motorola created a beautiful mobile, well, not exactly phone, more like holding a couple of house bricks to the ear, as was the case with the MCR4800.
At the time of production they were not that common, however it was one of those handsets, which one look caused you to instantly remember it. Interestingly the main reason for the enormous size is not the internal electronics circuitry as you may well think, it’s a reasonable assumption after all many were huge! The size was due to the phones battery pack, this added a whopping 4.5Kg to the handset making it one of the heaviest phones of the time. The MCR4800 is certainly not pocket friendly in any way, shape or form. Notably this model did start its life as a car phone, and was subsequently developed in to this ‘more potable’ version.
2. Then came the time of much more mobile devices, based on the newly accepted GSM (2G) standard, which required a lot less transmission power, this in turn allowed for much smaller battery pack and reduced the weight of handsets. The mobile phone began to gather popularity amongst the masses, thanks to the decreasing cost of production and consumer electronics as a whole. You may remember in this time devices like Nokia 2010, the GSM900 predecessor of all Nokia GSM based phones. Some of its design features are still visible in today’s candy bar style handsets. Relatively light and cheap, compared to the NMT based phones, it did what Ford model T did for the car industry – bring it to every man. Well to every man living in the city at least, as the network back in 1994 when it was released was not very well developed, covering mainly metropolitan areas such as the large cities.
3. It was time for full mobility in 1999, with most of the developed nations around the World already fully covered by both GSM900 and the much more advanced and capable GSM1800, along with all the advancements of microelectronics and batteries, the jewel Ericsson T10 was the most iconic mobile of the year.
Its recently developed LiIon battery was state of the art, the T10 innovation didn’t stop there, Ericson created a unique handset design with a special cap that covered the keyboard and was opened to accept the telephone call or dial a number, admired at the time by so many geeks around the world (Myself included).
This handset was especially designed and marketed towards the businessman of the day, with many parts of the menu tailored to their needs, creating a multi function handset which was remembered for years to come. Voice dialing was one of the principal features on this phone and made the T10 one of the first devices on the market to be utilize so many useful business functions, while maintaining respect all around. This handset was build to such a good standard that even today there are working mobile phones of this type, perhaps not in active use, but which can power on and connect to the GSM network, with the original battery. Compare this to many of the phones produced today, which have low battery life coupled with short product lifespan, makes this phone one of the most iconic mobile devices of the 1990’s.
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