The Cell Phone/Car Phone

Well, this week I finally took the plunge into the 21st century, and purchased a smart phone. This brought me back to the days when not too many people could afford a cell phone. When television shows or movies display something about the ’80s, the giant “brick” cell phone is usually one of the first stereotypical items shown (alongside big hair and bright clothes).

As clunky as these phones looked, they were extremely expensive. The only people who got them were top executives. When they started to become more affordable, they became a status symbol for the Yuppies (see the picture above).

Most times, the phones would be installed in the car. For the longest time, I called cell phones car phones – even when they became more portable.

I didn’t get my first car cell phone until the mid/late ’90s. They were a lot smaller by then.

And now look how far we’ve come. We used to play games on big arcade machines. Now you can play games on your phone! No more canisters of film to take to the Fotomat. You can just take great pictures with your phone and share them on the internet. Come to think of it, maybe this isn’t a good thing. Sure. Maybe you can play games against millions of people around the globe, who you would never had known. But, maybe it was better playing against somebody in person by slapping your quarter on the machine, and challenging the winner to the next game.

And maybe Anthony Weiner would have just exposed himself to a poor Fotomat worker instead of to the world. But, then again the pun writers at the New York Post would probably be out of work. As the newspaper industry is shrinking, they would have to face some stiff competition to find another job.

While I am going to miss using my flip-phone as a Star Trek communicator, it is great to catch up with the world. This will be really great if I can figure out how to work it.

Here’s an old commercial that may take you back:

6 thoughts on “The Cell Phone/Car Phone”

  1. I also had a hard time letting go of the phrase “car phone.” My first cell phone was a bag phone, purchased in 1992 for me when I went to college, and I had 30 whole minutes per month of talk time. Also, if you forgot to press “end call” when you were done talking, Alltel would just charge that call forever and ever. I shudder to think what my parents must have paid for that stupid phone.


    1. Oh wow, Alltel! I forgot about them! I wonder if they’re still around. They didn’t come up on my radar when I was shopping around. 30 minutes?! I guess that it was truly for emergencies!


  2. Just made the move from a flip phone to a smart phone as well! And I didn’t have a flip phone until five years ago.

    You’re right about the video games…I miss playing Pac Man on the big arcade machines. I may get that game on my phone someday, but it won’t be the same.


  3. I remember getting my first cell phone in the early 2000s. I was one of the first kids in my class to have one which actually made me feel like more of an outsider which is funny. When I look at my cousins now, they’re outsiders when they don’t have the latest smartphone.

    I also remember when my family got their first cell phone, it was so cool. Prior to that I had only known car phones.


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