One of the things I love most about being a writer is the fun things you learn or revisit when researching for a story. Tonight’s fun Du Jour is Retrobricks–old style cell phones.

The first call ever made from a cell phone was made back in 1973 when Dr. Martin Cooper of Motorola placed a call to his main rival Joel Engel, Bell Labs head of research.

Motorola was first to make a cell/mobile phone commercially available in the United States. It was the Motorola DynaTAC 8000x and was first approved for distribution within the USA in 1983.

Sad though it may seem, I can remember seeing people using these. They retailed in the USA for $3,995USD! ( I didn’t own one!)

According to another site I discovered, there were 7000 people in the USA in 1984 who owned a cell phone but sales rocketed from there on until today, where annual cell phones sales number in the billions!

It’s not difficult to see, though, why these things were and are, called bricks. Compared to the sleek, slim little models we see today this thing is just a monster, and apparently had the capacity to fry a human brain, according to one site I read. I can believe it. What kind of radiation was this thing putting out?

I can remember when using my own cell phone–I got my first one in about 1990–left me with a strange taste in my mouth afterward if I used it too long, and it also would make my ear hot!

So I did all this research to decide whether it would be pheasible to have either of my protags in The Colt, or anyone they know, own a cell phone. I’ve decided that given the price range and the very small number of sales at the time when the novel is set, they probably didn’t. It certainly makes things interesting when you’re writing a story and someone can’t just pull a cell phone out of his pocket to make or receive a call.

Just for fun and comparison, here is a picture of a typical cell phone in 2010

Come on now, play nice. Just because it’s an iPhone doesn’t mean it’s not real. *g*

If you’d like to read more about the first cell phone, you can go here. You might even like to buy yourself one! Only 149GBP!

About megleigh

When not busy writing, Meg Leigh spends her time tending to the most pampered flock of chickens on Australia’s east coast. She would really like to have dragons, but has settled for chickens because they come pretty close. If you need proof of this, try offering a flock of chickens raw meat! (Meg would like to advise she accepts no liability for loss of fingers!) Meg also enjoys reading, keeping fit with her bunch of madcap mates at the local park, and spending time with her adult offspring whenever their schedules allow.
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