“Can you hear me now? – Verizon
Greetings all. Hope your December is going well. Another work day is behind me. I just finished dinner and have retreated back to my home office to compose this blog post, with (based on my post from two days ago) the Fluid channel streaming some cool chill step, chillout, and liquid trap on somafm.com.
“What’s up with this graphic above?”, you may be asking. Well, it represents my entry in to the world of mobile phones. Let’s go back….way back. The Motorola TeleTac 250 was the first mobile phone I ever purchased. I got it from, then, Bell Atlantic Mobile which is now Verizon. I graduated from keeping a beeper on my belt to this hefty, chunky phone with a removable battery that had to be placed in a cradle for charging. Let’s talk a bit more about it. I have a leather case, complete with a belt clip, that allowed me to carry it that way, when it wasn’t stored in a bag somewhere. The one line amber LCD display is only large enough to display full ten digit phone number and other types of messages, like diagnostic codes and pager codes (yeah those things that pre-dated todays emojis BIG TIME lol), remember those? https://www.buzzfeednews.com/article/samir/11-pager-codes-that-you-need-to-know
I was very much, by default, used to using that phone, pager codes and all. In fact while it was far thicker than my iPhone 12 mini of today, its height (with the antenna retracted – yes an antenna you had to pull up) wasn’t taller than my current phone. What’s the biggest difference between the Teletac 250 and any mobile phone today? It’s simple – you can only do to things with it: make/receive calls and pager (text message) codes with it..in other words…zero distractions come with modern day mobile phones. That, in itself, is an entirely different and long topic of discussion.
As the evolution continued, I when from the Teletac 250 to the much smaller and very sleek Motorola Razr V3M flip phone. Outside from its form factor and totally different design, the big and new thing was a built in camera. While the picture resolution compared to today’s phone was pretty much garbage, there was nothing better to compare with, so that WAS big. I actually miss that phone for its size and features even though the introduction of a camera was the gateway to the city of Distractionville. I will tell you this, I’m pretty certain that if this phone were able to operate on the 5G network today and at a decent price, I would seriously consider dropping my iPhone….for sure.
From the Razr, ended ups with the Blackberry Curve, with Blackberry being all the rage during the last 90s. The Curve was, of course, a step up in technology, just as the Razr was to the Teletac. From the Curve, I finally switched to the iPhone 4S in 2011. Being (and still am) a fan of Apple products, it was only a natural progression. It was then that voice recognition was introduced into the iPhone line up with the creation of Siri (hence the “S” in “4S”). I kept the 4S for a few years, jumped to the iPhone 6, then 7 in 2017. I used the iPhone 7 until it was on its last leg and finally jumped all the way to the iPhone 12 in June 2021.
The gist of this post is really about how mobile phone technology, especially the iPhone, has advanced so far away from just “making sure the call goes through”, and (to me) the biggest feature set and selling point has been the camera. While we all realize that mobile phones and all the built-in technology can and does easily replace all the separate devices we used to have to carry around – recorders, audio players, laptops, GPS devices, and….cameras. Being an engineer for my entire career (both in software and hardware development), I totally get it like there is no tomorrow but I’m glad to have seen the birth and growth/evolution of this tech as it gives me broad perspective in terms of experience usage, a perspective that allows me to assess the pros and cons of such evolution ESPECIALLY regarding the ubiquitous grip it has on us.
It’s interesting, as one example, I still have a digital camera – an old Nikon D3100 DSLR that I actually brought for cheap from a photographer that was upgrading. While the pixel resolution is nowhere NEAR what current mobile phones give, it takes exceptionally fine photos, but as you know, the convenience factor, from a use factor, is waaaay down compared to taking everyday photos (and video) with my iPhone12.
Sometime ago, I read an article about the accepted use of mobile phone technology in our daily life. In the midst of the article, a question was posed to who use said phones now but are old enough to have grown up in times prior. The question was: “Back in the 60’s and 70’s, If you could put a device in your pocket that would essentially allow you to be tracked at any given time, but you were free to use it and all its beneficial technology at will, would you use it? I’ll let you assume what the answers were.
…and the beat goes on.
Thanks for the read.
PS: Yes, I still have the Teletac 250 🙂